Kansas senior center Jeff Withey has been named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced on Sunday, April 7, at the 2013 AT&T/NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show in Atlanta. He shares the honor with Indiana junior guard Victor Oladipo.
The Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 Big 12 Championship, Withey led Kansas in rebounding at 8.5 boards per game to complement his 13.7 scoring average. The 7-foot San Diego native broke his own Kansas and Big 12 single-season record blocked shots record with 146 blocks in 2012-13. Last season Withey blocked 140 shots to set the school and league mark. The 2012 and 2013 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Withey is also the KU and Big 12 career blocked shots leader ending his career with 312 all-time blocks. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season, Withey led the Big 12 with 3.95 blocked shots per game, which ranks second nationally, and set the KU and conference per game average season record. Last week Withey was named Consensus All-America Second Team along with KU redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore.
Jeff Withey 2012-13 Accolades
-NABC Co-Defensive Player of the Year
-Consensus All-America Second Team
-Associated Press All-America Third Team
-NABC All-America Third Team
-Lute Olson All-America Team
-USBWA All-America Second Team
-Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player
-USBWA All-District VI
-Second Team All-America by Sporting News
-All-Big 12 First Team (Big 12, AP)
-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
-Big 12 All-Defensive Team
-Wooden Award Final Ballot
-USBWA Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Finalist (1 of 14)
-Naismith Award Top 30 Candidate
-Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week (2/25)
-co-Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week (2/18)
-Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week (12/3)
-CBE Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament Team
-Senior CLASS Award candidate (1 of 30)
Final @JeffWithey block-pass counter: KU got possession on 104 of Withey's 146 blocks (71.2%). Was 65% last year. #kubball
Jeff Withey has developed remarkably the past two seasons, from being a total non-factor his first three years in college to arguably the best overall defender in the NCAA.
Standing close to 7-feet, with an excellent 7-3 wingspan and very good athletic ability, Withey has excellent physical tools for his position, which happens to be the most difficult to fill in the NBA. A former volleyball player, he's a mobile big man who is quick off his feet and can elevate impressively around the rim, and shows tremendous coordination on the defensive end.
Withey's biggest shortcoming from a physical standpoint lies in his average frame, as he still needs to continue to add strength, especially to his lower body. It's unclear how much room he has left for physical development considering his age (23) and the fact that he comes from a college program known for doing good work in the strength and conditioning department.
…It's not a stretch to say that Withey was the biggest defensive difference maker in college basketball this season. He blocked 4.9 shots per-40 minutes this season, down from 5.7 last year, but is far more than just a shot-blocker. Withey possess cat-like instincts on this end of the floor, showing unbelievable instincts as both a man to man and help-side defender. He does an amazing job of going straight up into the air and absorbing contact while avoiding committing a foul, aided greatly by his long reach, quick jump and tremendous timing. He almost always is able to keep his blocks in-bounds, which is infinitely more valuable than having a shot-blocker who simply sends opponent's shots into the second row.
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EJ and Releford to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational
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LJW: Michigan game autopsy from Jesse Newell
4/7/13, 10:31 AM
It was a huge honor to be recognized at the Final Four last night by the NCAA. Unbelievable to share the court with such legendary players.
ICYMI: NCAA All-Time 75th Players, Team, Moment: Danny Manning made the players list
...Back and forth went the Sooners and Jayhawks in the 1988 NCAA championship game. The most frenetic basketball ever played on college hoops' grandest stage.
“Never have been so tired in my life the first five minutes of the half,” said Gueldner, a KU guard in that memorable showdown 25 years ago. “No timeouts, the pace, everybody was making every shot. When the ball goes in, they're setting their press, there's no time to take a breath.
“Wasn't a lot of time to think. It was a whirlwind.”
Kansas led 16-13 at the first timeout, with 14:08 left in the half. KU led 31-25 with 10 minutes to go before halftime.
The Jayhawks had six turnovers the first six minutes. They had 12 turnovers after 15 1/2 minutes. Eighteen turnovers after 25 minutes.
But boy, when Kansas got a shot, it was going in. The Jayhawks made 20 of their first 24 shots and were 22 of 29 at halftime, a sizzling 75.8 percent.
“We either made a layup or turned it over,” then-Kansas coach Larry Brown said the other day from Dallas, where he's now the SMU coach.
