« Men’s Basketball 2019-20

Udoka Azubuike

School

University of Kansas

Position
Center
Major
Liberal Arts and Sciences

Classroom

Azubuike is a liberal arts and sciences major who will graduate from Kansas. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, earning second-team honors during his sophomore year and boosting that to first-team recognition last season.

Character

During his years at the University of Kansas, Azubuike has earned the adoration and respect of his coaches, teammates and fans. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Azubuike exudes all the qualities and characteristics expected of a leader. His path to Kansas from Delta, Nigeria, has been documented with his father passing when he was a youth. In 2018-19, he represented Kansas as a Big 12 Champions for Life. The All-Big 12 Second Team selection as a sophomore, Azubuike has overcome injuries all three seasons while at Kansas. He played in 11 contests his freshman year before being sidelined. He missed only three games in 2017-18 and was an important asset to Kansas’ run to the 2018 Final Four, as he led the nation in field goal percentage at 77.0 percent. Last season, Azubuike kept Kansas atop the national polls before being injured nine games into the 2018-19 campaign. Coming into college at 305 pounds, Azubuike has shown the discipline to drop weight to maximize his efficiency as he now weighs 265.

Community

Azubuike takes great pride in his community. Earlier this year with the KU team, he visited Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, engaging with youth cancer patients. Just this past October, Azubuike and his teammates served a warm meal to the homeless at LINK (Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen) in Lawrence. Also in October, Azubuike participated in the 10th annual Ladies Night Out, a function that raises more than $60,000 for cancer research. Similar to Ladies Night Out, the men’s basketball team also annually shops for needy families during the holiday season, an event which supports the Salvation Army. Azubuike and his teammates also host the annual Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic in late January, during the heart of conference play. This event brings more than 120 Kansas Special Olympians to Allen Fieldhouse to interact with the Jayhawks.

At seven feet tall, Azubuike is a fan favorite when it comes photos and autographs. The Kansas men’s basketball team autographs more than 1,500 basketballs every season with proceeds from the basketballs sold going to local charities.

Competition

Azubuike has been sidelined with injuries his freshman and junior seasons but he has clearly etched his name into the Kansas, Big 12 and NCAA record books in his three seasons. He averaged just 5.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 11 contests as a freshman. In Kansas’ 2018 run to the Final Four, Azubuike led the nation in field goal percentage at 77.0 percent, which set the Kansas and Big 12 single-season records. An All-Big 12 Second Team honoree in 2017-18, Azubuike’s 77.0 percent ranks second all-time on the NCAA single-season field goal percentage records list. Azubuike averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 2017-18 and amassed six double-doubles. In only nine games of 2018-19, Azubuike averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds. With a career field goal percentage of 74.4 entering 2019-20, Azubuike is on pace to shatter the Kansas (62.0 percent) and Big 12 (63.7 percent) career field goal percentage records and contend with the NCAA mark of 67.8 percent.