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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Azubuike scores 10 in Brand Classic

Team Doo Be Doo's Udoka Azubuike #00 in action against Team EZ Pass in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 22, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Team Doo Be Doo's Udoka Azubuike #00 in action against Team EZ Pass in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 22, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

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Future Kansas University power forward Udoka Azubuike, a 6-foot-11 senior from Potter’s House Christian in Jacksonville, Fla., scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in helping the East to a 131-117 victory over the West in Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic in New York.

Azubuike, who turns 17 on Sept. 17, thus must spend a minimum of two seasons at KU before being age-eligible for the NBA Draft, hit three of five shots and four of six free throws. Ranked No. 27 in the recruiting Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, Azubuike also had two blocks and a highlight-reel reverse dunk. Co-MVP’s De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, who both will attend Kentucky, had 23 and 22 points respectively.

Azubuike is looking forward to being a KU teammate of No. 1-rated Josh Jackson next season.

“I just found out from the Internet,” Azubuike told Zagsblog.com, referring to learning of Jackson’s commitment on Monday night. “I think my boy Mitch Lightfoot, he’s going to Kansas, he tagged me on Twitter about it. I just went on Twitter and I was like, ‘Oh wow, really?’ I was impressed.

“I didn’t jump up and down,” added Azubuike. “I was really excited about it because Josh is a good player. He’s a tough kid to play against. He’s a guy that demands a lot of attention from opposing teams. I just feel like he’s a really good fit for Kansas.”

Zagsblog lists Nigeria native Azubuike at 290 pounds. He told the website he wants to lose 20 pounds.

“When I spoke to (KU coach) Bill Self, (he said) I really have a good chance of coming in and starting right away as a freshman,” said Azubuike, who averaged 16.9 points and 9.7 rebounds his senior season at Potter’s House. He went for 17.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg his junior campaign. “He said my role is to dominate. Just work on my game and get better.”

The next Wiggins?: R.J. Barrett of Canada, who is being called the next Andrew Wiggins, scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds, garnering MVP honors Friday in the Jordan Brand Classic International Game.

Barrett is a 6-7 freshman from Montverde (Fla.) Academy. His dad, Rowan, is executive vice president and assistant general manager of Canada Basketball.

“He’s R.J. Barrett, he’s not Andrew Wiggins,” Roy Rana, the Canadian youth National team coach, told Zagsblog.com. “It’s like Kevin Pangos wasn’t Steve Nash. We often make those mistakes about trying to compare players at a young age. I think we’re doing a better job in Canada just letting them breathe and be who they are.”

Holden at South Carolina: Kory Holden, a 6-2, 180-pound point guard from Salisbury, Md., who has decided to leave Delaware after two seasons, is visiting South Carolina this weekend, cbssports.com reports. Holden, who averaged 17.7 points and 4.2 assists his sophomore season, will visit Seton Hall on Tuesday and Baylor on April 29. KU and Virginia Tech are the only other schools on his list. He must sit out a year at his new school and will be eligible to play two seasons starting in 2017-18.

Comments

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

Holden or Thornton would be nice to pick up with one of the last scholies.

Joe Ross 5 years, 7 months ago

I really like Holden, from what Im seeing on film. He gets his points playing inside the offensive flow, which is really what you need to do if youre gonna do well In Bill Self's style of offense.

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Holden would seem to be a good fit at KU. Udoka's weight? Needs to be lighter. Hudy and staff will have a plan. Love his attitude but I don't think he will start.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

Rivals list him at 260..I guess we will know for sure when he shows up on campus.

Jerry Walker 5 years, 7 months ago

Azubuike is just 16yo...are you kidding me?

Stu Libby 5 years, 7 months ago

This young man is really good. The combination of him and Jackson, to go along with our veteran backcourt, is going to be very exciting. Great article on SH about Josh Jackson's decision to go to KU. Def a recommended read: http://www.straighthoops.com/josh_jackson_to_kansas.html

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 7 months ago

16 years old 290 pounds!! Does he also want to play football? I bet Beaty's eyes swell when looking at the size and athletic ability the Basketball team signs.

