With the great success of players like Dan Dickau, Erroll Knight, and Micah Downs, Gonzaga is no stranger to dealing with high profile transfers. It appears that GU is making an active attempt to add to this terrific list, as the Zags are in hot pursuit of Jeff Withey.
Withey has had a unique experience since enrolling at the University of Arizona. After the sudden departure of Lute Olson, Withey formally filed his transfer papers. However, after filing these papers on October 29th, his transfer was denied by Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood.
Here is the quote from Livengood about Withey's decision to transfer:
"it's in the best interest of the University of Arizona to have Jeff complete an academic year here. That's what the letter of intent states."
It appeared that Withey would be forced to spend his entire freshman year at Arizona, but over the past 24 hours things have changed. Both the Arizona Rivals page and the Tuscon Citizen (click to read article) are reporting that Withey will be granted his release soon. Even more exciting for Gonzaga fans are the following quotes from an interview between Withey and the Arizona Rivals page (click to read article).
"In the coming weeks, Withey will decide on a new school, and it appears that the three programs in most serious contention are Kansas, Texas and Gonzaga."
"Right now I'm looking at the schools that recruited me in high school and I'm trying to get a feel for who is going to recruit me," Withey said. "I'll probably make a decision in the next couple of weeks."
TKR's Take: I think it would be fair to say that Jeff Withey would be the ultimate christmas gift for the Gonzaga coaching staff. Withey has a combination of height and athleticism that you rarely see. There is no denying that he needs to add strength and polish his offensive game before he will be able to dominate at a high level, but adding Withey to a class of Arop, Dower, and potentially Kong would be incredible. Withey would not be able to play for the school he transfers to until January 2010, when he would be considered a freshman. This might even be an added bonus for the Gonzaga coaches, as they would have over a year to get him in the weight room and work on his fundamentals and skill set.