About Udoka Azubuike
Udoka Azubuike was the most imposing physical presence in college basketball last season as his improved conditioning helped him use his unmatched combination of strength and length. Moving to the United States from Nigeria in his early teams, Azubuike is an early bloomer who quickly emerged as a force at the prep level. Finishing his senior year at Potter’s House Christian Academy (FL), he was ranked among the consensus top-30 prospects in the class of 2016 while earning McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American honors. Losing much of his first year at Kansas to a wrist injury, he broke out as a sophomore averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds over 23.5 minutes per game to claim a spot on the All-Big XII 3rd Team.
Losing much of his junior year to another wrist injury, Azubuike declared for last year’s NBA Draft and withdrew for the second time ahead of his senior season. Returning to school in excellent shape, he averaged 13.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game showing significant development to earn Consensus All-American 2nd Team honors and capture the Big XII Player of the Year award while propelling the Jayhawks to the top of the AP poll.
- Possessing dimensions like few players in NBA history, Azubuike has elite size at 7-foot-0.25 with a dramatically improved 270-pound frame and a 7-foot-7 wingspan to go along with good explosiveness and developing mobility.
- A dominant presence inside, Azubuike is an elite lob target whose sheer size makes him brutally effective in the post as well. Finishing among the most efficient scorers in college basketball, he changed the complexion of the game for opposing defenses every time he stepped on the floor.
- The anchor of one of the top defensive teams in college basketball, Azubuike’s improved conditioning had a clear impact on his mobility. Moving better to block shots and defend the pick and roll, he was among the most impactful centers in the country on the defensive end.
- With all the tools to be a difference maker inside, Azubuike made a couple major strides this season as the anchor of an elite defensive team. Looking more comfortable in the moments he was asked to move his feet away from the rim and doing a dramatically better job staying out of foul trouble, his growth as a defender was key to the Jayhawks’ success this season. Allowing just 0.43 points per post up possession [96th percentile], opposing teams found little success testing him inside though floor spacing big men did present an obvious challenge.
- A physical presence at the rim, Azubuike’s tools are clearly a factor in rim protection situations, but the development of his motor has made him a more consistent presence challenging shots and pulling down rebounds.
- Twice led the nation in field goal percentage. Owns the second- and third-best single-season marks in NCAA history (77.0 percent in 2017-18 and 74.8 percent in 2019-20).
- 2019-20 NABC Defensive Player of the Year.
- 2019-20 AP All-America Second Team selection.
- One of five finalists for the Naismith Trophy, the Wooden Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award in 2019-20.
- Only Big 12 player to average a double-double (13.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg).
- Named 2019-20 Big 12 Player of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
- Ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage (74.8), 16th in blocks (2.58 bpg) and 19th in rebounding.
- Led the Big 12 in both rebounding and double-doubles (15) and ranked second in blocks.
- Grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds and scored 23 points (on 11-of13 shooting) vs. Baylor (Feb. 22).
- Notched a career-high 31 points with 14 rebounds and five blocks vs. TCU (March 4).
- Has tremendous size and strength.
- Uses length to protect the rim and grab rebounds.
- Solid athlete for his size with improved mobility.
- Plays to his strengths.
- Three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection.
- Born in Nigeria and first came to the U.S. in ninth grade. Didn’t get to see his mom, Florence, again until she attended the 2018 Final Four.
- Began playing basketball in 2012.
“When you’ve got the big fella changing the game it seems most every possession on both ends, that bodes well for you. Nobody else in America has a guy like that. Nobody.”
-Kansas coach Bill Self
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