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35 - Udoka Azubuike

6-11, 260 Center
Kansas Senior
Birthday
09/17/99 (21.2 yrs)
Hometown
Lagos, Nigeria
High School
Potter\'s House Christian
Team Site Profile
Statistics
Athleticism
8
Size
10
Defense
8
Strength
9
Quickness
7
Leadership
7
Jump Shot
7
NBA Ready
7
Rebounding
8
Potential
6
Post Skills
7
Intangibles
7

NBA Comparison: Bismack Biyombo

Strengths: Udoka Azubuike’s most obvious strength is pretty hard to miss. He is very big. At 7 feet .25 inches in shoes, and possessing an elite 7’7” wingspan he’s extremely long. Even better, after years in the weight room he’s molded himself into a lean, muscular 260 pound athlete. Dok can hold his own with the biggest and strongest of NBA centers. His size and length give him immediate translatable skills like rebounding and the ability to defend the rim. Azubuike isn’t a stiff either. At the 2020 combine he measured a freakish 37 inch max standing vertical leap, which allowed him to hit the 12’6” mark without any sort of run. After averaging 2.6 blocks per game as a senior at Kansas, Udoka’s size and spring will render him at the very least a plus rim defender in the NBA with the potential to be elite. While not the quickest lateral player his 7’7” wingspan also makes him extremely effective guarding the entire paint area, and extremely effective in one on one post matchups, help and rotational situations in the lane. Even in a more spaced out environment, he would be a major deterrent for offensive players to test their luck in the paint. While not a guy you really want running around by the 3 point line, he’s developed into a solid pick and roll defender too with the ability to effectively switch and stay out of foul trouble. Dok truly was a historic figure in NCAA D1 Hoops. Over four seasons at Kansas he shot .7465% from the field, good for first all time. No, Azubuike isn’t going to impress you with a vast array of post moves, but he is an extremely effective finisher, with the length and girth to be a high level pick and roll target and finisher at the rim at the NBA level. Chances are if he gets the ball in the low post, he’s going to score. Dok upped his rebounding every season at Kansas, and his 10.5 rebounds per game as a senior (3.5 offensive) are good indicators that he’ll be able to collect misses at a good clip at the next level. Over four years he really transformed his body. Dok lost fat, gained muscle and athleticism, and improved endurance which really aided in being in the position to be talked about entering the NBA draft. While not your typical face up big man of 2020, Dok is good enough at what he does (and good enough to be able to do it in the NBA) to be looked at as a potential draft pick or two way player. After seeing how unpolished he was 4 years ago, it’s a testament to his work ethic, which is also another strength

Weaknesses: In 1992 we might be talking about a player like Azubuike being picked up in the lottery, but with the way the game has changed, despite being elite as a rebounder, and rim defender, those characteristics don’t hold nearly as much value if you’re not able to stretch the floor for better spacing. No doubt Dok is more comfortable as an offensive player than he was as a freshman, but he’s never really developed the ability to hit a face up jump shot. This makes his only value on offense strictly around the rim. His projected failure to draw his defender away from the hoop will allow defenses to sag off and contend the rim easier. His lack of improvement as a free throw shooter doesn’t exactly paint a trajectory of developing even a consistent 15 footer over the next few years. Udoka shot just 44% from the free throw stripe as a senior, and that was a career high. He is also not a naturally quick lateral defender. His focus on conditioning has certainly allowed him to improve, but guarding face up bigs one on one in the NBA often 20-25 feet away from the basket could make him an easier target to blow past, or exploit by a stretch 5 with three point range.

Overall: Udoka Azubuike is an elite shot blocker, defender and finisher with immense size and athletic ability. He’ll be able to protect the rim, finish pick and rolls and dunk anything within 5 feet of the rim at an elite rate. The question is, will that be good enough to stick in the modern game? His low free throw percentages give pause to project much improvement as a shooter, and he could be a hack target late in games with his current woeful free throw ability. Still, Dok could get a shot as a situational backup to plug in lineups when Andre Drummond, Joel Embiid, and other NBA behemoths come to town, and rack up DNPs when matched against fast paced small ball teams. We saw during the 2020 playoffs that sometimes it’s very valuable to have big bodied rim protectors like JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard on your roster in certain situations. Whether it’s in the 2nd round or by way of a rookie free agent contract, I think Udoka will get a shot. It will just be his ability to adapt the NBA game that will eventually mean the difference between sticking or going overseas to earn his check.

Notes: measured: 6’10.00” barefoot,  6’11.50” in shoes, 9’5.00” standing reach, 259.5 lbs, and 7’7.25” wingspan at the 2020 NBA Combine … All Big 12 Third Team 2017-2018. All Big 12 First Team (2019-20). Big 12 Player of the Year (2019-20). Second Team AP All-American (2019-20)

David Ray 11/9/20

Strengths: 6’11 athletic big man … Great size, strength, and aggression. Has great length with a 7’5 wingspan. Takes up a lot of space and holds position against the biggest opponents … Plays physical and likes to bang. It’s common for defenders to get out of the way after he catches it where he wants it and attacks. Needs to be tracked every offensive possession and wears down the man guarding him … Explosive athlete. Gets off the ground very well for a player with his size. Reliable finisher … Good shot blocker. Can serve as an anchor on defense … Very good rebounder on both ends. Holds position well and secures nearly everything he can get his hand on … Shows some touch and a developing jump hook from in close for a solid foundation for a back to the basket game … Embraces his role as a big man. Doesn’t try to step out to the perimeter and play outside his game …

Weaknesses: Still very raw in terms of skillset. Doesn’t provide much outside the paint. Can improve his post-game and footwork. Can improve his face up game and free throw shooting … Foul prone. Uses hands too much on defense and can develop a better understanding of defensive positioning … Even though his size and length stand out even at the highest levels, he will need to add more to his offensive game. He gets by with simply catching and finishing at the high school level … Needs to improve conditioning, gets winded throughout the game. Not very effective when he’s the last one up the court …

Outlook: Azubuike stands out with his size, strength, and athleticism. Still raw in his development, he has the opportunity to make an impact at Kansas, where he will spend a minimum of two years due to his listed age. Azubuike played in the McDonald’s All American Game, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit.

Notes: Measured 6’9, 268 lbs with a 7’5 wingspan at the 2014 Nike Elite 100 … Measured 6’11.5’’ in shoes, with a 7’5’’ wingspan and 267 lbs at the 2015 Nike Basketball Academy

Evan Tomes 7/5/16

September 22, 2013 

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