A 7-footer, a high-scoring combo guard and a shooting ace.
That describes three former Arizona Wildcats who have each had big games in the past few weeks, including Kansas center Jeff Withey on Wednesday night. He went for a career-high 25 points in the Jayhawks’ 68-54 victory at seventh-ranked Baylor.
There are six former Arizona basketball players at different colleges (and it would be seven, but guard Garland Judkins was dismissed from the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team last summer before his senior season).
Let’s take a look at the transfers, ranked in order of how much the Cats miss them:
C Jeff Withey, Kansas
He announced his intention to transfer from Arizona in late October 2008, after coach Lute Olson announced his retirement. He managed to practice with the team but never made it to the season-opener of his freshman year.
The Cats sure could use his height right now.
After being deep in the rotation last season, the 7-foot junior leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 3.0 per game; he nearly has as many blocks (72) as the entire Arizona team (80). Withey nicely fills a complementary role for KU with 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He also shoots 86.1 percent from the line.
After a couple of subpar performances, he shattered his previous career high of 15 points with his 25-point effort vs. Baylor.
“That’s probably about as good offensively we’ve had a big man play here in a while,” coach Bill Self said.
G MoMo Jones, Iona
Arizona has struggled to replace his leadership and late-game skills after Jones transferred last summer, with the intent to be closer to his Harlem, N.Y., home and an ailing grandmother. The NCAA granted him a hardship waiver, so he didn’t have to sit out a year.
Jones, who mostly played point guard in two seasons Arizona, can play off the ball at Iona because of the presence of Scott Machado, who leads the nation with an amazing 10.0 assists per game.
Jones, who is averaging 16.2 points, earned the most recent Player of the Week award for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He scored 43 points last week vs. Canisius, making 16 of 23 shots from the field, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range.
Iona, whose RPI number of 56 is six spots better than Arizona’s, will be a team to watch in the NCAA Tournament should it advance.
G Zane Johnson, Hawaii
Johnson has carved out a very good career in the WAC, leading the Warriors in scoring last season with 15.8 points per game and replicating that production this season with a team-high 15.7 points per game.
It’s easy to forget than Johnson started 11 conference games for Arizona during the 2008-09 season, but he averaged only 3.4 points in his two years in Tucson.
Johnson, known for his shooting ability, has taken 70 percent of his shots from 3-point range. He’s one of the top 3-point shooters in the WAC, making 40.7 percent last season and 37.2 percent this season. Johnson scored 29 points vs. New Mexico State on Jan. 21.
“He’s a better athlete than you think and he’s bigger than you think,” Utah State coach Stew Morrill said recently. “He gets a lot of his shots off because he gets them off quick.”
C Sidiki Johnson, Providence
Johnson had the body to help Arizona down low this season, but he didn’t make it through his first semester, leaving school after landing in coach Sean Miller’s doghouse.
His transfer to Providence was announced last week.
The good news for Arizona is that it has another scholarship to give out and add to its top-ranked recruiting class. And, you never know, there could be another transfer after the season, giving Miller another chance to sign a player in the spring period.
G Laval Lucas-Perry, Oakland
He’s been gone for a while, leaving after the first semester of his freshman season in 2007.
Lucas-Perry, from Flint, Mich., then played two seasons at Michigan before being dismissed and landing at Oakland for his final season of eligibility. The Wildcats saw him earlier this season when the Grizzlies visited McKale Center. Perry had 11 points in an 85-73 loss to UA.
He is averaging 9.2 points but is shooting only 24.8 percent from 3-point range.
G Daniel Bejarano, Colorado State
He is redshirting at Colorado State after barely getting off the bench at Arizona as a freshman. He appeared in only eight games last season.