Juenemann and Withey To Compete in Europe for Two Weeks With Athletes in Action
May 16, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Most KU students need the two-week break between spring finals and summer classes to mentally recover and prepare for more time in the classroom, but not Kansas basketball players Jordan Juenemann and Jeff Withey.
Juenemann and Withey will embark on a two-week trip to Europe with Athletes in Action Thursday to play basketball against local teams, including clubs from Greece, Hungary, Poland and the Kosovo National Team. They will fly out of Kansas City May 19 to meet their teammates at Chicago and then fly to Frankfurt, Germany. From there, they will fly to Greece and take a bus to Macedonia to begin training. The two will return to Kansas June 3 and begin summer classes June 7.
According to the organization’s website, Athletes in Action is a global Sports Ministry working with college and professional athletes to use the platform of sport to help people with questions of faith.
Juenemann, who is entering his senior season and has scored 22 points in 29 career games as a walk-on for KU, has wanted to do Athletes in Action for a long time. He was thrilled when he found out he had made the team this year.
“As a freshman I knew about Athletes in Action, their ministries and their tours,” said Juenemann. “I always wanted to do it to see a new country and grow in my faith, but each summer it didn’t work out. After the season was over I called the Director of Athletes in Action to let him know I was interested. He said he would keep me in mind, but they were already guard heavy. A week later he called me to say I was selected for the team. I was really excited because somebody wasn’t able to go on the trip, which opened a spot for me. That was a total God thing for me.”
Juenemann then approached Withey about joining him on the roster because the team needed more post players. Withey, who transferred to Kansas from Arizona and averaged 2.3 poitns and 1.8 rebounds in 26 games for the Jayhawks last year, initially declined. After considering the benefits going into his junior season, he realized it was an opportunity he needed to take advantage of.
“Jordan asked me a couple months ago if I wanted to be on the team with him,” said Withey. “I didn’t want to go at the time because I’ve been to Europe before. I haven’t been home for a year, so I wanted to go back home. Coach (Kurtis) Townsend and Coach (Bill) Self heard about it, and they told me it would be a good opportunity for me because I haven’t played a real basketball game in such a long time and it would also help me with my Christian faith.”
Withey played in basketball tournaments in Germany and France in high school, but he believes this experience will be different.
“I’m looking forward to going to that part of the world because there is so much history there. Playing the national team and being able to share my faith will be awesome.”
Juenemann says he is looking forward to a lot of aspects of the trip. He is also very appreciative of all of the people who donated to Athletes in Action to help the team travel to Europe.
“This will be my first time overseas,” said Juenemann. “It will be great to experience that and get to know guys from other teams. I think it will be really enjoyable. We’ll be doing Bible studies, lots of prayers and growing in our faith together. I really believe God has something for Jeff and me over there to bring back to the states and KU. We want to come back and be leaders on the team from what we learn in Europe. We want to thank all of the people who support Athletes in Action to make this trip possible. We’ll be growing in our basketball skills and growing in our faith, so to be involved with Athletes in Action will be an experience I take with me for the rest of my life.”
2011 Athletes in Action Men’s Basketball Roster – Macedonia and Kosovo
Cory Jefferson 6’9″, 200, F Baylor
A.J. Walton 6’1″, 185, G Baylor
Austin Dufault 6’9″, 200, F Colorado
Scottie Wilbekin 6’2″, 175, G Florida
Jake Kitchell 6’10”, 225, F Indiana State
Jordan Juenemann 6’3″, 195, G Kansas
Jeff Withey 7’0″, 230, C Kansas
Will Spradling 6’3″, 170, G Kansas State
Langston Hall 6’4″, 180, G Mercer
William Mosley 6’7″, 220, F Northwestern State
Head Coach – Tim Maloney (Baylor Assistant Coach)