Articles

Jeff Withey

C Kansas
6’11” 240 lbs 3/7/90

 

Overview: Over the past two years, one would be hard pressed to find an NCAA basketball player who's improved as much from his sophomore year to his senior season. Withey has transformed himself into an efficient offensive player who can score with a good finesse game around the hoop. However, his true impact in college, as it will be in the NBA, will be on the defensive end and in hitting the glass. Withey has improved dramatically in past few years and while he doesn't have a tremendous amount of NBA upside, he can certainly fill a gap that every team always seems to have: a true 7 foot rebounder.

 

Offensively, Withey is interesting. Despite being a finesse center, he doesn't have much of a face up game. He has very little jump shooting range and almost never attempts a shot outside the paint. His free throw percentage isn't too great either, indicating that with his slower release, it's unlikely that he'll ever become much of a shooting threat in the league. He is a good screener through and has done a great job all season of freeing up the Jayhawk guards to get to the hoop off of his high screens. His footwork has improved on the block in his past two seasons, and especially during his senior year. He has good lower body strength which helps him get low on the block to set up a big target for his guards to hit with an entry pass. He has a finesse game as mentioned before, which means a lot of his points come on quicker baby hooks, both left and right handed, right around the hoop. He's beginning to develop a bit of an up and under which he sets up with a fake to his right handed hook, and he'll need to develop a few more crafty moves given his inability to be a true factor above the rim or away from the paint offensively. He can create scoring opportunities for himself with his offensive rebounding. One thing that hurts him in regards to his putback ability is his lack of explosiveness. Not only is Withey not great at leaping high, he doesn't leap quickly either. He takes a while to jump a second time after securing an offensive rebound, which allows the defenders to recover and better contest his shots. When loading up his legs to jump for the putback after coming down with the rebound, he used to have an issue with bringing the ball down too low below his shoulders, but he's since fixed that. Withey has a very simple offensive game; he plays efficiently and can score a bit, but he's never going to be a big man that can either face up far away from the hoop, or act as a big man that teams can ride down the stretch when they really need buckets. That said, he's efficient and doesn't expect to be that player.

 

Withey has an NBA role due to his defensive and rebounding skills though. He is a great rebounder and does so by using positioning and boxing out very well. He has to do this because he is not a fantastic athlete. Withey is a very good low post defender with great timing and instincts. He can block shots both on and off the ball, coming over from help, and really makes Jayhawk opponents reconsider driving into the lane against him. He has done a very good job this year of contesting and blocking shots without fouling as much, which was a weaker point of his game last season. With increased minutes, he's increased his blocks while cutting back on his fouls per game. Withey is a bit thin and can get pushed around by some of the bigger centers in the league, but with his lower body strength, defensive positioning and defensive IQ, he can hold his own in the post. One area of Withey's defense that is cause for concern is his ability to defend the pick and roll. He is not a tremendous defender when pulled away from the hoop and lacks the lateral quickness to do a great job hedging on a screen to delay the ball handler from getting into the lane. NBA teams will certainly try to exploit this against him.         

 

Withey certainly has his weaknesses but with his rebounding and his defense, he will be an asset for a team in the back end of the first round this upcoming draft. He may never be a star but his consistency can make him a worthwhile asset coming off the bench for a contending team. He can have a similar impact to an Aaron Gray type of player, nothing flashy, but consistent defense and rebounding. Every team needs a guy like that and Withey will have no problem getting an NBA suitor despite his limited upside.

 

 

 

Key Strengths:

·      Withey has gotten better on the low blocks offensively and plays an efficient, high IQ game.

·      He rebounds and plays defense very well. Every team come playoff time seems to be lacking in that area and he can certainly be serviceable.

·      His improvement over the past two years, the only years he's gotten high amounts of minutes, has been very promising.

·      He is an excellent help defender who can protect the paint very well.

 

 

Areas to Improve:

·      He isn't a very good shooter from outside the paint and will not draw his main far out with a sense of urgency if he leaves the paint to set picks.

·      He isn't extremely strong or athletic, which means he will likely have some growing pains coming in against established big men in the league.

·      His lack of lateral quickness makes him less effective in defending the pick and roll than desirable.

·      He doesn't have a quick second jump. He can rebound on the offensive glass well, but it takes him a second to regroup and get ready for the putback, by then, quicker defenders have recovered and can challenge his shot.