...A 50-50 halftime score is hard to fathom in 21st century basketball. Sounds like an overtime score in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
But 50-50 was in Billy Tubbs' wheelhouse in 1988. The Sooner coach had constructed the perfect team for his uptempo system. Five marvelous athletes who were skilled and seemingly could play all day without rest.
Guards Mookie Blaylock and Ricky Grace each played 40 minutes against Arizona in the semifinals; they had done the same in the regional semifinal against Louisville. The frontcourt of Harvey Grant, Stacey King and Dave Sieger played only slightly less.
The Sooners attacked with constant pressure. Their stamina seemed endless.
You hear coaches talk about teams imposing their will these days? Not much evidence of it. But the '88 Sooners imposed their will on opponents. Even the Jayhawks in the title game.
“Our gameplan was to run set plays, work the ball from side to side, and push came to shove, get the ball to Danny,” Gueldner said. “But when you play against a team that's pressing you, if you don't attack, you're just going to get eaten alive. We were attacking and getting good shots and making good shots.
“When things are going at that pace, there aren't near as many cognizant decisions being made as people like to think. There's a lot of reaction.”
…The Sooners entered the title game 34-3, having won 21 of their last 22 games. They were the best OU basketball team ever, before or since.
But when those Sooners stared down the Jayhawks, the Jayhawks stared back.
“We weren't really planning to play Oklahoma's game,” said KU guard Scooter Barry, who played nine minutes in the game. “It was just something that kind of just happened in the heat of the moment.
“Danny and Milt (Newton) and Kevin (Pritchard) just felt like we didn't want to show any kind of fear. Through just the adrenaline rush and the comfortable feeling of being in Kansas City, it was kind of a don't-back-down atmosphere.”
Barry said Brown tried to rein in the Jayhawks because he knew OU had the advantage playing that way.
“I had no idea we could go up and down with them and score 50 points in a half against Oklahoma and have a chance to win,” Brown said. “But it happened.”
…Tubbs also bemoaned the schedule. The Sooners had played the late game in the semifinals, beating Arizona. Tubbs figures the Sooners didn't get to bed until 2 a.m. Then had to be back at Kemper late Sunday morning for media responsibilities.
His team was tired, and even though the Sooners played their style in the first half, it didn't produce a lead.
“I thought Kansas really didn't necessarily play the way the coaches wanted 'em to play,” Tubbs said. “We got 'em in a running game, and they were making some shots they don't normally make. I thought it was really good. I thought at halftime that Kansas wouldn't play as well the second half.”
Tubbs was right. KU hadn't played the way Brown wanted. But he had halftime to fix that.
“Coach Brown, being the great tactician, says, ‘Now we're going to play at our tempo,'” Manning said the other day in his office in Tulsa, where he's the TU basketball coach.
…One way Brown slowed it down was having the 6-foot-11 Manning and fellow post player Chris Piper bring the ball upcourt. That got the pesky Blaylock and Grace away from the ball.
Kansas shortened the game and gave OU fewer scoring opportunities.
Twenty times, those Sooners had scored at least 100 points, including twice in the NCAA Tournament and seven times against Big Eight foes.
But after taking that 68-65 lead, OU scored only three points the next nine minutes. They made just one of their next 10 shots.
The Sooners were running on fumes.
“I thought we were a tired team, not just because of the way we played, but because of the situation,” Tubbs said.
Barry said Brown told the Jayhawks that if they could get to the final minutes with a chance, “Oklahoma's not comfortable with that. They'd been blowing people out all year long.”
Kansas took a 77-71 lead. But OU hung tough and had two chances to stay alive.
With 52 seconds left, Grace missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game. Then after Blaylock scored to bring OU within 78-77, Barry with 16 seconds left missed one of two foul shots. But Manning, a Dr. Octopus that night, grabbed the rebound, was fouled and sank two clinching foul shots. They weren't called Danny & the Miracles for nothing.
…Tubbs, who had quite the spirited rivalry with Brown and Kansas, visited the KU locker room after the game to offer congratulations.
The best team hadn't won.
“If you really look at it, how many times does the best team win the NCAA Tournament, other than the UCLA stuff?” Tubbs reasons 25 years later. “It's hard to do.”
A quarter century later, the Jayhawks know what a monumental victory it was.
