Jeff Withey is changing the definition of a high-percentage shot one block at a time.
Conventional wisdom says shooting percentages vary inversely with distance from the basket — the closer you get, in other words, the better your chances. That’s not always true against Kansas, which speaks to the massive fingerprints Withey puts on a game.
Monday night, San Jose State was better off chucking a 3-pointer than trying to drive against Withey. The Spartans shot 33 percent from long range (7-for-21) and 27 percent (12-for-44) from inside the arc, numbers that have a direct correlation to Withey and his 12 blocks.
That's cool and all, but simply looking at blocked shots in one game doesn't do Withey justice for the defensive season that he has put together thus far. Here are a some Withey factoids:
Withey has 37 blocks in KU's first six games. That's the most blocks he's ever had in a six-game stretch, breaking his run of 31 blocks during the NCAA tournament last season, which was a new NCAA tournament record.
Anthony Davis led the nation in blocks last season. The most blocks he had in a six-game stretch was 34.
In the last 12 games, Withey has 68 blocks. Only 37 players in college basketball last season (over the entire course of the year) had more blocks than Withey has in the last 12 games.
If Withey were a team, he would rank 13th in the NCAA in blocked shots.
David Robinson owns the single-season record for blocked shots with 207. It's illogical to assume Withey can continue his current pace -- right? -- but if he did, Withey would break Robinson's record in 34 games. (KU plays 31 regular season games, so the Jayhawks would need to play three postseason games to get there.)
Triple double for Withey. I don't know if I have ever seen someone improve as much in a short time as Jeff in any sport. Congrats!
11/28/12, 1:31 AM
I know I'm a little late but I wanna congratulate @JeffWithey to the triple double club. #muchdeserved #rockchalk
“I need to go home and basically heal,” Peters said Monday in announcing his decision to leave school after one semester of his freshman year because of the effects of post-concussion syndrome.
The syndrome, which has hampered Peters’ ability to focus, can last up to a year following a concussion.
In Peters’ case, he has suffered five incidents of trauma to the head in the last 14 months. The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder first suffered a concussion at the LeBron James Skills Academy the summer of 2011 — prior to his senior year at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano. His next concussion came playing wide receiver his senior year for Prestonwood’s football team.
At KU, he suffered one concussion in July and another in September. Wearing a protective helmet at workouts following his second concussion at KU, he nonetheless took a shot above the eye, which opened a cut that took about 10 stitches to close. Tests, however, indicated that contact did not result in a concussion.
For the past several weeks, Peters has suffered a loss of focus blamed on post-concussion syndrome. Medication has not helped the situation, necessitating Peters to leave school and his sport behind.
“I don’t know anything except the research that’s been done (on concussions) and hearing from doctors and visiting with Zach’s family. It’s an inexact science what concussions really do and how they affect you years down the road,” KU coach Bill Self said on his Tuesday Hawk Talk radio show.
…A source close to Peters told the Journal-World that the Peters family is pleased with the care shown by KU’s medical personnel, the KU players and coaches. Peters recently changed roommates from Andrew White III to walk-on Tyler Self because, as a walk-on with no playing time concerns, Self might be better equipped to help and watch over Peters.
Zach, in fact, will remain at Jayhawker Towers and be part of the team through the end of finals.
…Self was not pleased with the play of senior point guard Elijah Johnson, who had 13 points off 4-of-9 shooting with five assists against four turnovers in Monday’s 70-57 victory over San Jose State in Allen Fieldhouse.
“He hit his knee against Saint Louis (Nov. 20 in KC’s Sprint Center) and it swelled some. It was sore. He didn’t have near the juice last night,” Self said.
At the same time: “... he’s shot seven free throws for the year — seven,” Self exclaimed of Johnson, who has made six of seven free throws in six games. “Tyshawn (Taylor) averaged shooting 5.5 a game last year. Elijah has shot seven. It tells your right there he is not aggressive and driving the ball at all.
“He is not getting the ball to the paint like he should or like he can. Look at teams across America. I’d say for the majority of teams, the hardest thing to guard is the ball. With us the easiest thing is to guard the ball because we don’t put pressure on people. We have to change it where we are driving it and forcing help and playing behind the help.”
…Self said he could envision playing a November game on a U.S. Navy ship or at an Armed Forces base.
“We’ve been asked to do that a couple times,” Self said, noting KU the past two seasons elected to instead compete in the Champions Classic, which has one more year left to run. “I could see ourselves doing that in the future. I’d rather do what Michigan State and Connecticut did, go to Germany and play in one of the sites (bases) and have a chance to experience that. Ships are great and brings recognition and awareness, but there’s also a great chance you won’t play.”
KUAD: WBB vs Grambling State pregame notes
For now, Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson is going to consider it a positive sign that her team is 5-0 despite ranking last in the Big 12 in three-point shooting.
