2008 big man making a name for himself

2008 is a long way off, but already two young West Coast big men have served notice that they are going to be players to take a look at. We met Andy Poling in Las Vegas in May and came away impressed. We were only at the Pangos All-American Camp for about 10 minutes before Jeff Withey caught our eye.

It was hard to miss Withey. Within minutes of walking into the SBC Center we saw the young big man. He's a legit 6-10 and was all arms and legs. At first glance he looked awkward, but soon you start to see his athleticism and potential.

Like Poling, Withey is still very thin and can get pushed around by older, stronger players. He also has a nice, soft touch and is a terrific rebounder. At Pangos he had a knack for the loose ball and scored well from the blocks.

Scout.com recruiting analyst Greg Hicks saw the similarities to Poling and feels both are potentially big time players.

"He's not quite as polished as Poling in the low post, but he might be a little better athlete overall," Hicks said. :If he develops the way we think he will, Withey has a chance to be an elite, high major prospect." He's very thing right now, but he looks like he can comfortably carry a lot more muscle and remain mobile.

"Withey's got a great frame, with wide shoulders, and he moves very well," Hicks added. "He's got good hands and feet, with a nice stroke out to about 15 feet."

While Withey can certainly stick the jumper, he's pretty effective down low. He uses the glass well and his height gives him good looks at the rim.

Only a high school freshman, a camp like Pangos can be a bit intimidating, but Withey seemed to really enjoy the challenge. "It's kind of fun, getting to play with the older guys," Withey said. "It's good experience. It's fun, good competition."

The camp taught him that he needs to get bigger and stronger and improve his endurance a little bit. He told me that by doing that he can improve another aspect of this game he feels needs work, his defense.

It is very early in the recruiting process, but already teams are starting to take notice.

"I am looking at Arizona and the West Coast, Pac-10 teams," Withee explained.

Right now he plans on staying out west but that could change if a couple teams he grew up watching came calling.

"I've always liked North Carolina and Duke," he admitted.

There is some talk that he may make some unofficial visits over the next few months, including a possible trip to Tucson, but as of now nothing is set in stone.

For now Withee is enjoying the summer circuit and wants to focus more on basketball and less on recruiting.

"I'm going to wait a while," Withee concluded.

Jeff Withey profile

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com

Wildcat Authority Top Stories