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Jeff Withey named Big 12 Player of the Week

The Kansas big man has stepped up after Thomas Robinson's departure.

Ethan Miller

With All-American Thomas Robinson gone to the NBA, Bill Self was depending on senior Jeff Withey to play a bigger role this season.

Through the first month, that's exactly what has happened. The 7'0 235 senior was named the Big 12 Player of the Week, as he has led Kansas to a 6-1 record and a No. 9 ranking in the polls so far this season.

Withey, a former volleyball player with great length and athleticism, is the premier shot-blocker in college basketball, averaging an insane 5.7 blocks per game.

What's changed this season has been the rest of his game, as he's boosted his averages to 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds on 59 percent shooting.

His strong play on the interior has helped the Jayhawks rebound from a tough early-season loss to Michigan State and put them in an excellent position to contend for their ninth consecutive Big 12 title.

They will receive a strong non-conference test on Saturday, when they play former conference foe Colorado in a nationally televised home game on ESPN2.