Age: 23 (3/7/1990)
Weight: 235 pounds
Strengths: It is all about the defense for Withey. The NABC Co-Defensive Player of the Year set all kinds of block record for the Kansas Jayhawks. He set the mark for blocks in a season for both Kansas and the Big 12 Conference with 146, breaking his own record of 140. He also set the Kansas and Big 12 record for blocks in a career at 312. Not only is Withey a terrific shot blocker, he blocks shots under control, keeping the ball in play, helping set up fast breaks. Withey is very good at help defense and he has good body control, rarely fouling on blocked shots. He is active and is a good free throw shooter. He can be a fiery and enthusiastic player.
Weaknesses: Withey is not very physical and not much of an offensive threat. He does have a little right-handed hook shot if he has space to set it up. His slim frame may not bulk up much more and he needs a bit more strength to bang under the basket against the big boys in the NBA. He has little to no perimeter game and range, and he does not have much quickness on the perimeter on defense. Not sure how good a rebounder he will be in the NBA.
Ceiling: It is hard to imagine Jeff Withey as an everyday starting center in the NBA. He could have a very long and productive career as a back-up because of his defensive skills. He would need to really improve his strength and offensive skills to become more. Few would have imagined Jeff Withey as a first round draft pick even just two years ago, so to count him out now would be unfair. He is a hard worker who wants to improve. Maybe, with time, he can turn himself into a strong enough scorer and rebounder to become a starter on a team with plenty of offensive options to be able to afford to start a center who is mainly a defensive threat.
Basement: It wouldn’t take much for Withey to fade away as a fringe bench player who spends plenty of time in the developmental league or someone who just can’t develop enough offensively or get strong enough. At worst, Withey will be good enough to make plenty of money playing overseas. Great shot blocking 7-footers don’t just grow on trees, so Withey will get every opportunity to improve in his weak areas, even if he has to spend his fair share of time in the developmental league.
Possible Draft Position: It is doubtful Withey offers enough offensive skills to be a lottery pick but there is little doubt he will selected in the first round. Atlanta has back-to-back picks at 17 and 18, so they could take a chance on getting a rim guardian with their second pick. Chicago could look to replace Omer Asik at the 20th spot. The Clippers at 25 would be a good spot because Los Angeles lacks much depth along the front line.