Defense carried the day at the Kansas basketball awards banquet on Monday when seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award, presented to the team's most valuable player.
Withey, the co-national defensive player of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, led the Big 12 in blocked shots at 3.9 per game and set nearly every team and league blocked shot record. Releford was the Jayhawks' top perimeter defense and ranked among the Big 12 leaders in steals.
Kansas Coach Bill Self said the team, which finished 31-6 overall, tied Kansas State for first place in the Big 12 and won the conference tournament, "maximized its abilities and played to its ceiling about as any team as I've head in 20 years of coaching."
Kansas was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost to fourth-seeded Michigan in the Sweet 16.