Countdown to the Draft: 60 Prospects in 30 Days by JNixon (30&29)
30: Jeff Withey, 7’0 222, C, Kansas, rSr.
At the 31st spot in my countdown we have veteran Jeff Withey checking in. Withey is one of the more experienced prospects in this class, and he is also one of the guys who improved the most during his college tenure. Began his career at Arizona, as a highly touted Lute Olsen recruit, but left the program after Olsen retired in 2008, just a couple of weeks after the beginning of his 1st season and transferred to Kansas. And after sitting out his true Fr. season and the 1st semester of his rFr. season due to transfer rules, he returned to play the conference slate for a KU team that was loaded with frontcourt depth (NBA 1st round selections Thomas Robinson, the Morris twins and Cole Aldrich) and was hardly ever a factor. This continued his rSoph season as well. But when all of those players left his rJr. year, Withey got extended time and got better and better every game he played and had a magnificent conference slate and his great play carried over in the Big 12 and NCAA tournament, and he played an extremely valuable role for a KU team that was the national runner-up. He continued to be an impact player as a Sr., and was one of the elite C’s in college hoops. NCAA Tournament record for blocks (31) as a rJr, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a rJr., got the 2nd triple double in KU history (16 pts, 12 rbs, 12 blks in a win vs San Jose State) as a rSr., 3rd Team All Big 12 as a rJr., 1st Team All Big 12 as a rSr., 3rd Team AP All-American as a rSr., Big 12 record holder in blocks in a season (140) as a rJr., Big 12 all-time career shot blocking leader (311). Physically, Withey is impressive. He stands a legitimate 7 feet, and has a 7’2 wingspan for good measure. He’s a bit thin at 222 lbs and needs to add a little more weight, but he’s wiry strong. Way more developed body wise than when he was in HS. Hands aren’t that big. Athletically, Withey is good but not great. He is a very coordinated guy, and he has quick leaping ability, adequate speed and good reflexes, but he’s a bit stiff laterally.
Offensively, Withey isnt more than a garbageman right now…His post game needs work and he is a bit slow and predictable in how he goes about his moves…Has a jump hook in his arsenal, but he doesn’t really show more than that and he can have his moves cut off on his right hand side and get forced into uncomfortable shots…Pretty robotic…Has pretty good hands for the most part…Much better when he can get alley-oops and easy finishes at the rim…Does a good job of finishing above the rim when the opportunity is there…Has enough size to finish at the rim, even though he isnt the most explosive player…Probably will never be more than a 5th option when he’s on the court…Can be bothered when defended by guys with strength and size…Shoots the ball a bit better than people probably know, but given his size, he didn’t show it much at all in college and really was almost exclusively a close range player…Actually shoots with good mechanics and range out to 15 ft…Probably wont shoot many jumpers in the NBA either though….Not really a guy who seems that interested in scoring…Could possibly be a threat as a pick and roll finisher with the right type of PG in the NBA…OK at drawing fouls, and is a decent shooter from the stripe for big, especially considering his skill level…Developed his offensive game more than well enough in college to not be a liability, but doesn’t project to be a very good offensive player in the NBA…Feel for the game is just average offensively…Decent offensive rebounder…Doesn’t seem to be all that instinctive
Defensively, Withey is one of the best post defenders in the 2013 class and has his more value as a prospect….Was the best defensive big man in college hoops for probably the last season and a half…Great shot-blocking skills…Was masterful at going straight up and contesting shots, and was not a foul prone at all throughout his career…Times his blocks perfectly just about every time…Good reactive leaping skills…A tough guy who score against in man-to-man defense, plays with great fundamentals and contests very effectively even if he doesn’t get a hand on the ball…Teams value him because he blocks shots and keeps them in bounds….More of a rim protector than a guy who can defend away from the basket…Struggles when forced to the leave the paint, and can be exposed by pick and roll defense (Trey Burke probably still gives him nightmares), so there is some concern…Not a great rebounder either
Overall, Withey really grew up well his last 2 years at Kansas. He isnt going to score much in the NBA, and his game has quite a few limitations, but he is a very good paint patroller. In the pick and roll heavy NBA though, he faces quite a few adjustments. There is a defensive 3 second rule, and that is going to force him to defend out of his comfort zone a bit. He is a stiff laterally, and that doesn’t play well for him, given his pick and roll defensive struggles against quicker guards. He also doesn’t stand out on the glass. I see a bit of Hasheem Thabeet in his game at times, and I just am not as impressed as some are, despite the value he provided to Kansas on the defensive end in college. His offensive game isnt going to make up for any defensive struggles either. So Withey is a 1st round prospect to many, but teams are going to have to be as patient as they can with him or else they will be disappointed in how he adjusts to the NBA.
