If it seems like Udoka Azubuike is closer to his sophomore season than his senior season, it’s because an unfortunate injury history. Azubuike played in 11 games during his freshman season. He only played in nine games as a junior last season. Now, Azubuike is ready for one final run with the Kansas Jayhawks in 2019-20. The big man announced he will play one more season with the Jayhawks before entering the NBA draft next season.
Hopefully, Azubuike returns to campus with a more complete game. During their Final Four run in 2018, Azubuike 13 points, 7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Azubuike also shot a scorching 77 percent from the field during his sophomore year. He was on his way to another strong performance in the paint. However, Azubuike suffered a season-ending wrist injury during a Friday practice in January. He opted for surgery and left the Jayhawks without depth. More importantly, the Jayhawks were no longer one of the favorites to make the Final Four.
Interestingly enough, Azubuike suffered the same ligament injury in his left wrist during freshman year. Otherwise, there’s little chance anybody expected to see their starting center play in four different seasons with the Jayhawks. Well, we are here now.
Fellow forward Dedric Lawson decided to enter the NBA draft after one season with the Jayhawks. Lawson began his career with the Memphis Tigers. He sat out the 2017-18 season and played terrific this past year. Unfortunately, the Jayhawks weren’t able to get the best out of one of the most talented front court duos in college basketball.
The Jayhawks will attempt to regain the Big 12 regular season title. The Jayhawks only finished (26-10) last season and failed to gain at least a share of the conference title for the first time since coming in second place in 2006.
If Azubuike can get the Jayhawks back on top and in contention for a Final Four berth, he will have a successful season. If he improves on his shooting from the foul line and displays the ability to hit a jump shot, his draft stock would improve immensely. However, Azubuike must get back to being the dominant big man on campus.