Azubuike is not going to know what has hit him when he gets to boot camp. His entire body needs a make over. His entire game from foot work, positioning, shooting skills, passing, etc needs to be build from ground up. He's got a year, probably 2, maybe 3 and perhaps 4 years of hard work ahead of him if he wants to be a player, especially an NBA player. He reminds me of a bigger, slower version of Cam Ridley when he was a HS Senior at age 18.

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Nooooooo, memories of Zach and the concussions he suffered in HS football. Although one of my favorite, and largely forgotten players, in KU basketball also played football, both at WSU and KU. Clint Normore, transferred from WSU when they dropped football, Larry Brown talked him into walking on when injuries ravaged the 88 KU squad. His reward? Seven points, 4 assists and 1 rebound in the 1988 NCAA championship game. Not to bad, I think he also had an interception against ksu in football.

Tom Jones 5 years, 7 months ago

We'll be fortunate if he's still here by 2018-19.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't believe anyone with Azubuike's height has ever been successful in the NFL. Not a big deal - just an observation.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

16 years old and a 5 Star recruit. Cam Ridley was ranked #97. You're WAY off base here Suzi. I am led to believe you haven't seen a single video of him in action.

How did Cam do in the McDonald's All-American game or the Nike classic? Oh that's right... He was watching it on TV

Yonatan Negash 5 years, 7 months ago

Azubuike will be fine.

Wish fans would hold off on their pre-judgement until proven otherwise.

Too soon to be this critical of this kid. He hasn't even played one minute yet.

Personally, I've not see the kid play yet. But with good attitude and willingness to work hard I imagine he'll be alright.

Confident our coaching staff will figure out how to deal with his weight, play, development, strength, etc.

Glad he decided to play for us, the rest will come.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

Agree.. I think he will be a lot better than just fine. I'm sure he knows the work ethic expected of him at Kansas and still committed.

Bigger than Lucas and can play on both sides the court.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 7 months ago

His job on the court won't be the 100 yard dash. He will be the wall that our opponents will have to scale to get to the rim. Therefore the 290 doesn't bother me at all, Just change it to muscle.

The side benefit is that with "Azu" beating on him in every practice, Landen is going to get even tougher and stronger and conversely Landen will have the same effect on Azu.

Depending on who else we get, red shirting Mitch at some point makes sense to me. Landen, Azu, Carlton, Coleby...we've got a lot of big bodies as it is.

Danny Hernandez 5 years, 7 months ago

We will need bangers and 4's that can score keeping the post from being doubled. I don't want any team to ever "nova" us again! Mitch is a 4 as is Bragg & the others are more 5's so I don't see Mitch red shirting

Brian Wilson 5 years, 7 months ago

I know and agree that Az needs to improve in a lot of areas but I think the article is spot on. This kid is huge and sheds defenders like fleas. Bad footwork or not he uses his body well to get position and then he pushes and slams through for a dunk. And on defense he blocks shots and albeit slow he is hard to shoot over and around. If he loses 20lbs and gains some strength stamina and speed I think he will start over Lucas by year end easily. I don't think we will be looking for a lot of scoring from the Center position next year. The scoring to make up for the loss of Ellis and Selden will come from Jackson and Svi and whoever starts at PF which at this point appears to be Bragg. Plus unless we get another decent big player, Lucas may have to play both spots if Coleby ever gets hurt or someone is in foul trouble. Especially if everyone thinks Lightfoot red shirts. If we don't sign someone he might not be able to. So it will have to be really really bad play or the signing of Allen or Bolden or someone better to slow the opportunity. Welcome to the land of Az!

Jerry Walker 5 years, 7 months ago

"If he loses 20lbs and gains some strength stamina and speed I think he will start over Lucas by year end easily." -- Brian Wilson

Not hardly...this kid has a long way to go. He's a great looking prospect but so far he's only been bullying high school players.

Here's a reality check...picture in your mind Lucas or Coleby at this stage of their careers playing against high school teenagers...then see if you still think 'Buike will replace a 5th year senior.

Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

By the time November rolls around Lucas and Az might weigh nearly the same. Lucas was easily heaver than the 245 listed weight last year.

Joe Ross 5 years, 7 months ago

Youre right in saying that his competition level is less than what he will face in college. But I have a sneaking suspicion Bill Self will work his magic on another big. Udoka seems like the kind of kid that will pick these up quickly.

