Last Word on Pro Basketball draft coverage continues with one of the most dominant college basketball players, Udoka Azubuike. He had a long career with the Kansas Jayhawks and will look to continue his playing career in the NBA.
Udoka Azubuike 2020 NBA Draft Profile
Udoka Azubuike is a 7’0 270 pound center from Nigeria. Azubuike is in his fourth season for the Kansas Jayhawks and he is one of the most dominant post presences in college basketball. Azubuike has been one of Bill Self’s biggest projects while at Kansas.
Azubuike averaged 12.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. He drastically improved from his freshman year to his sophomore year, but then he stayed fairly consistent over the next three seasons. Azubuike earned All-Big 12 honors his sophomore and senior seasons. He is also likely to be voted an All-American this season.
Azubuike is a dominant presence in the paint. If he catches it close to the rim, it is as close to automatic as one can get. His massive frame helps him pin people below the hoop and he becomes impossible to defend. There are not many people with the physical attributes of Azubuike.
Along with his dominant paint scoring, he is a solid rebounder. Azubuike can use his frame to carve out space and keep plays alive. Even if he doesn’t get the rebound himself, he opens up the glass for teammates.
Finally, Azubuike is a solid roller out of the pick and roll. This relates back to his dominant presence around the rim. His frame creates space for the guard. Then, as a roller, the defense has to pay attention to him because if he catches it then it is an automatic two. Even if he does not catch a single pass as a roller, his teammates come open because of him.
Azubuike is basically atrocious from anywhere on the court offensively other than close to the rim. He can’t score outside the paint and he does not have the ability to beat people using the dribble. He really struggles from the free-throw line and his shooting mechanics are poor so that may never improve.
Azubuike also struggles to stay on the court. The first reason for this is foul trouble. Azubuike seems to be in trouble almost every game. Some of it is due to his conditioning, but he just has a knack for fouling. The offensive fouls should decrease in the NBA, so hopefully, that will keep him on the court longer.
The second reason he finds himself on the bench is turnovers. Azubuike really struggles against the double team, which he faced often. He turned the ball over 18.1 percent of the time over his career, and 19.6 percent of the time this season. He needs to become a better decision-maker from the post if he wants to play in the NBA.
NBA Player Comparison
Tristan Thompson. This is the best-case scenario for Azubuike. He needs to get every rebound and protect the rim while on the court if he wants to find a spot in the NBA. There is a slim chance he ever develops his offensive game beyond what it is now so he has to find a way to manufacture a role. That role will be through his energy, which he should be able to maintain since his minutes will be down.
NBA Draft Projection
Late 2nd round pick to Undrafted. Azubuike just does not fit in the modern NBA. If he was in the draft twenty years ago, he would be a lottery pick. However, the NBA has moved away from players like Azubuike.
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