It looks like once again, we underestimated the Kansas Jayhawks. Each of the past few seasons, coach Bill Self has lost himself immense amounts of talent and each preseason, we hand the Big 12 regular-season to some other team. And once again, Kansas is proving us wrong and looks not only like the best team in the Big 12, but one of the very best in the country.
Redshirt freshman, Ben McLemore, is the real deal on the wing. One of the true athletes in the country, McLemore has excellent size at 6'5" and is trending towards a 2013 NBA Draft lottery pick. He is strong enough to hit the glass (5.6 per game), but his real key attribute is his aggressiveness scoring the ball. McLemore's handle could use improvement , which is a scary thought for Big 12 defenders, knowing that McLemore can develop into an even more dangerous scorer off the bounce.
Joining McLemore on the perimeter, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford, have seemingly flown under the radar thus far, but they give Kansas two playmakers on both ends of the floor. Johnson and Releford are combining to average 23 points, 8 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Not bad for the third and fourth options on this Jayhawks team.
But perhaps the real key for this team's postseason success depends on that of 7-foot center, Jeff Withey. Known primarily as a shot-blocker, and his nation-leading 5.6 blocks per game give good support to that thesis. But Withey has developed into more than that this season. He is second on the team with 14 points per game and is still plenty raw on the offensive end. In fact, overall Withey's game good use a nice boost of toughness and aggressiveness. Nearly every game, he is the biggest player on the floor and needs to play like it. But the one thing scouts are loving about Withey at this time is his 45 blocks to 7 personal fouls ratio. He is blocking and altering shots, but not at the expense of getting in foul trouble. Withey is showing excellent body control, timing and going straight up to block shots at the last second and all the while, keeping them in play most times.