“They had everything,” Gueldner said. “They had two great guards that could penetrate and shoot and defend. They had inside presence with Stacey King and Grant. They could score and rebound.
“I don't mean this in a negative way, but they were extremely cocky. Very confident in their approach. They had reason to be.”
Said Barry, “They were kind of like piranhas. They were a dangerous team.”
Manning recalls huddling his team before warmups that night, telling them, “Let's go play. Let's have fun. We're not supposed to be here. But we are.”
Twenty-five years later, Manning admits, “We knew the best team didn't always win. It was the team that played the best that won.”
And on that night, April 4, 1988, Kansas played the best. It played Kansas' game rather well. But it played the Sooners' game equally so.
When the 1987-88 Kansas Jayhawks returned to Lawrence, Kan., in late November from the Maui Invitational off losses that cost them their preseason No. 1 ranking, they knew their coach had arranged a soft landing.
On the schedule for Dec. 1, 1987 at Allen Fieldhouse was a Division III team coached by Gregg Popovich, a 38-year-old who had spent the previous season as an assistant on Jayhawks coach Larry Brown's staff.
About the time Kansas pushed its lead to 30 points early in the second half, Popovich called a timeout, gathered his Pomona-Pitzer College players and told them to spend a moment drinking in the experience.
“I told them, 'Everybody, look up,'” said Popovich, the two-time NBA Coach of the Year who is nearing completion of his 17th season on the Spurs' bench. “I said, 'We're getting our butts kicked, and they're going to kick them even more, but that's not the point. We don't care.
“Look around. You're never going to play in front of this many people the rest of your lives. We're in Allen Fieldhouse. Enjoy it. Just go out there and play and have fun.
“That was the thrill of my players' careers at a Division III school.”
…Now the Spurs' general manager, Buford had joined Brown's staff as a graduate assistant after completing his playing career at KU in 1986.
“It was an unbelievable education for a guy like me,” Buford said. “I would not be where I am today if I hadn't been there.”
What the Jayhawks did in winning the NCAA championship 25 years ago was a major factor in Spurs owner Red McCombs' decision to hire Brown from Kansas to guide the club out of its misery. Five straight losing seasons had eroded fan support and left McCombs desperate to provide some reason to watch his team as it waited for 1987 draftee David Robinson to conclude his service in the U.S. Navy.
“Me buying the team wasn't going to do it,” McCombs said in the recently published “History of the Spurs.”
McCombs lured Brown with a salary of $800,000, and Brown brought with him his Kansas assistants Buford, Alvin Gentry and Ed Manning, as well as Popovich.
It was the genesis of a basketball operation that has made the Spurs the most successful of all professional sports franchises for the past 16-plus years.
Buford marvels at just how close it came to never happening.
“If we don't win the championship that year, I doubt if Red hires Larry to come to San Antonio,” he said. “That was clearly a byproduct of us winning that championship. That excited Red about bringing Larry to the NBA.
“If you ask Pop, he'll tell you he would have been thrilled to death to stay at Pomona-Pitzer for 25 more years. Had Larry and Danny (Manning) not carried us to that, who knows where a lot of us would be?”
San Antonio Express: Shining moment shaped Spurs
The Kansas Jayhawks were just another team through most of that 87-88 college basketball season.
Despite the presence of six-eleven all-American Danny Manning—Larry Brown’s KU squad had a year in which it would lose 11 games while watching Billy Tubbs’ OU squad race to what was back then the Big Eight conference title.
But long-time Jayhawk play-by-play man Bob Davis recalls some glimmers of hope—even after a four-game losing streak midway through the conference season.
“When they were 12-8, at one stage during the season, we thought ‘Man, this might be an NIT situation’. But then after a K-State game, I remember Larry Brown wasn’t upset, he was really happy with the way they played.”
Davis also recalls Danny Manning’s resolve about helping his team to a long postseason run as the tournament opened.
“Figured out a way in ’88, even with the injuries and so on that when they got to Lincoln to start the NCAA run, he was talking about ‘We’re not just here to win one game’. And I’m thinking…But he knew what he was talking about.”
…Manning earned recognition as the tournament’s most outstanding player that year—but Larry Brown believes to this day that Manning’s effort was one the best in tournament history…
“You know everytime I see these March Madness stuff, they were rarely mention just how special he was. And how he carried a team on his back against some quality opponents. You very rarely see that mentioned, and it blows my mind.”
