KU: Udoka Azubuike to return for senior season

Jayhawks
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 23: Udoka Azubuike #35 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with the trophy after Kansas’ 87-81 win over Tennessee Volunteers at the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament at Barclays Center on November 23, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Kansas men’s basketball center Udoka Azubuike will return to KU for his senior season, KU head coach Bill Self announced Monday.

“We’re all very excited about Udoka making the decision not to enter the (NBA) draft,” Self said. “Unfortunately for him, injury is the reason as he still cannot participate what would be the NBA combine or workouts for the NBA teams. We really anticipated that this would be the year he would enter the draft but that was also based on him having an injury-free year.”

Azubuike saw action in nine games in 2018-19, averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest, before a season-ending wrist injury. The 7-foot-0, 270-pound, Delta, Nigeria, junior center was named a candidate for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award prior to the start of the season and was also on the preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention list.

“Udoka knows that he still has some unfinished work left in college and at the University of Kansas and he has let us know that he is very excited about the potential for next year’s team and the role in which he would have,” Self said. “I am sad he got hurt but happy for our program because if things fall the way that we think they could potentially fall, this is a big piece to anchor what could be a real fun year next season.”

As a sophomore, Azubuike led NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.0, which ranks second best for a season in NCAA history and set the Kansas and Big 12 single-season records. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Azubuike averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds his sophomore year in earning All-Big 12 Third Team honors.

For his career, Azubuike has averaged 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. His 74.4 career field goal percentage would crush the KU record of 62.0 percent by Mark Randall who played at KU from 1987, 1989-91. Azubuike is 288-for-387 from the field with the minimum for the career field goal percentage record being 500 attempts. Additionally, Azubuike has 92 blocked shots and is 11 blocks from cracking the KU career top 20 list.

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