Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Draft day finally here for former Jayhawks Udoka Azubuike, Devon Dotson

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) delivers a dunk after a lob from Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) delivers a dunk after a lob from Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Wednesday night, nearly five full months after they were expecting to know, former Kansas basketball All-Americans Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson finally will find out where their NBA careers will begin.

It’s draft day in the NBA.

Five weeks after the pandemic-altered 2019-20 season ended with a Los Angeles Lakers championship, and five weeks before another season begins, 60 prospects will hear their names called by NBA officials in a virtual setting starting at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

According to every major draft site out there, Azubuike and Dotson are expected to be among them. And Kansas coach Bill Self believes that the extra time between the end of their college careers and the NBA draft has served the two well.

“I think the testing has to have teams excited about both of them, at least a little bit more than they were before,” Self said.


Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) roars after a lob to Kansas forward David McCormack (33) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The KU coach noted Azubuike’s recent 37-inch vertical jump, which was the highest by a center ever measured at the pre-draft combine, and Dotson’s three-quarter court sprint time that was the second fastest of the past decade.

“That's got to tell people that he's got a gear that most guys can't get to,” Self said of Dotson, who will watch the draft with friends and family in Charlotte, N.C. “And we've been telling everybody forever that Dok’s as athletic as anybody we've had here period. And I don't think people ever bought into it.”

“I don't think that gets them drafted necessarily a lot higher,” Self added. “But I do think it makes them more attractive. (If a team has it) down to one or two guys, they may go with that athletic ability. So I'm excited for both of them. I think they both help themselves during this COVID time.”

Draft analysts have called the 2020 draft as unpredictable and uncertain as any in recent memory. And while that reality is most notable at the top and throughout the first 14 picks that make up the draft lottery, it extends all the way through the first round and into the second, where the two former KU stars are expected to land.

Regardless of where the two Jayhawks are selected, Self said their chances at NBA success will come down to how well they fit the situation and how willing they are to accept roles that are vastly different from the ones they played at KU.

“Being very realistic, if they could both be backups, that would be an unbelievable role for both of them going into a rookie campaign,” Self said. “They're going to have to learn to play with others and make others better and (blend) in and those sorts of things.”

No Jayhawks were drafted in last year’s NBA draft, ending a 10-year streak of at least one KU player hearing his name called in the two-round draft.


Kansas center Udoka Azubuike flexes after a dunk against Baylor during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin)

Throughout his time at Kansas, Self has produced 11 lottery picks, including a stretch of eight in a five-year span from 2010-14. In all, 25 Jayhawks who played under Self have been drafted in the past 16 years.

Here's a quick peek at where the two former Jayhawks were projected to go from the latest batch of mock drafts:

The Athletic

Azubuike: No. 43 to Sacramento

Dotson: No. 33 to Minnesota

Azubuike: No. 41 to San Antonio

Dotson: No. 44 to Chicago

Yahoo Sports

Azubuike: No. 37 to Washington

Dotson: No. 33 to Minnesota

CBS Sports

Azubuike: No. 45 to Orlando

Dotson: No. 54 to Indiana

Azubuike: No. 43 to Sacramento

Dotson: No. 35 to Sacramento

Azubuike: No. 47 to Boston

Dotson: No. 44 to Chicago

More coverage Wednesday:

Follow along with Matt Tait's draft day news and nuggets throughout the day Wednesday by checking out the latest "Tale of the Tait" blog.


Len Shaffer 11 months, 1 week ago

I can understand why Dok would go in the second round, because he's more of a traditional type of center, but I can't understand why Devon wouldn't be a first-rounder. With his speed and ability to run an offense, why wouldn't a team trust him enough to take him earlier? And how could someone actually have him listed as 54th???

Shannon Gustafson 11 months, 1 week ago

Clearly you're alone in your assessment of Devon being a 1st rounder.

He's an undersized guard with a poor jumpshot and limited passing ability. So his size and skillset lock him in to playing the PG position but he's not great at being a true PG (with great passing skills).

His only "elite" skill is his speed allowing him to get past his man. His size will make it hard to finish at the rim in the NBA (see: Frank Mason). His slow shot and low release will limit his ability to get shots off in the NBA.

It's unfortunate that he didn't come back for another year to work on his jumper but I'm sure he's happy to end up in Chicago and I'm sure Garrett is happy to get a chance to play PG.

Tony Bandle 11 months, 1 week ago

I had to read the part about his vertical leap three times!!....37 INCHES!!!!

For a guy with that kind of body build it would be like having a battleship that can go the speed of a PT Boat!!!

Surely, as the WWF style of physical play in the NBA dominates, someone will see him as a real asset.

PS. Scott..yes....anybody but Sacramento!!

Brian Hosfelt 11 months, 1 week ago

Reading all the draft polls from several sources I just can’t believe all the guards being taken before Dotson...just don’t get it

Joshua Tate 11 months, 1 week ago

Perhaps concerns about his 3 point shot, which dipped considerably percentage-wise his sophomore year, and his height? Seems like the NBA is now the 3BA with preference given to those who can shoot from distance.....

Still think he's worth better than a second round pick.....

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