It’s about 25-years after Danny and the Miracles… it’s a Wednesday night in early March at Tulsa University’s Reynolds Center.
The Golden Hurricane is playing the SMU Mustangs—and the central figures in KU’s 1988 title run are there—on opposite sidelines.
On one sideline paced Coach Brown.
Still going strong at age 72—trying to jump-start an SMU program that’s never achieved any sustained success in basketball.
Brown’s former pupil walked the opposite sideline.
Tulsa is Danny Manning’s first head coaching job—after serving many years as Bill Self’s assistant for his alma mater in Lawrence.
When asked about going up against his former coach—Manning says there’s still some emotion—but the focus is on the hardwood.
“He is a caring, loving person…until the game starts. Then when the game starts, he’s trying to beat your head in. And that’s the sign of a good coach.”
Big 12/College News
4/8/13, 7:43 AM
Your refs tonight: John Cahill (referee), Tony Greene and John Higgins (umpires). Working their 11th, seventh and fourth F4s, respectively.
In the wake of Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione’s recent remark that his basketball staff and MU’s had been in contact about future scheduling, Alden said he anticipates the possibility of Mizzou resuming some competition with its former Big 12 brethren.
“We have relationships with all of those people” in the Big 12, he said. “So I think once the dust settles on the move — it is settling; it hasn’t settled yet — I think there’s going to be more opportunity for us to schedule one another.
“I also think the relationship with the SEC and the Big 12, whether it has to do with the bowl game (the leagues have formed) or whether it has to do with a basketball challenge that we’re working on right now, those types of things are also going to help that.”
Texas A&M-Texas and Missouri-Kansas, he acknowledged, are in a different category, one in which Alden knows there remain tensions to be eased in the view of those left behind.
But he reiterated that Mizzou still has its hand extended with a standing offer to resume the historic rivalry with KU.
“And we’re going to keep it there. We will keep it there,” he said. “With (KU chancellor) Bernadette Gray-Little, I know (MU chancellor Brady) Deaton has done that. I certainly have done that on several occasions with (Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger).
“And we understand that Kansas, who we have a high respect for, they need to make that decision. We understand that. We’ll be patient on that, because we do think that the opportunity to compete against one another, that’s a generational thing. …
“The immediacy of leaving the league is, ‘We’re ticked,’ but the long-term play is this is a generational opponent and why wouldn’t you want two great institutions … to be able to compete against each other? And hopefully that will happen somewhere down the line.”
Alden was less specific about the notion of reviving a dormant basketball rivalry with SLU, a topic that surfaced anew when the Tigers and Billikens were bracketed in the same NCAA Tournament region – a matchup that never materialized.
“It’s reasonable to say we could certainly have those discussions somewhere down the line,” he said.
But Alden pointed to what he considers a variety of obstacles to that in the immediate future, specifically citing a national scheduling philosophy that he said emphasizes getting at least four games against teams that Mizzou “would consider in the big five conferences” and the fact that MU already has an annual game in St. Louis but none in Kansas City.
“Our focus has to got to be instead of having two games in St. Louis, how can we have one game in St. Louis and one in Kansas City?” he said. “And we know we’re always going to play Illinois in St. Louis. So all of that stuff enters into the equation.
“So I think it’s more complicated than when people say, ‘Well, they just don’t want to play SLU.’
St Louis PD
UNLV's Mike Moser likely transferring to Washington, will graduate, able to play next year.
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4/5/13, 12:49 PM
The kid @CFrankamp_23 is lights out from downtown...glad he wasn't at Kansas this year or U of M may not have made the Final Four...
Wichita North product and Kansas signee Conner Frankamp won the American Family Insurance three-point championship on Friday in Atlanta. Frankamp, the City League’s career scoring leader, outdueled Bryce Alford in the final round, hitting 22 of 25 shots for the win.
Wichita Eagle (Brannen Greene missed the finals with a score of 15)
Jordan Brand Classic (Embiid, Selden, Wiggins)
Ever since Wayne Selden and Noah Vonleh first crossed paths, they have competed against each other on the basketball court.