Brian Wilson 5 years, 7 months ago

Look, this is all we got right now::
Bragg, Coleby, Lightfoot
Lucas, Azubuike

We are replacing four experienced players:

Ellis 30.3 min
Diallo 7.5 min
Traylor 13.3 min
Mickelson 7.7 min
And Bragg 8.9 min and Lucas 18.6 min already play significant minutes.

So now we have replaced 4 players with just 3 players: One inexperienced freshman Azubiuke, a hopefully good transfer in Coleby, and a redshirt freshman in Lightfoot? Yet, no one expects Az to be any good and everyone thinks Lightfoot should redshirt. I don't think so.
What I am saying is, I'm not sure Lightfoot can redshirt. We need him to play because if one player gets hurt or gets in foul trouble we don't have a four man rotation without him.
Looking at last years playing time, with the current players we have signed, Az will get at least 10 minutes a game based on shear numbers in order to prepare to play in March. So, Azubuike is going to get a big dose of Hudy and be forced into a steep learning curve. With Azubuike getting that much opportunity, I think he will develop, and, I won't be surprised if he is starting come time to dance.

Otherwise, Bragg and Lucas plays 35 minutes a game or
We sign another big player that plays ahead of Az or
Bill Self plays small lineups, and IMO, if forced into a small lineups in March, we won't be going very far.

Joe Ross 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm already on record saying Lightfoot should not redshirt. Agree 100%.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

Mickelson and Diallo rarely played and even if I believe that to be a mistake, they hardly need replacing.

Robert Brock 5 years, 7 months ago

Azubuike is going to be Andrea Hudy's biggest challenge.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 7 months ago

To echo Dannys point I keep hearing Lightfoot needs to redshirt he is not a 5 ......Where are we short on players ................... THE 4.... so it is senseless to redshirt him .also from a numbers point we need to build a roster not deplete it .For what its worth Lightfoot was named player of the year in Arizona so he must be a halfway decent player until he gets to Lawrence lets assume that he can play and can help this team and end all the redshirt talk. Unless we recruit a couple 4 s that are better .....way better than Lightfoot I don't see the need to not let him suit up. He will have plenty of time to prove his worth come November

Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

Lightfoot is 6'8 220......... He must be a 3.....so insists one of the resident "experts"

Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

Are you Joe's caddie or just another user ID Joe uses? When someone says something as idiotic as that Eliis and Harrison Barnes are the same skill set and position, and defends it as vehemently as Joe did, it lives forever.

Next time you feel the need to lick up Joe's mess, you'll earn the name, Mini Joe.

Al Martin 5 years, 7 months ago

No, no, no! You make this mistake a lot. Elliot's post had nothing to do with defending Joe. Nobody, I mean, nobody, cares about that stupid topic. Elliott was merely pointing out, correctly, that you are a repetitive, infantile jackass.

Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

You too again Al? The same half wits always show up when Joe's foolishness is highlighted......

Would you like to help illustrate how Ellis and Barnes have the same skills and play the same position?

No? Then get lost..... Or are you saying that you're really cool because you like to insult someone you don't like... but it's unacceptable to dig Joe for his idiocy.... You're pretty much on Joe's level... Or are you Joe?

Joe Ross 5 years, 7 months ago

Evidently, this one's still breathing.

LOL!

Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

That kind of idiocy lives as long as the fool who spread it refuses to acknowledge it's folly. Longer if they keep pimping it...

Joe Ross 5 years, 7 months ago

By virtue of the inexperience that will be evident on next year's team due to departing seniors and early draft entries, it is important for the season upcoming to increase the number of bodies and for seasons after to gain experience. I wouldnt redshirt Lightfoot. We should go through the growing pains with him that we should have with Diallo.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 7 months ago

Man, if we had Diallo for the upcoming year, I'd feel much, much better in the rebounding, shot blocking, rim protector game. Ok, so his offense did not gel quickly in the minutes he got, he did go like a hawk after rebounds and scared off more than a few opponents driving. Oh well.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 7 months ago

As far as MUST NOT SEE T.V. The Jordan Brand game was unwatchable ......I understand it an allstar game .but no defense, air balls were at a premium basic fundamentals were absent It was more about showing the NBA scouts your ability or lack there of. The team concept was foreign to many of the players it was about trying to get your shots ...your touches. I attempted to watch to see AZ but after about the first 10 minutes I was done.... A OAD HOOPFEST is all it was ........And you wonder why the NBA is at times unwatchable ......unwatchable kids become unwatchable NBA PLAYERS .........

