The future is now: breaking down potential Celtics draftee Jeff Withey

So this is going to be a new feature on CelticsLife in the coming weeks leading up to the June 27th draft, just taking a closer look at guys who are projected to be drafted in the mid-first round when the Celtics make their pick (#16 overall). Going to start with the big guys, and one of my personal favorites, Jeff Withey of Kansas. We've taken a brief look at Withey before, but never gone as deep as we are about to. So sit back, grab a beer on this remarkably hot Friday afternoon, and read about the 7 footer from Kansas by way of California.

Full Name: Jeffreey David "Jeff" Withey

Hometown: San Diego, CA

College: Kansas (4 years)

Date of Birth: March, 7th 1990 (age 23)

Current ESPN Mock draft position: 22nd to the Brooklyn Nets

Height: 7'0.25" (in shoes), Weight: 222 lbs, Wingspan: 7'2"

College Career: Withey had a career at Kansas straight out of the 80's, when players, you know, went to four years of school and slowly evolved their game. As a Freshmen, Withey averaged just 3 minutes a game, upping that to just six minutes a game as a Sophomore before finally earning a starting role as a Junior. During the 2011-12 season, Withey averaged 9 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.6 BPG, establishing himself as the best shot blocker in the Big 12. This past season, as a senior, the wiry big man from SoCal upped his averages across the board to 13.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 3.9 BPG. Withey was at his best in the tournament, averaging 15 PPG, 10 RPG and 5.7 BPG in three contests before Trey Burke sent the Jayhawks home with his 32 footer.

Scouting Report:

Strengths: I love Withey's game on defense. He is mobile for a 7 footer and has remarkable shot
blocking instincts. Many times, great shot blockers tend to over commit to the block and get out of position (Serge Ibaka for example), but Withey does not do that. He also has a soft touch around the rim and runs fairly well, although his athleticism is not about to set the NBA on fire. Withey is ready to step in immediately and be an above average paint presence and rim protector.

Weaknesses: He is super thin. At 7 feet and barely 220 pounds, Withey badly needs to put on 20 or so pounds of muscle to put up with behemoths like Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Joakim Noah in the East. He's also old for his class, already having turned 23, and his ceiling is not very high. While he is a great bet to carve out a long career in the NBA as a rotational big, he's not very likely to ever develop into an All-Star, something a soon to be rebuilding team like the C's badly needs to find. Withey also needs to add a mid-range jump shot to his arsenal if he wants to be anything more than a 5th option offensively.

Video breakdown (Video courtesy the awesomely fantastic Draft Express):

First off, kudos to draft express for compiling these and many other scouting report videos. They do a fantastic job. Secondly, if you are into shot altering big men, go to the 2:10 mark and watch Withey in action. Guy has unbelievable timing and does a great job of keeping his body between his man and the hoop. One concern will be his strength, as noted above. In college he was often times stronger or as strong as the opposing big, in the NBA, that will not be the case.

On the flip side, go to about the 8 minute mark to look at his offensive game. Raw at best. He does have a few soft finishes at the rim, definitely not Fab Melo type stuff, but he lacks either a go-to post move or a mid-range jumper. He needs at least one of those and preferably two.

How he fits the Celtics: If this were 2009, I'd say like a glove. A big man ready to step right in and be a defensive force and not trip over himself on offense? Sign me up if the Celtics were a player or two away from a title. But they're not. They are either in rebuild mode, or on the precipice of it, and picking a seven footer who projects to be a solid backup center is not the best way to allocate their resources at #16. Withey will be in the NBA for a long time, but I do not expect the Celtics to call his name come June 27th, and I'm ok with that.

Height, weight and other measurements, plus video courtesy of draft express

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