The UofL men’s basketball roster is slowly taking shape under new head coach Kenny Kenny Payne. After Sydney Curry, El Ellis, and Mike James announced they were staying with the program, Jae’lyn Withers has made his decision to stay as well. Keeping Withers has to be considered a big win for Coach Payne.
I’m back, watch yours 🫂 pic.twitter.com/L14CaFrFIs— Jaelyn Withers (@jaelynwithers) April 8, 2022
The 6’8 redshirt sophomore has shown flashes of brilliance in his two years as a Card. As a redshirt freshman, he averaged 10.1 ppg and 7.7 rpg. Those numbers gained him postseason recognition as he was named a member of the 2021 ACC All-Freshman team.
His sophomore campaign wasn’t quite as successful, but that can obviously be chalked up to the issues the entire team experienced with the coaching upheaval. Even though Withers didn’t necessarily live up to his preseason hype, he did have some very good games this past season. Against Notre Dame in South Bend, Withers scored 20 points, grabbed 5 boards, and added 3 steals. At Syracuse, he scored 13 points, grabbed 5 boards, dished out 2 assists, and collected a block and steal. Against Miami at home, Withers scored 9 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, collected 3 steals, and managed a block.
Jae’lyn Withers has the skills and talent that Coach Kenny Payne should be able to mold and develop. While he did struggle playing a stretch-4 last season, the skill set is there. If Coach Payne can develop his ball handling and shooting more, Withers could be a player that can play on the wing. Having Withers back is huge because he brings experience and, in my opinion, untapped potential. If Coach Payne can help Jae’lyn truly unleash his full potential, he may only be here one more year. Let’s hope that’s the case.