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 7 months ago

it interesting how the recruits are catergorized ......Lightfoot has been called a 5 .....a.......4.......and as Jay just said .....maybe a three......Lightfoot is 6 8......a 5, 4 or 3............Svi is 6 8......hes plays the 2 .........J.J. is 6 7......classified as a 3 or small 4........Diallo played the 5.....but would have been a better 4 because of his size.......Lightfoots skill set will most likely determine how he is used........if he is a good ballhandler and moves well without the ball he can be more of a wing .....remember he is only an inch taller than J.J...and Josh is a true wing.......But the notion of Lightfoot at the 5 .....not so much..........same with Allen not that he is coming here but i ve seen the same with ..a 5 in some publications a power 4 in others.......obviously he would best used at 4 here but depending on a matchup against a smaller quicker 5 he could be used........but its all null and void because hes will likely be a longhorn.

Dale Kroening 5 years, 7 months ago

From everything I've seen Lightfoot is more of a face up 4 and definitely not a 5 unless your playing with a small quick lineup ... He falls in the tweener category . Has decent handles , outside range , a quick first jump , and fairly athletic . If I had to compare him to a former KU player I'd say similar to Julian Wright . He's a better shooter than Wright , but not quite as athletic . He's going to have to put on some weight and muscle for sure , he's pretty skinny . He's listed as 6'8" 210 , but looking at him I think he's more like 195 to 200 . I think he's a RS candidate , but a lot can happen before the season . If he can improve his ball handling I could see him getting time at the 3 later in his KU career . He will also need to work on his release from his jump shot as its rather slow .

Tony Bandle 5 years, 7 months ago

As I've stated earlier, red shirt Mitch as a soph. Let him play as a frosh and see what he needs to work on. It worked for Releford although I think Releford played two years first.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 7 months ago

No because KU is going to be very inexperienced in 2017-18 and even without big minutes this upcoming year, Lightfoot will have the experience edge over incoming players and would likely be the top back up post that year.

Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

Idle minds.... That's being awfully polite..

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Lightfoot is probably not redshirting. I wonder besides idle minds, where these ideas come from. Lucas and AZ are 5's and maybe Colby will get some time there. No one else. We, KU, will be good next year.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 7 months ago

What is the NBA cutoff date for determining that a player has reached age 19 and thus eligible for the draft? If it is prior to Azubuike's September birth date, then wouldn't he have to stay at KU for three seasons? If the cutoff is after that birth date then it would be two years, as noted in the article.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 7 months ago

The decision on redshirting Lightfoot will be based upon what is best for him and the program. It has worked well in some previous cases, including the current situation with Landen. By being a fifth year senior, Landen is coming into his own and will give us needed experience in the paint.

If Udoka turns out to be a good backup for him at first and he shows the kind of development even approaching what Joel Embiid did, then Udoka could take over the starting role. Then you also have Carlton Bragg and Dwight Coleby who will bring additional experience.

Using this year as a barometer, Perry, Landen, Carlton, and Jamari got the vast majority of the playing time. Hunter and Cheick were the odd men out. Therefore, if KU has four bigs getting the bulk of the time (Landen, Carlton, Udoka, and Dwight), Lighfoot could possibly benefit from a redshirt. Of course, this would all change if Mitch can make more of an impact in practice than I am currently predicting. This also doesn't take into account any further recruiting that KU will likely be doing given the available scholarships.

Brian Wilson 5 years, 7 months ago

Spot on Harlan. What you say is correct. And, like my comments, it all depends on if we sign any other players. Right now we only have five big players and I don't see Lightfoot redshirting unless we sign one more big. Without Lightfoot, if we have one injury, or if we get into foul trouble, we won't have enough players to rotate. Last year we had 6 at the two positions with all of them getting significant minutes. Now everyone thinks we will play just four, Lucas only averaged 18 minutes a game, Bragg only 8, Coleby is a transfer, and Udoka is a freshman, and they think we the team is set and want to redshirt Lightfoot. I don't think so. Not unless we get another player.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 7 months ago

Just looking at the header photo... Team Doo Be Doo vs Team EZ Pass...

Who makes this stuff up?

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