It started in AAU ball, when Selden, a Roxbury native, joined Leo Papile’s Boston Amateur Basketball Club, and Vonleh, a Haverhill resident, suited up for Vin Pastore’s Mass Rivals squad
And it continued in prep school, where this past season as seniors, Vonleh’s New Hampton School squad twice defeated Selden’s Tilton School team.
On Wednesday night, however, they found themselves donning the same bright red, golden arch emblemed uniforms in the 36th annual McDonald’s All-American game at the United Center. in Chicago.
With Selden off to the University of Kansas in the fall and Vonleh committed to Indiana University, it could be the only time they will wear the same uniform.
The pair formed the Commonwealth’s first duo selected to the McDonald’s game since 2000, with Neil Fingleton (Holy Name) and Scott Hazelton (Central Catholic).
Despite being on the losing end of the East’s 110-99 defeat to the Wests, both players delivered strong performances. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Vonleh chipped in 3 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes, while the 6-5, 220-pound Selden filled up the stat sheet in 18 minutes with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.
But the four-day event — which included a charitable appearance at the Ronald McDonald House, numerous practices, slam dunk, 3-point and skills challenges, and evening banquets — also provided both players an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments alongside family and collectively ponder the seemingly limitless opportunities ahead.
“It’s really an honor. Me and Noah have been playing against each other since the fifth grade,” said Selden in the days leading up to the game. “We’ve been competitors for a while.”
…“You look at those people playing in the McDonald’s and where they went from there,” said Selden’s father, Wayne Sr., who openly acknowledges he’s most proud of his son’s selflessness.
“I look at my son and think, ‘Maybe he could be in that category.’ This is like a springboard to other things. If Pat Ewing and all those guys came through and went onto the NBA, you never know what the future allows for [Wayne] either.”
It’s a responsibility that both Vonleh’s and Selden’s parents remind their sons not to take lightly — that while future, potentially life-changing, opportunities await — keeping things in perspective and understanding what is most important remain paramount.
…In three seasons at Tilton, Selden scored 1,473 points, and this winter captained a team that he led in scoring, rebounds, and assists. He became a more consistent outside shooter and also improved his perimeter defense, a skill that could earn him minutes at Kansas.
As a result, it only took a few short practices to impress their McDonald’s coach, Freddy Johnson, and their teammates, including the consensus best high school player, 6-foot-8 Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins described Selden as “a joy to play with” and Vonleh as “a great teammate.”
By early June, Vonleh and Selden will be on the campuses of their new schools engaged in a routine of summer classes and basketball practices.
But between now and then there are commitments to fulfill.
Next week brings a trip to Brooklyn for the April 13 Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclay’s Center.
Grades dropped a little bit, but all B's isn't too bad
Wichita State junior guard Nick Wiggins, the brother of prize high school recruit Andrew Wiggins, tells SNY.tv that his parents want Andrew to pick Florida State over KU, Kentucky and North Carolina.
“I think both my parents would like him to go to Florida State University because that’s where my mom and my dad attended school, so it would be pretty amazing to see him do that, and I believe they would be happy with that decision,” Nick told SNY.tv.
Wiggins’ dad, Mitchell, played in the NBA. Mom Marita Payne-Wiggins competed in the Olympics in track and field for Canada.
“But, I mean, they would also be happy with anywhere that he goes to school,” added Nick, who believes Andrew will announce his decision “in the next two weeks to three weeks.”
Nick Wiggins isn’t sure Kentucky, which has six incoming McDonald’s All-Americans, is the right place for Andrew.
“(Kentucky) has eight or nine All-American guys coming in, and I don’t know if it would be the best spot for him to go and shine like he wanted to,” Nick said in an article printed on zagsblog.com. “That’s my personal opinion. I know how the recruiting process is. But it would be special to see him play anywhere as an older brother. Definitely, I’m sure that he would want to make his own legacy and you could see it kind of on Kentucky’s team this year,” Nick added. “They had a lot of stars and it kind of didn’t gel as well as it did the team before when it had a lot of freshmen that really gelled together. So it’s just difference in players and putting combinations together. Coach (John) Calipari’s a very good coach so I wouldn’t blame it really at all on him.”
Hall of Fame announces there will be an 8-team high school tourney Dec 13/14 in Phoenix, similar to the Hoophall Classic at the HOF in Jan.
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