The Kansas Jayhawks’ senior 7-footer Jeff Withey was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Withey shares the honor with Indiana Hoosier junior Victor Oladipo.
The Kansas center from San Diego led the team in rebounding, averaging 8.5 a game, while scoring 13.7 points a game. Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 Conference single season records for blocks in 2012-2013 season with 146, breaking his own records from the previous season on 140. He also holds the Kansas and Big 12 records for blocks in a career with 312.
Withey won the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the year in both 2012 and 2013. He was also named to the Consensus All-America Second Team this season, as did teammate Ben McLemore.
What made Withey such a special shot blocker in his time at Kansas was his ability to keep the ball in play when he blocked shots, often leading to fast breaks for the Jayhawks. He seldom blocked the ball out of bounds or into the stands. He allowed for his guards to play over aggressively at times, cleaning up inside when players got lose. For every shot he blocked, he altered countless others. forcing opponents to take odd and off balanced attempts at the basket. One other skill Withey displayed was his ability to avoid fouls. He committed only 77 fouls this season, almost half the total of his blocked shots. This stat alone reveals what an amazing defender he was.
Withey arrived in Lawrence a tall, skinny, gangly youth who looked to have little chance in contributing long term for the Jayhawks. He leaves an All-American, a record holder, and nation Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He also won a special place in the hearts of Jayhawk fans for his hard work and dedication to the Kansas Jayhawks. We here at KC Kingdom wish Jeff Withey good luck in his future endeavors and thank you for the memories.