What exactly does a 7-foot monster need to do to get some respect around here? One would think that being a giant amongst men would be enough to garner some proper attention, but no, Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey gets the kind of respect usually reserved for a Rodney Dangerfield punchline. His teammates — mainly Ben McLemore — are getting far more of the pub on websites and TV shows.
This is despite Withey being one of the few, great consistent things about this Kansas team.
While McLemore has a great tragic story, the freshman does have a tendency to completely disappear from games. Withey on the other hand, while not spectacular, does what you would want from a 7-footer in the realm of college hoops.
Withey scores just under 14 points, grabs eight rebounds and blocks an amazing four shots per game. That is not even mentioning his efficiency, as Withey makes .59 percent of the shots he takes. Still, his offensive game is just a bonus to the Jayhawks as it is his shot-deterring that makes him special.
In Kansas’ opening round game, Withey channeled his inner Twitter thin-skinned personality as he blocked seven shots. Not one, not three, but seven. Theoretically, Withey took 14 points off of the board while adding 17 of his own. For those bad with the numbers, that is 31 points in one game that Withey had an effect on.
No, Withey is not the most important player on the team if Kansas wants to go on a run. That honor does go to the better-known McLemore. However, Withey will need to keep doing Withey things as McLemore decides which version of himself he is bringing to each game.
You see, Withey is not only a shot-blocking, 7-foot monster, but he is also Bill Self‘s right hand man on the court. So go ahead, keep paying attention to many of the other players in the tournament who keep letting you down — I’ll be over here watching a 7-footer doing 7-foot type of stuff.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone