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NBA Draft 2012: Jeff Withey Turning Heads As Possible First Round Prospect For Kansas Jayhawks

Coming into the year, the buzz around the Kansas Jayhawks concerned the questions with so many impact players leaving for the NBA and how Thomas Robinson and possibly Tyshawn Taylor would fill the holes. Enter the team’s biggest surprise in Jeff Withey. The big man has not only cemented his spot on the roster but Chad Ford also notes that Withey is turning scouts’ heads as a possible first round selection at the pro level:

Coming into the season, KU’s Jeff Withey was a question mark as a Jayhawks starter, let alone an NBA prospect. We were impressed with him early at the Maui Invitational, but over the last month or so, Withey looks like he could be a legitimate NBA first-round prospect this season. In a three-game stretch against Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, Withey looked like the best player on the floor for Kansas. First he dropped 25 points on the long, athletic front line of Baylor. Then he followed up that performance with 18 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks against Oklahoma State and then had a near triple double against Kansas State.

Size rises as we get closer to the draft and more and more scouts seem to be convinced that given Withey’s huge learning curve this year, he’s destined to be a first-round pick, if not this year then next season. He’s moved way up on our Big Board the last few weeks and with a strong run in March, could go even higher.

The one thing you cannot teach in the NBA is size and Withey is committed to getting better as he gains experience. The Jayhawks are reaping the benefits of his shot-blocking and strong defensive presence in the paint to go with his 9.5 points per game. An NBA team could be the next recipient.