LAWRENCE, Kan. – After playing at the NBA Combine and receiving feedback from several teams over the last month, University of Kansas center Udoka Azubuike announced Wednesday he has withdrawn his name from the 2018 NBA Draft and will return to KU for his junior season.
“I received good feedback from many sources around the NBA over the last month but in the end, after discussing with my family and coaches, we decided it would be in my best interest to return to Kansas for my junior year,” said Azubuike. “I want to thank the people in the NBA who gave me this opportunity. I believe it was an important step as I chase my dream to play basketball at the highest level. I’m looking forward to next season and can’t wait to get to work with my teammates. Rock Chalk!”
A 7-foot center from Delta, Nigeria, Azubuike started 34 games for KU in 2017-18, averaging 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. His 77.0 field-goal percentage led the nation and was a Big 12 single-season record. He also ranked eighth in the league with six double-doubles, and his 1.7 blocks per game were sixth in the conference. He was an All-Big 12 Third-Team selection following the season and also earned a spot on the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team.
“We’re all very excited about Udoka making the decision to return for his junior year,” said head coach Bill Self. “We supported him declaring and investigating, which I think was a smart move. It was certainly a move that was handled exactly as the rule was intended. He wanted to find out more information on what the NBA franchises thought of him and he was able to accomplish that in many ways. The feedback that he got and that we received was that he’s definitely improved and NBA personnel think very favorably of him. He certainly performed well at the Combine, but the information he received led him to the decision to return to school.”
Azubuike has played in 47 games for Kansas with 40 starts and an 11.1 scoring average. He has scored 20 or more points in seven outings as a Jayhawk, each of which came in 2017-18. He scored a career-high 26 points in KU’s win at Nebraska on Dec. 16, 2017, and pulled down a career-best 13 rebounds at Texas on Dec. 29, 2017.
“I know that he’s excited to come back and to be a part of what could be a really nice team,” said Self. “Certainly, I’m looking forward to his role and production increasing dramatically as he will be one of the most experienced players returning.”