Udoka Azubuike: Basketball Player

Udoka Azubuike: Basketball Player

Udoka Azubuike

Udoka “Dok” Timothy Azubuike ( born 17 September 1999) is a Nigerian college basketball player for the Kansas Jayhawks of the Big 12 Conference.

Early life

Azubuike was the youngest of five with two older brothers and two older sisters. His father Fabian was a police officer and his mother Florence was a middle school teacher. Azubuike lost his father to an undiagnosed disease at the age of 10. Nigerian-born, he caught the attention of recruiters with Basketball Without Borders and was offered a scholarship to play basketball in the United States despite not playing the game until he was 13.

High school career

Azubuike attended Potter’s House Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. His then assistant Coach Harry Coxsome and his wife Donna took care of him and soon became his legal guardians. In his first high school game he was matched up against fellow future Kansas Jayhawk Joel Embiid. Azubuike was a four-year starter averaging 16.9 points and 9.7 rebounds a game his senior year. Azubuike was selected to play in the 2016 McDonald’s All-American Boys Game, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit. He was also a member of the National Honor Society.

He was rated by Rivals.com as a five-star recruit and was ranked as the 27th best overall player while ESPN ranked him 22nd overall in the Class of 2016. Azubuike received offers from many universities including Duke, Texas, Kentucky, and shortened his final list of colleges to Florida State, Kansas, and North Carolina. On 28 January 2016, he announced his choice to play college basketball at the University of Kansas.[10]

College career

Freshman year

In his freshman season he started in six of the 11 games he played in before tearing ligaments in his left wrist ended his season. Before the injury he averaged 5.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 62.9% field goal percentage.

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Sophomore year

For the 2017–2018 season, Kansas’ coach Bill Self recruited Kansas football player James Sosinski to defend Azubuike during practice. Udoka started every game of the regular season but missed the Big 12 tournament after spraining his left MCL. He returned for the NCAA tournament until KU’s loss to eventual champion Villanova in the Final Four. He averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and led the nation with a 77% field goal percentage for the season. His field goal percentage broke the single-season record for Kansas and the Big 12 Conference. This high percentage was in part due to the majority of his field goals being slam dunks, which typically have a higher completion percentage than jump shots or layups. He had more dunks than any other college player going back to the 2009–2010 season. He was awarded All-Big 12 third team by the conference’s coaches and second team by the AP.

On 20 April 2018, Azubuike announced his intention to the 2018 NBA Draft. He will not initially hire an agent allowing him to return if he decides before the combine. Azubuike would be one of a record-high 69 prospects invited to the NBA Draft Combine that year. On May 17, he measured out to be a near 7′ tall center (with shoes on) weighting in at around 274 pounds and holding the second longest wingspan at 7’7″, behind only Mohamed Bamba. On 30 May 2018 he announced his intent to withdraw from the draft and return to Kansas for his junior season.

Junior year

Azubuike was selected as an honorable mention to the 2018–2019 All-Big 12 preseason team. On 4 December 2018, he severely sprained his right ankle against Wofford and missed the following four games. On 5 January 2019, Azubuike injured his wrist during practice. An MRI revealed he tore a ligament in his right hand. He underwent season-ending surgery on January 9, 2019.

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Kansas won all nine games Azubuike played including against top ten teams Tennessee and Michigan State. He finished the season averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.

On 22 April 2019, Azubuike announced he will return to Kansas for his senior season. According to KU coach Bill self, “We’re all very excited about Udoka making the decision not to enter the (NBA) draft.” “Unfortunately for him, injury is the reason as he still cannot participate (at) what would be the NBA combine or workouts for the NBA teams.”

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS Games started  MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field goal percentage  3P% 3-point field goal percentage  FT% Free throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game  APG Assists per game  SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game  PPG Points per game  Bold Career-high
* Led NCAA Division I

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2016–17 Kansas 11 6 12.9 .629 .379 4.4 .2 .2 1.6 5.0
2017–18 Kansas 36 34 23.6 .770* .413 7.0 .7 .6 1.7 13.0
2018–19 Kansas 9 9 20.4 .705 .344 6.8 .6 .4 1.6 13.4
Career 56 49 21.0 .744 .394 6.4 .6 .5 1.6 11.5