On Monday night, Jeff Withey stood in front of a sold out crowd in Allen Fieldhouse for the last time as a senior. Minutes before, he had helped the Jayhawks destroy Texas Tech with 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Withey appeared nostalgic and visibly happy, a contrast from the intense shot blocker from an hour before.
"Thank you fans. Rock Chalk!" Withey told the crowd as part of senior night festivities.
Withey, the seven-foot center for the Jayhawks, has come a long way in his four years at KU, going from a lanky transfer in 2009 to a dominant force and key part of the team today.
He leads the NCAA with 120 shots blocked and is projected by many to be a first round pick in the NBA draft. Four years ago, few people imagined he would have been this successful.
Withey originally committed to Louisville but quickly changed his mind and attended Arizona instead. After one semester there, he transferred to KU.
He received little playing time his freshman and sophomore years, instead working with Danny Manning to improve his game.
He got his chance last season, helping lead the Jayhawks to a national title game.
"I've probably never had a kid improve more," Self said.
And improve he did. Withey went from an inconsistent big man, to a dominant defensive player in just a few short years.
Withey and the other seniors met with the media last Sunday to talk about their careers as Jayhawks. Although, the most important part of their season still lay ahead, Withey couldn't help but reminisce.
"There are so many great memories," Withey said. "I don't really want to think about it all right now."
Withey will have time for all of that once his college career is over.
Perhaps he will think about how far he has come, and how he played in a national title game. Maybe he'll think about playing in front of an electric crowd at Allen Fieldhouse.
For now though, Withey, like his teammates, are focused on the Big XII Tournament and the NCAA tournament.
On Monday though, Withey thanked the people that helped him along the way, a short time to reminisce before getting back to work and trying to win it all.