“I think we can turn it around,” Henrickson said Tuesday. “You have to shoot your way out of it a little bit — get some extra reps and do some more shooting.”
The 20th-ranked Jayhawks, who will play host to Grambling State at 7 tonight at Allen Fieldhouse, have made just 12 of 51 long-range attempts this year (23.5 percent). That would rank as 10th-worst nationally, but KU doesn’t qualify for the NCAA’s leaderboard because it hasn’t made at least four threes per game.
Henrickson isn’t ignoring the numbers, as she’s committed more in-practice time to getting up shots in the last few weeks.
“A lot of it is focusing on the mechanics of your shot,” Henrickson said. “All the things that great shooters do ... just do that consistently. We’ve shot a little bit better in workouts.”
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
Louisville will join the ACC. It's a done deal after every president voted in favor of the move Wednesday morning, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Presidents have discussed the possibility of Louisville, UConn, Cincinnati and others in recent days but settled on the Cardinals, a huge coup for aggressive UL athletic director Tom Jurich. UConn was in the mix because of its strong academic ties and its location in a strong television market, but Louisville's strong basketball/football presence won out.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the news of Louisville's winning vote.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has filed a lawsuit against Maryland seeking full payment of the approximately $53 million exit fee for the school's move to the Big Ten.
According to the 10-page lawsuit, the ACC said the school must pay $52,266,342, which is three times the league's annual operating budget for the 2012-13 season.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed Monday in Guilford County Superior Court, home to the league headquarters in Greensboro.
Tulsa athletic director Ross Parmley was placed on paid leave Tuesday as the university investigates allegations that he may have been involved with an alleged bookie in Oklahoma City.
University President Steadman Upham issued a brief statement saying Parmley will be on paid administrative leave during the investigation. Upham didn't offer details about whether the allegations involved sports betting or other forms of gambling that may or may not be illegal in the state.
Documents that the NCAA is aggressively trying to keep under seal appear to show improper involvement by NCAA staff and committee members in the landmark USC decision more than two years ago.
A judge's decision made public last week -- and obtained in full by CBSSports.com -- shows that at least three persons may have improperly tried to influence the NCAA's powerful infractions committee to find former USC assistant Todd McNair complicit in the Reggie Bush case. Lawyers for McNair are trying to show the association violated its own rules and procedures in investigating their client.
Two non-voting members of the NCAA infractions committee and NCAA staffer allegedly tried to influence voting members inside the 10-person committee. The judge's decision contains excerpts of emails that he has determined show "ill will or hatred" toward McNair.
Ohio State's 3-point accuracy (47.8%) is better than 194 teams' 2-point accuracy.
The Pitt basketball program has indefinitely suspended reserve guard Trey Zeigler, who was charged Sunday with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence.
“The incident involving Trey Zeigler is not only surprising, but incredibly disappointing. Although I believe it was out of character for Trey, he has been immediately suspended until further notice,” coach Jamie Dixon said in a release from the athletic department. “Trey has expressed his deep regret to me and understands and respects the importance of accountability for one’s actions.”
Missouri senior guard Michael Dixon Jr. was accused of forcible rape on Aug. 20 but was not charged after a Columbia police investigation, according to a police report obtained by The Star.
According to the report, the case was closed Nov. 16 after Tracy Gonzalez of the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office ruled there was insufficient evidence to file charges.
“Based on (the police) review … it was determined that the evidence was not sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury,” Gonzalez told The Star. “That’s how all of our cases are handled, and this wasn’t treated any different than any other investigation that comes through our office.
“If additional evidence were presented, we could always review (the case) in its entirety and make a charge at that point as well, which is why I can’t get into specifics of the case. But it was a thorough investigation.”
Jack Taylor of Grinnell College played his first game Sunday night since breaking the all-time record for points in a game. But some fans are asking -- was it a history-making moment, or just a stunt?
It was no accident that Taylor scored all those points in the game. The strategy behind the feat was all planned out by the coach. So, as Taylor took to the court Sunday night, fans packed the gym to see if that strategy would work again. But Taylor's shooting skills were not enough to lead Grinnell to another victory. The 5'10" shooting guard missed his first three shots against the Statesmen of William Penn University before scoring 21 points in a losing effort. It was a far cry from the mind-blowing 138 points he racked up in last Tuesday's game against tiny Faith Baptist Bible College.
His performance shattered college basketball's single-game scoring record and sent the media into a Taylor-made frenzy. Game highlights showed up on just about every major channel, and newspapers from coast-to-coast jumped on the story. Even some of the biggest names in sports took notice. Los Angeles Lakers' star Kobe Bryant, said, "I mean, I don't care what level you're at, scoring 138 points is pretty insane."
