Draft profiles: Jeff Withey, 7'0, 225 lbs, C, Kansas

Draft profiles: Jeff Withey, 7'0, 225 lbs, C, Kansas

Withey is a bouncy center with great wingspan with great shot blocking timing.  His best attribute on the next level will be clogging the paint and blocking shots.  As a Center, Withey has above average athletic ability, can run the floor, and is a quick jumper.


Size-wise, there are not many players in the draft with as nice of a height/standing-reach combination.  However, Withey also possesses major concerns in the fact that at age 23, he only weighs 225 lbs. which is rail thin for his height.  Will Withey be strong enough to hold the paint down and does his shot-blocking ability give him enough of an opportunity to make an impact in the NBA?

Off-Court Issues
There are no reported issues with Withey and he is reported to being an outstanding citizen.

Basketball IQ and Will to Want It

Withey blocked almost 4 shots a game with limited foul trouble.  It is hard to pull off blocking near 4 shots a game in a major conference without having a high basketball IQ.  Withey understands defensive angles, how to time his block attempts, and had the leaping ability/wingspan to consistently make a defensive impact.

While Withey is not likely to will his team to a win with his scoring or any offensive output, he makes a tremendous defensive impact with his shot-blocking ability.   When making a big play, he gets very passionate and fires up the crowd.  He's a hard-worker and a passionate basketball player.


Honestly, outside of being a rangy athlete, an occasional jumper, and tremendous shot-blocking ability, there is not much skill to his game.  Withey uses his great understanding of the game in making sure to protect the paint and uses great timing in deflecting big-time shots without getting in foul trouble. 

While a tremendous shot-blocker, Withey occasionally brings his arms down when blocking shots which might be concern at the NBA level.  Can he block shots with some of his technique while having limited weight.   Also, what will Withey do when being used on pick-and-rolls.  While a solid athlete, Withey can easily be taken off the dribble on switches. 

Will the team that picks him know how to utilize his shot-blocking ability while covering up his flaws?  While his rebounding rate was solid at Kansas, it stills leaves something to be desired.

Offensively, there is not much there.  He is not strong enough to post-up, will not be able to set solid screens with his limited base, and is a mechanical player.  However, he improved his mid range jumper and with continued development may draw opposing centers from the hoop with it.  While not a great passer, he does make basic passes and can help set-up others. 

Will he be strong enough to finish at the NBA level even though he was a tremendous finisher at the college level?


Overall, I think Withey looks like a nice back-up center at the next level.  I do think he has a solid understanding of the game and will be able to use that understanding to make an impact at blocking shots at the next level in spurts.  He'd fit in best with a solid basketball team that has quality players around him which allows him to fill a back up center niche without high expectations.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

Withey would be a solid addition to the Bulls who could desperately use a backup center.  Stating this, I would rather draft a player such as Tim Hardaway Jr. or Gorgui Dieng because I feel they have more upside and potential to play more minutes on our team.  While I would prefer someone else, I would rather have Withey than a player such as Mason Plumlee that seems like a solid back-up without any real impact, or a very raw player that might take a few years to play at this level.

My impressions

My impressions of Withey is that he will be a solid pick for any team that drafts him late lottery on.  He will not be a threat offensively other than running the floor and occasionally hitting a mid-range jumper.  He is not strong enough right now to post up NBA Players.  Also, he is going to get pushed around on the block, but at least has enough smarts and wing-span to deter some players.  However, his shot-blocking ability is elite and can be effective in spurts.


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  • I also prefer Dieng. However, another thing Withey does extremely well besides shot-blocking is finishing around the basket. According to Draft Express Withey finishes 79% in non-post-up situations. This led the nation in college basketball. This shows he has good hands for feeds around the basket. This is how great defensive players like Tyson Chandler and Omer became much more effective players when teams used them more for alley-oops and didn't expect low post offense from them.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    He'll be solid, but that is about the extent!

  • Can you also do a piece on Dwayne Davis and Shane Larkin. Dwayne is a second round talent but possible gem and Larkin offensivly is one of the best in the draft. Depending on who falls, I think the Bulls have to take a shot on him.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    I'll try man, it's hard to get everyone in this draft since while it is not superstar type draft, it is very even and somewhat a deep draft at our pick!

  • You sure that spelling isn't supposed to be Jeff "Whitey"? I have no interest in another no offense, one way player. If that's what they are going to do at least get Dieng who has some offensive promise. And that pick of a big maybe as a precursor to a Noah trade for an offensive player i.e. scoring.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    The Bulls need more scoring, but not at the expense of Noah. Losing his D and boards for offense would just create another hole that needs to be filled. Besides, I seriously doubt there's a realistic trade that brings back good value for him.

    Between the draft, FA, and trades, the Bulls need a wing scorer and backup C (not "big;" an actual center) that can spell Noah. If they get the center in the draft, I'd prefer Dieng, but Withey wouldn't be a bad consolation prize.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:


  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Not that I would really want to trade him, but trading Noah for an all star caliber wing scorer would have been an option in 2014 had we kept Asik, but the Bulls aren't that forward thinking.

  • I think Whithey wouldn't be a bad pickup. He wouldn't be my first choice but does have an elite skill (rim protector) and is a legit 7 footer. It's hard to find a decent center at a good price so I think they end up taking one in the first since they are unlikely to spend any money this offseason.

    Lucas Nogueira - Center - Supposedly a freak athlete albeit really raw. Could slip to Bulls at 20 not sure if that would be good or not as he sounds like a player who wouldn't see much of the court his first two years and they need a backup Center now.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Yeah I see in the mock they have him slipping to the 2nd round. I also like Muscala from Bucknell. He has a solid offensive game but his defense isn't on par with Withey or Dieng. I would love if he fell to us in the second and we drafted Franklin, Ledo, or Timmy Jr. with our 1st.

  • In reply to BenchMobbin:

    Don't want Ledo, but Muscala would be nice if we can pick up late first/early second!

  • Withey probably wouldn't see the floor much in his first season but looks like a guy who could help the Bulls going forward. Maybe you get a player similar to Taj but with a center's size? One thing I like about Withey is he shoots 70+% from the free throw line. That's good for a couple of reasons. First it means that hack-a-jeff is a bad strategy so you can play him down the stretch in games. It's also a good indication of a guy who can add range to his game. I wonder if this is a guy who could wind up shooting a decent 3-pt percentage 3 or 4 years into his career.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Sorry man, if Withey could develop a three point shot, then pigs can fly!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Haha, fair enough.

  • I think 20 is to high for Withey. If the Bulls draft him I think it would be a small reach. If Dieng isn't there, I think they should look at Hardaway, Crabbe, Rice, or even the kid from Greece before they take Withey. Muscala is a better player in my opinion and could maybe fall to them in the second round. If they don't get a big in the first round they could get one with the second round pick. Muscala could be there, Iverson, Carmichael, Mbakwe, or even a draft and stash like Bojan Dubljevic would be worthy of a selection.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Like Karasev, Bullock, and Hardaway Jr. Second round, like some players such as Carmichael! Someone solid should slide in 2nd when some teams take some chances on some Europlayers and stash!

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