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Is KU big man Udoka Azubuike nearing a decision?

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Kansas center Udoka Azubuike

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike by Nick Krug

It appears as if decision time may have arrived for Kansas center Udoka Azubuike.

Sources told the Journal-World on Wednesday that the KU big man could announce his decision about testing the NBA draft waters or returning to KU for his junior season by the end of the week, perhaps as soon as Thursday.

Thanks to a new rule put in place in 2016, underclassmen are now allowed to test their standing with NBA teams and still return to school if they do not like what they hear, provided they do not hire an agent.

The deadline to declare for early entry in this year's draft arrives Sunday. The date to for early entries to pull their name out of the draft is May 30. This year's NBA Draft will take place June 21 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The 7-foot, 280-pound center who started 34 of 39 games for Kansas this season has not appeared on any mock drafts throughout his time as a Jayhawk.

Azubuike, who missed time because of injuries during both his freshman and sophomore seasons at KU, averaged 13 points and seven rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game this season while leading the nation with a 77 percent field goal percentage.

Azubuike said at last week's team banquet that he hoped to make a decision in the next week or so.

“Yeah it is. It definitely is,” he said when asked if it was a tough decision. “Like I said, I spoke to my family about it and all that, and right now it's pretty much my decision. Probably the next couple of days or the next week, I'll make my decision about what I'm going to do.”

Graham, Svi pick agents

Former Kansas guards Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte' Graham have selected the agencies that will represent them throughout the upcoming NBA Draft process and the early part of the pro careers.

Graham, who leaves Kansas as one of the most beloved players of all-time and the reigning Big 12 player of the year, signed with CAA Sports, an agency that has a client list of more than 1,700 professional athletes, including some of the best NBA players in today's game.

Those players include: Former Jayhawk Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Karl-Anthony Towns, Paul George, Tony Parker and dozens more.

Mykhailiuk, who finished his career as the single-season record holder for 3-point makes, with 115 this season, and in fourth place on KU's all-time list with 237 threes, has signed with SIG Sports as his representation ahead of this summer's NBA Draft.

SIG also represents former Jayhawk Tarik Black, who boasts on the agency's web site that, “SIG is not just an agency, it’s a family. From Day 1, everyone in the agency has accepted me, not only as a client, but into the bond that they all share. I know I’m not supposed to be anywhere else or with anyone else. With this agency is where I belong. They’ve worked extremely hard and have been very professional in representing me. They are a major part of my success.”

Early entrees Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman, who announced earlier this month that they would forego the rest of their college eligibility, have yet to sign with agents.

Vick's mother, LaLa Vick, said she and her son were discussing his options Wednesday night. And Malik Newman's father, Horatio Webster, said his son could have his plans finalized by the end of the week.

ESPN updates rankings

The 2018 KU recruiting class features a trio of Top 25 prospects, according to ESPN.com's recruiting rankings, which were updated and released this week.

Five-star guard Quentin Grimes (No. 8) made the Top 10, while five-star point guard Devon Dotson (No. 22) and four-star center David McCormack (No. 25) both cracked the Top 25.

Earlier in the week, Rivals.com also released its updated player rankings, with Grimes, Dotson and McCormack ranking Nos. 8, 18 and 33.

That group puts KU's overall haul at No. 6 in ESPN's team standings, with Duke and Kentucky finishing 1-2 for the fifth consecutive year.

Comments

Eric Dawson 2 months ago

Point of information — the NCAA date by which a player must withdraw from the draft in order to retain eligibility is 10 days after the NBA Combine ends, which works out to May 30 this year. The June 11 last day to withdraw date noted in the article is 10 days before the draft is held, the date agreed upon in the NBA CBA.

Brian Leslie 2 months ago

Eric is correct. I believe that the later date would mainly affect foreign athletes.

Matt Tait 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I believe they pushed it back 10 days this year and moving forward. Here are the key dates as listed on NBA.com.

NBA Draft key dates 2018

NBA Draft key dates 2018 by Matt Tait

Phil Leister 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I get that maybe Dok needs to do his due diligence and test the waters. But if he's not in a Jayhawk uniform next year, it will be a shame. Because he will not be on an NBA court. His game is not NBA ready and players like him are few and far between in the NBA these days.