But it didn't take long for the critics to speak up. WFAN sports talk radio host Mike Francesa said, "It's a gimmick! It's not real. They were taking the ball, rebounding it and throwing it back to him. They didn't show you that video."
At issue, Grinnell's unique formula for winning. Their coach has even broken it down into a math equation. Whenever the Grinnell College Pioneers make 94 shots, with at least 47 of them from three-point range, and pull down a third of their missed shots and take 25 more shots than their opponent, all while forcing them to turn the ball over 32 times, they win. Grinnell claims it's worked an amazing, 95 percent of the time. In Taylor's case, he took 108 shots -- that's one every 20 seconds.
Kyle Smith, men's head basketball coach at Columbia University, said, "I really didn't think it was possible...ultimately absurd. If it was part of competing to win in a tight game -- they need 138 to win, that's fine, but if it's a rout, and we're doing it for attention-seeking purposes, I don't see the benefit in that for anyone."
Picture a big-time college basketball player on the foul line, on national television. Underneath his name on your TV set are the usual factoids: height, weight, hometown. And imagine, next to the word major, you saw the following:
Go ahead, laugh. Not many major college athletes sign up for “serious” academic pursuits to begin with — when’s the last time you saw the kid at the foul line majoring in electrical engineering? These athletes are out there, but they’re rare. So, heck, a basketball major? Why not?
But could a college athlete majoring in, ahem, basketball, be a more intellectually rigorous student than he otherwise would? David Pargman, a professor emeritus of educational psychology at Florida State University, makes a convincing case that a basketball, football, baseball major can do basketball, football, and baseball players a world of good.
…A sports major has drawbacks. “I’m not sure it fixes the clustering problem,” says Joel Cormier, an exercise and sports science professor at Eastern Kentucky University, and secretary of the Drake Group, a college sports reform organization. One lingering problem in college athletics is that jocks are culturally, and sometimes physically, separated from the rest of the students. If they signed up for an academic program only open to other athletes, the divide would be strengthened. “A sports degree that everybody sees as a jock degree, that could encourage an athlete-friendly faculty, only reinforces that,” says Cormier. Jason Lanter, a psychology professor at Kutztown (Pa.) University, and former president of the Drake Group, argues that if schools create a sports major, athletes should have to meet the same admission requirements as other students. “They shouldn’t be given any special treatment,” says Lanter. “If they’re students, they’re students.”
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule
Less than a minute into the Express’ first game, in front of about 1,500 fans at Waddell Language Academy on Friday afternoon against Quality Education (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Wiggins sealed off his man under the basket, caught an inbounds pass and, with one step, rose up and threw down a dunk with a ferocity that felt abruptly out of character for an 18-year-old kid with an easy smile and smooth style.
The crowd seemed stunned, as much as anything, by this transcendent moment of next-level athleticism from Wiggins, whose father was a Florida State basketball player and whose mother was a Canadian Olympic medalist.
“I know that’s what they want to see,” Wiggins said, “dunks and crossovers, and I always try to give them what they want.”
Of course, Wiggins isn’t the clear No. 1 prep player in the country—he grew up outside Toronto but chose Huntington Prep as the next stage in his basketball development—just because he can dunk the basketball. His jump shot has developed from streaky to consistently reliable. His passing ability is overshadowed by his more showy talents. He can be a monster on the boards. He’s a smart player born with basketball instincts.
Even with all his individual ability, he still clearly is a team-first player.
…“From any indication Andrew has given us, he’s going to take one (official visit) to Florida State, North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas,” Fulford says. “Those are the four right now that he’s kind of made a point to say that’s where he wants to visit. Whether that happens or not, and when, who knows?”
Logistics are an issue.
“He wants to start trying to get visits plugged in when he can, but our schedule is brutal,” Fulford says. “We just don’t have many weekends open. I think he’s going to try and do one to Florida State in early December and he’s going to plug in others.”
If this fall's recruiting class grades turn out to be an accurate indication of future power rankings, then little is going to change in the re-formed Big 12. Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks remain kings of the conference, and their elite 2013 recruiting class should put even more distance between themselves and the field.
As a conference, the Big 12 has struggled to equal the number of ESPN 100 recruits most of its major conference counterparts have landed. Six of the 10 teams in the league scored top-100 players this fall, but only Kansas, Baylor and Iowa State signed multiple ESPN 100 prospects. And the Jayhawks were the only Big 12 team to lock up a top-25 recruit.
With the early signing period having ended last Wednesday, it's a good time to take stock of how all the Big 12 teams have fared so far in 2013 recruiting. Think of it like midterms, with the spring signing period representing final exams.
We're giving the Big 12 an overall recruiting grade of C-plus, and below are team-by-team grades for all of the conference's 2013 recruiting classes after the early signing period.
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