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Who feeds Jeff Withey the best?
I'll admit it. I'm fascinated by how Kansas center Jeff Withey scores his field goals for KU.
This started last year when Ken Pomeroy, in one of his blogs, said Withey "was assisted on short 2s like few other post players."
The numbers in Hoop-Math.com back this up.
Last year, 78 percent of Withey's made field goals at the rim were assisted. Compare that to then-teammate Thomas Robinson, who had 60 percent of layups/dunks assisted.
I wondered if that might change for Withey this season. After all, without Robinson as a go-to scorer inside, one might think that Withey would have to try to create more offensively in the post.
Amazingly, Withey's point production has gone up (13.8 points a game from 9 points per game) though his assisted rate remains almost completely unchanged on close shots.
According to Hoop-Math, 74 percent of Withey's layups/dunks are assisted this year, only slightly down from 78 percent a year ago. (In case you're wondering, Withey makes 67 percent of his layups/dunks, which is well above the NCAA average of 53 percent).
I wanted to take an even closer look at Withey's baskets, giving us a better feel on how he scores on all his field goals (layups/dunks and jumpers).
Going through the box scores, I went charted each of Withey's made twos, taking a look at who assisted him on each of his field goals.
Here's the breakdown.
A few interesting things I found:
• If you take out Withey's seven baskets that came after offensive rebounds, you're left with a crazy statistic.
Only three of Withey's 42 field goals this year have been unassisted. Three. That's only 7.1 percent of his made field goals.
This much is clear: The big man is almost entirely reliant on teammates (or his own offensive rebounding positioning) to get his points.
Withey posted one unassisted basket against Michigan State, San Jose State and Oregon State. In KU's other five games, he had none.
• There seems to be a learning curve here when it comes to feeding Withey, as the chart above is dominated by returning players.
KU senior guard Elijah Johnson is the best, and that's not surprising, considering he's KU's best passer.
Outside of Ben McLemore, though (five assists), no other freshman has more than two assists to Withey. Some of that might be contributed to limited playing time for the newcomers, but there still seems to be a bit of a difference between the two groups (For example, Kevin Young has played one more minute than Perry Ellis this year but has two more assists to Withey).
• KU sophomore Naadir Tharpe might be the biggest surprise player on the chart above.
In 135 minutes, Tharpe has only assisted Withey twice. That especially doesn't look good when you see that in 233 minutes, Johnson has assisted Withey 12 times.
In addition to keeping his turnovers down, Tharpe might have another way to help his chances of staying on the floor if he's able to better feed the Jayhawks' center.