The Utah Jazz announced on Monday that they have signed 7 foot Center Jeff Withey (pronounced WITH-ee) to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released. It is being reported that it is a 2-year partially guaranteed contract.
Withey has played two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, where he averaged 3.0 points on 52.3 percent shooting, 2.3 rebounds and 0.72 blocks in 9.9 minutes in 95 games played. Four of those games were starts during his rookie season. He scored 10-plus points on three occasions during the 2014-15 campaign, including a season-high 14 points and a career-tying-high eight boards on March 20 at Golden State. Withey has nine career games with three-or-more blocks, including two five-block games. Withey was originally selected in the second round, the 39th overall selection, of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers prior to being traded to New Orleans.
Prior to the NBA, Withey played four seasons at Kansas (2009-13), averaging 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds during his senior campaign. He finished his career as the all-time career shot block leader for both Kansas and the Big 12, ending his Jayhawks tenure with 312 total blocks. Withey was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive seasons (2012, 2013) and earned All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2013. During the 2011-12 season, he set an NCAA Tournament record for most blocks in a single tournament with 31 rejections in helping KU to an appearance in the Final Four and National Championship Game.
The Jazz already have Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Trevor Booker, Tibor Pleiss and Trey Lyles under contract. The competition to be on the 2015-2016 roster, if the Jazz decide to keep a sixth front-court player, will be between Withey, Jack Cooley (non-guaranteed contract) and Grant Jerrett (guaranteed contract). It is always good to have competition. It makes everyone better. It will be interesting to see how all the newcomers on the Jazz roster will perform when training camp opens up.