Kansas University senior center Jeff Withey, who worked the invitation-only Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James camps in Chicago and Las Vegas earlier this summer, may respectfully decline an offer to attend the season-ending Adidas Nations camp, Aug. 3-6 in Orange County, Calif.
“I know I’ve been invited, but I do not know if I’m going to go yet because of the European trip,” Withey said of the Jayhawks’ Aug. 6-14 excursion to Switzerland and Paris. “Obviously, I can’t go if we are going to be in Europe.”
Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego, said he benefited not only from individual drills but playing in pick-up games at the James (July 6-8) and Stoudemire camps (June 21-24).
“I went against Tony Mitchell from North Texas and Mason Plumlee from Duke a lot,” Withey said of the centers. “Both (camps) were beneficial for my development. Amar’e was more drills. LeBron was more going up and down playing. Both of them together I feel was a complete camp.”
Withey, as reported recently in the Journal-World, has been working on his outside shot.
“One thing I got out of it,” he said of the James camp, “was my 15-foot jumper. I’ve been practicing that. I was able to apply that to the scrimmages, and I felt pretty comfortable with it.”
Since returning to Lawrence, Withey has returned to playing regular pick-up games with members of the 2012-13 KU team. Also, the Jayhawks have held their first two (of 10) practices for the upcoming European tour.
He has been impressed with the play of KU’s frontcourt newcomers.
“Definitely they are strong. They are a lot more physical than I was when I was a freshman, which is great,” Withey said of Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas and Zach Peters. “They are going to have to learn coach Self’s system. Right now, they are starting to get it. That’s the most important thing. They will all be helping us out a lot.”
He continued ... “I think Landen is ahead right now. He is kind of getting it faster than everybody else with the way we play our offense,” Withey said of Lucas, 6-10, 240 from Portland, Ore. “Perry (6-8, 220, Wichita) is doing great right now. Zach can shoot. Perry can shoot. Landen can shoot. Landen has been knocking down 15-foot jump shots. I like them a lot. It’s going to be a fun year. I can’t wait to play with them.”
As far as 6-8, 220-pound Chicagoan Jamari Traylor, Withey said, “I don’t consider him a freshman. He’s been here a year. He goes after the balls with a lot of aggression. He’s a miniature T-Rob.”
Kevin Young (6-8, 185 senior) can play both small forward and power forward, while 6-9, 220 junior Justin Wesley is primarily an inside presence.
“Justin is an athlete, a freak athlete. I think Justin right now is one of the favorites to take on that starting role, I think personally,” Withey said. “I don’t know what coach (Bill Self) is thinking. He is an athlete. He goes after the ball. If he keeps progressing like this, I think Justin will be a great asset.”
Praise for McLemore: Jeff Goodman of CBSsports.com lists Ben McLemore, a 6-5 red-shirt freshman from St. Louis, as the No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
“I hate to say that about Ben. He’s not there yet,” Self said. “Talent-wise and athletic ability, yes, I do think he’ll be a lottery pick before all is said and done. He doesn’t know how to play yet. I saw something where they had Jeff Withey going really high (No. 18 by Goodman; No. 19 draftexpress.com; No. 30 nbadraft.net). If Ben and Jeff both go in the lottery next year, I predict we win a lot of games.”
Self added of McLemore: “Ben should be as good as anybody we’ve ever had at stealing us extra possessions. I think he’ll be the best defender we’ve ever had. I also think he’s as athletic as anybody we’ve ever had, and he can shoot. Fitting in the pieces and getting him to understand how to play, he’s not quite there, obviously. If he keeps improving at the same rate, he’ll make a lot of money.”
Recruit sidelined: Jabari Parker, a 6-8 senior from Chicago’s Simeon High and the No. 1 prospect in the recruiting class of 2013, will not play AAU ball the rest of the summer, the Chicago Tribune reports. He has a right heel injury. Parker has KU on his list of 10 schools.
Summer league: Former KU forward Thomas Robinson scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Darnell Jackson had five rebounds and no points in Sacramento’s 113-91 NBA summer league loss to Houston on Monday in Las Vegas. Former KU forward Marcus Morris had 11 points and eight rebounds for Houston. ... Aaron Miles had two points, six turnovers and three assists for Milwaukee in a 76-68 victory over New Orleans. Xavier Henry had five points for the Hornets.