I've been pumping this for awhile and we finally get to see it, starting with the player that played the least all season long. That would be Brad Witherspoon, the last man off the bench for this year's Elite Eight team. I'll try and pump one of these out every couple of days, let's finally put a close to last season and look foward to the promise that there is always next year.
Brad 'Effin Witherspoon; how's he known around Humboldt High School (source)
Every team, whether they be National Champion Florida or the Iona Gales, has that guy that you never hear about. That guy who is kind of just "there", just sits on the end of the bench and plays in a handful of games a year, usually a freshman. Well, the 2006-2007 Jayhawk edition of "Mr. Irrelevant" happens to be Mr. Bradley Witherspoon. He played in a whopping total of 17 minutes split up into little 10 segments. With Self consistently leaving the starters in until the 5:00 mark and trying to cram all subs in at once, he only saw action of more than 2 minutes twice, once against our 92-39 shellacking of that football school up north and he saw the court 3 minutes in the NCAA Tournament against the Niagara Purple Eagles. So you see, Brad Witherspoon has something that can never be taken away from him, he got to see action in an NCAA Tournament game. He took 6 total shots knocking only 1 down (he was 1-2 in those 4 minutes against Nebraska; you see, he only contributes the more you play him.....why did SC have to play so much?) but also calmly sank one of two FT's against Niagara in the NCAA's. Finally, he picked up 4 rebounds including an offensive one against the Pokes and 3 others strewn across the landscape that is the college basketball season including 2 in the NCAA's. He had an assist and steal against that football school and another assist against Niagara in the Tournament. Let's move on...
Game of the Year
No doubt, his stat-stuffing spectacle in Allen Fieldhouse against the football school. Not only did he play a career-high 4 minutes but he also knocked down his first and only career field goal as well as picking up an assist and a steal. If he had played every game in mop-up duty against the very same football school, he just might have been Honorable Mention All-Big 12.
Choke of the Year
Obviously, when you only play at the end of games that are already well out of hand you can't really 'choke'. Still, you can underperform here and there and Bradley's (not his real first name, just my nickname for him) choke happened against the Oklahoma State Cowboys where he was a dreadful 0fer from the field (0-2) and picked up 2 quick fouls in just 2 minutes of play. That is the definition of unacceptable, but we all have our off-nights. The one shining light in an otherwise pit of darkness for Bradley was an offensive rebound, one I'm sure he had to foul his way to get by going over-the-back.
Play of the Year
Raise your hand if you remember any plays distinctly in your head that Bradley was the key character in. The only one I can even kind of remember is his only field goal make of the season, against that football school. That basket meant we had everyone contributing directly to the 92 points you saw scrolling across SportsCenter the next morning. It isn't anything in Jayhawk lore, but added another level of failure to what was already demoralizing for that football team from WAY up north.
Blunder of the Year
Didn't qualify, no clear-cut mistakes. You see, Bradley doesn't like to play on the edge, he'd rather just be your run-of-the-mill end-of-the-bench kinda guy, instead of having a ton of highlights and lowlights both he just decided to make everything a happy medium. I gurantee you his favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla.
Now that we got his awards outta the way, let's get to his future with this team. He was a junior last season, meaning this is his final season wearing crimson and blue. Of course, last year was still his first ever season as a Jayhawk but his first two years he was merely a student, attending games behind the basketball goal instead of on the end of the bench. He will likely fill the same role next season, instead a new walk-on gets picked up then Witherspoon has a chance to move up to second-to-last-off-the-bench.