29: Archie Goodwin, 6’5 189, SG/PG, Kentucky, Fr.
Probably not a more maligned prospect in this entire draft than Mr. Goodwin, who put up good numbers at Kentucky as a Fr. but proved he is a prospect who has plenty of steps he has to take to develop. We know his background, Goodwin was a consensus top 15 recruit out of Arkansas, McDonald’s AA and a guy with plenty of hype and expectations coming into a Kentucky program that had just won Coach Calipari his 1st ever national title. He and the Kentucky team struggled quite a bit, and the season took an even more disastrous turn when teammate and possible 2013 1st overall draft selection Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL in February. Kentucky underachieved greatly and went to the NIT, were they lost to Robert Morris in the 1st round to end a very tumultuous season. After the loss, Goodwin said that the guys on the team would be delusional if they left for the NBA. Well look what we have here…..Physically, Goodwin has always been good, but he really was a pleasant surprise when he measured out at slightly over 6’5 at the combine. That gives him adequate size to play either guard position, which is a relief to many who thought he’d have to adjust to being a PG mostly in the NBA due to middling height. Goodwin also is a very long guy with a near 6’10 wingspan and a frame that should get closer to 205 or so. Right now he isnt very strong (1 rep of 185 at the combine) but he clearly is still growing. Athletically, Goodwin is very nice. He’s pretty quick and has good leaping ability, explosiveness and speed. Probably will only improve as an athlete as he gets stronger
Offensively, Goodwin showed some raw talent as a Fr., but proved to be just that, raw….Right now, Goodwin is at his best when he can use his quickness and ability to create himself to get to the rim….He’s a pretty good finisher around the hoop and his athleticism is best shown when he has the ball in his hands…Will finish above the rim at times, and occasionally make a great finish in traffic…A nice ball-handler…Has a knack for finding his way to the paint, and when aggressive he can really make some impressive forays to the hole…Likes to drive to his left a lot, despite being a righty…Flashes some impressive moves (euro-step and right to left moves especially) when getting to the rim…Pretty rangy…A nice transition player as well, and his nose for the rim shows most when he is in the open court…At times shows the ability to make scoop shots and reverse lay-ins to shield the ball from shot-blickers…Goodwin’s biggest problem as a Fr. came when teams began to dare him to shoot the ball….Struggles to hit his jumpers right now, and he hit a wall in terms of effectiveness when teams used it against him…Will fall into the trap of settling for off the dribble shots when defenders play off of him, and he does not hit very many of them at all…No good from 3 point range…Became WAY too easy for teams to guard once teams defended him by willingly let him shoot…Goodwin is the type of player who gets down on himself and goes into slumps when his shots don’t fall….Though he has time on his side, he needs to work on staying confident in the face of adversity…At times he really can throw brick and after brick up…His jump shot is the biggest concern and hindrance in his ability to be a consistent NBA contributor…Coming into the season, many considered Goodwin to be a combo guard….He does NOT seem like a guy who should run an NBA team….Not an extremely selfish player, but doesn’t show the instincts or leadership skills to play much PG at the next level….Usually looks for ways to get his own shots when playing the pick and roll game….Totaled more turnovers than assists as a Fr….At times it seemed like the speed of the game was too much for Goodwin, especially when his favorite ways to baskets were taken away…Got to the foul line at a great rate, but was not to be trusted when he got there…Really seems to be a raw talent right now
Defensively, Goodwin has very good potential and did a good job as a Fr…Long and athletic, and as he showed last year, has the ability to defend both guard spots effectively…Still learning and will make a few mistakes, and needs to get stronger, but he has the tools to be good here…Sometimes creates transition opportunities with his ability to force turnovers, and his physical ability makes him a pest as well…Also looks to push the ball when he gets rebounds...Contests shots
Overall, Goodwin is a prospect who is more of a long term guy than a player who will contribute immediately to an NBA team…His athleticism, size, defensive upside, and natural ability to get to the rim and create are good, but he is a well below average shooter and he has shaky confidence in himself at times that holds him back…He doesn’t seem to be a natural leader and he definitely is not a natural fit as a combo guard…I think Goodwin has a chance to be a good who develops into a serviceable pro, but he has a lot to work on before he can be trusted by an NBA team to be consistent and probably wasn’t ready to declare (Coach Calipari thinks so too). He’s a 2nd round guy probably, but he could definitely get picked in the late 1st.