Gerry Butler 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I agree with you , Doke is not ready for the NBA at the present. -Thing is the NBA is moving away more from Doke's type, they are leaning in the direction of the more mobile 5 who can step out and space the floor hit the outside jumpers. - Have we seen Dokre even attempt any shot outside of 3 ft? - Don't get me wrong I'm all for Doke, but like myself have talked to several people who all agree unless he develops some kind of outside shot? - Plus on top of that at this point with the new more mobile 5 man the NBA 5's would eat Doke alive right now - -The thing is as bad as it sounds will Doke EVER be ready for the NBA with the way the NBA? - -I mean he has to develop some outside shot - - but if you look the basics of shooting the jumper the mechanics are pretty much the same as shooting the free throw and we all know how that's working out for him. - I hope he does well. - Having said all of this there will be some NBA team that could very easily take a gamble an draft Doke on his size alone. - then also he can still explore the over sea's route and make money too. we shall see, but he needs to come back for sure

Craig Carson 1 month, 4 weeks ago

with the DeSousa situation, which I firmly believe he should be held out until he is officially cleared AGAIN, Azibuike coming back seems vital. If he leaves, that leaves KU with just 2 true big men on the team... they have gotten away with playing 1 big these last few seasons by having great outside shooting, but that wont be a luxary next year so playing 1 big and 4 guards again isnt gonna work..if he were a 1st round pick then his choice would be obvious..his style of play is a throwback to old time big men....not too much space for that in todays finnesse NBA

Gerry Butler 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Agree. - -the thing is and it makes you wonder. - -Coach Self is recruiting Charles Bassey ranked # 5 in the nation for 2019, he visited him yesterday at his High School 6'10 player-- - makes you wonder - - is Coach Self recruiting him trying to see if he re-classifies maybe Coach already knows about Doke. - Another thing that has been brought out by some makes you wonder. - -When Coach Self was recruiting Silvio & McCormack - people say makes you wonder his sales pitch to them - almost bet he was telling them more then likely Doke was gonna be gone. - Otherwise the chances of you getting DeSousa and McCormack both to commit are pretty slim - not gonna see a lot of minutes if Doke comes back. - -Just makes a person wonder why is it Self is recruiting Bassey so hard - unless he is trying to see about re-classification - -Heard people say lots of Red flags about Bassy but they also said if Coach Self is recruiting him evidentally they are not worried. - We shall see

Craig Carson 1 month, 4 weeks ago

think Self is recruiting Bassey so hard because he knows Dedric and Dok (if he stays this season) are certainly gonna be gone at the end of next year..Dedric is a 1 year rental and I cant see Dok being a senior..combine that with not knowing if Silvio or McCormack are gonna stick around, though McCormack is likely a 2 year player at least..it todays college game, it seems the top coaches have to always recruit as if they will lose their entire team to early draft entry..I think Silvio and David would both see good minutes..especially with how Dok picks up fouls LOL

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I sincerely hope that Coach Self isn't thinking of getting commitments with the hope of having them reclassify. Look at how well this worked the first time PLUS this seems to be an underhanded method of recruiting.

We are already going after Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. McCormick isn't a one and done but Charles Basey could be a huge (literally and figuratively) difference maker.

As much as I follow NCAA basketball recruiting, this year, I'm more concerned that this incoming class could fracture. Vick still hasn't hired an agent (I know that he is 99.99% gone already) and we need a senior leader.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I'm curious as to which governing body clears De Sousa? Unless there is proof that he conspired with his guardians and parents than that should close any other investigations.

If you think the NCAA takes to long already to clear a player, I can't imagine how long it would take to be classified a second time. The NCAA is not in a good position here. They've already proved themselves incapable of keeping up with change.

Tony Bandle 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Dok test waters but stays, De Sousa suspended till second semester, Langford stays home and KU will be OK..

Craig Carson 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Id be perfectly ok with that scenerio..KU doesnt NEED Langford and nothing wrong with Dok getting feedback (even though its obvious what he needs to work on and he's not on anyones draft boards)..but Dok could help ease KU fans tensions about the DeSousa situation by just announcing his return immediately LOL

Jonathan Allison 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Will be interesting to see what Bill Self gets with the Langford scholarship if this comes true.

Pius Waldman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Langford more than likely will stay home. In front of a big crowd of Hoosier fans will be difficult to say KU. Having KU on his list is a matter of prestige.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Then why has he waited so long to make the decision? Indiana is still known as a Blue Blood program to the more knowledgeable fans. This should be a simple no-brainer for Langford.

BUT... He knows he will look that much better in a Jayhawk uniform.

Jim Stauffer 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I see absolutely no reason to hold DeSousa out unless there is someone from the NCAA advising so. That would indicate they have reason to believe there may be a problem. If they are not telling us to hold him out, play him and have the best unit we can muster.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 4 weeks ago

A big risk Jim but this would be the opportunity to bypass the NCAA one they are already well behind the curve. If it wasn't for published indictments, the NCAA would be about the current investigation.

