Imposing Azubuike excited to have UK basketball offer – The Courier-Journal

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The University of Kentucky joined the recruiting fray early this week for five-star Class of 2016 center Udoka Azubuike, a Nigerian native who has become one of high school basketball’s most physically imposing players in just two years in the United States.

Azubuike, ranked No. 6 in his class by ESPN.com, received scholarship offers from powerhouses UK, Duke and Kansas in the first days recruiters could begin contacting juniors-to-be with phone calls and text messages.

He’s one of just a handful of 2016 players with a UK offer.

“It was nice getting an offer from Kentucky because not every player has the opportunity to get an offer from Kentucky,” Azubuike said Thursday at the NBPA Top 100 camp. “It’s a pretty good school. The program is good. I was excited.

“… Kentucky, they had like a lot of big centers who are in the league right now.”

At 6 feet 11 and 258 pounds with a 7-8 wingspan, he’s a load who aggressively attacks the rim and tries to dunk with authority.

It’s been two years of serious growth for Azubuike, who attends The Potter’s House Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. He came to the United States having never played organized basketball and weighing about 190 pounds.

In his introduction to American ball, Azubuike said his team faced multiple opponents with physical big men who tried to push him around. It helped him develop his own aggressive style, and he even though he’s never lifted weights, he’s grown two inches and added 70 pounds since his arrival.

Now, at just 15 years old, he’s the one doing the pushing around.

“As I grew bigger, I started to learn how to use my body,” he said.

Azubuike, who is not related to former UK player Kelenna Azubuike, has watched college basketball since he’s come to the United States and is familiar with many of its best teams. He is still learning more about those teams’ styles of play.

“I like a system that will pass me the ball in the post, give it to the post players,” he said. “I don’t want to go to a school that don’t think about its bigs.”

Steve Jones can be reached at (502) 582-7176 and followed on Twitter at @SteveJones_CJ.

Imposing Azubuike excited to have UK basketball offer – The Courier-Journal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *