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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    7-footer commits to Arizona

    The Arizona basketball program has its big man for the class of 2008.

    Jeff Withey, a 7-foot, 225-pound center committed to play for the Wildcats Friday after taking an unofficial visit to Arizona.

    The four-star prospect from San Diego, Calif. and’s 32nd ranked player and sixth best prospect at his position arrived in Tucson with his parents on Wednesday.

    During his visit, he met with academic counselors, the dean of the business school, and the Arizona strength training staff, along with playing pickup games with the Wildcats on Thursday. He committed on Friday.

    “”It literally was a no-brainer,”” Withey’s personal trainer, Trent Suzuki told the Arizona Daily Star. “”He’s going to be able to play big minutes immediately. Arizona affords the perfect opportunity. Plus he really appreciated that the coaches said how important he was to the future of the program.””

    The Wildcat attempted to contact Suzuki Friday, but was unsuccessful in doing so.

    Withey has been Arizona’s main big-man target since he decommitted from Louisville June 5.

    On Thursday, the entire 2007-2008 Arizona basketball team was on hand in McKale Center, excluding Mohamed Tangara and Jamelle Horne. Withey took his shirt off and was part of the “”skins”” team, along with Nic Wise, Jordan Hill, Zane Johnson, and Chase Budinger – who flew in from California, along with Suzuki.

    Withey went up against 6-foot-11 Kirk Walters (who split time with 7-foot-1 Alex Jacobson), Fendi Onobun, Daniel Dillon, Jerryd Bayless, and Laval Lucas-Perry.

    “”Playing against D-I guys is always going to be hard, but it’s fun,”” Withey said after the pickup games Thursday.

    Withey was quiet on the court, verbally, but actions speak louder than words.

    He matched up well against Walters, and had several dunks and put-backs.

    Toward the end of the last game, he found himself with the ball outside of the perimeter, looking for an open man.

    “”Go Jeff. Go Jeff. Go Jeff,”” several teammates yelled at him.

    Without hesitation, he shot the ball with a hand in his face and nailed it.

    Then, to end the game, he made the final two baskets to secure the win for his team.

    Withey – received offers from Kansas, Washington, and Georgetown, among others – has joined the potent 2008 class consisting of point guard Brandon Jennings, shooting guard Brendan Lavender, and forward Emmanuel Negedu. All four will be able to sign letters-of-intent in November.

    “”I know that Arizona has a good program and great tradition,”” Withey said.

    And 1

    Arizona has only three scholarships to offer the 2008-09 campaign, despite having four commits. But the Wildcats don’t see this as a problem. Budinger is expected to leave for the NBA after his sophomore year and other early departures are possible.

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