But the NCAA has a long memory and there is certainly a lot at risk. I guess you have to decide if the risk is worth it or not.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I haven't seen any mock drafts where Dok goes in the 60 picks. Go and ask, see what people say, but I can't see how he'd get looked at. Best case scenarios he's in the D league. Obviously fans want him to stay, as do I, but I believe he should stay. Malik had to go (almost like Chalmers did) because he had such a fantastic March on a national stage and most likely his stock wouldn't be higher. But if Dok stays healthy and has a full season where he can flirt with averaging a double/double then he'd be a top 40 for sure next year

Jonathan Allison 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I agree and disagree.

I can't imagine NBA decision makers NOT taking a look at Udoka based on his size and athleticism and on his 77% field goal shooting. However, any GM who would draft Udoka would knowingly be taking a flyer on him because of his limited offensive skill set and other areas still needing development. The NBA still drafts on potential and they still like big bodied freakish athletes.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I agree... hence Diallo and Embiid. They were drafted on potential.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Do you see someone taking a shot and drafting him late or someone telling him that he has a great shot at being picked up in free agency?

Udoka needs to stay another year and frankly, he will make Kansas and himself a much better team/player next year.

I would love to be at some of those practices with Udoka and McCormick bouncing off each other.

Benjamin Clay Jones 1 month, 4 weeks ago

On SI's draft board, I think it was, Malik was listed as the 58th pick. He's declared already, of course, so he's definitely gone, but are you saying he couldn't have improved that position of 58 if he had come back for another year and dominated the league, much like Buddy Hield? The way he was playing at the end of the year, he might have averaged 20-plus for us next season, vaulting himself well into the first round.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Agreed- I think Malik could have stayed and did what Devonte did with Frank leaving...

Kerby Rice 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Agreed, thought Malik could have been a 18-20 ppg guy, Big 12 POY, preseason #1, and worked himself toward a fringe 1st round pick.

Benjamin Clay Jones 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"said her and her son were discussing..."? Her said what? Her said that her was discussing it with her son? Did her really say that?

Matt Tait 1 month, 4 weeks ago

To answer your question, her didn't... Mistakes happen. It's been fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Has there been any word on Brandon Williams, btw? With Langford potentially staying home, I know he's still uncommitted, right after he left AZ?

Richie Wilson 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I don't think there is any question out there that Desousa took payment or not, which makes him ineligible, and we need to rip that band aid off soon as possible.

Kurt Eskilson 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Did De Sousa take anything at all? … or was it all (if anything) in the guardian's hands? So no, there are questions.

Jonathan Allison 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I agree. I think that it's quite possible that the guardian (who presumably is working with several kids simultaneously) would be doing things and making decisions on his own, while basically acting as an advisor and intermediary between schools and basketball players. It's not hard at all to imagine a situation where somebody who knows somebody who works for Adidas or UA or Nike or whomever could approach him offering some money to get one of these kids to a certain school and he could take it without the kid ever knowing about it, because honestly these kids are most likely only concerned about playing basketball and about picking their school, not about who all their guardian is talking to, and how they can get paid for their commitment.

Jeff Foster 1 month, 4 weeks ago

But I wonder if a precedent has been set with the Cam Newton deal several years ago. Same situation I believe, a parent/guardian was said to have taken money but Cam never knew anything about it, and he was eligible to play. Anyone have thoughts on that, is it a similar situation? Other than the FBI thing.

Elliott Teters 1 month, 4 weeks ago

So, both DeSousa and his guardian are automatically liars because some lying, cheating representative of a shoe company says they are??? His word against two others does not sound like much proof to me. Unless the FBI and/or the NCAA develops proof, actual substantial proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the guardian took this money, I say DeSousa and KU get the benefit of the "innocent until proven otherwise" rule.

Marius Rowlanski 1 month, 3 weeks ago

DAMN! It's Silvio De Sousa AND Legerald Vick. Is it that hard?

Michael Maris 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I'm betting that Dok will be back in the Crimson & Blue (for the 2018 / 2019 season). If De Sousa isn't around, the Lawson brother's and McCormack will be able to handle the front court situation. If De Sousa is back, all that much better. Really loved the way that De Sousa matured (from the Big XII Tournament into the NCAA Tournament). So, I'm really excited for the 2018 / 2019 Jayhawk Basketball team's future.

Danny Hernandez 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Can't wait to see Dedric next year. I expect big things from him

Jeff Foster 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I like Dok, he's a good college player. But if he's not on anyone's draft board, we know his free throw shooting is awful, I think he'd get owned defensively in the Pros and he really only has a left or right running hook offensively, so I'm not sure he'd be very effective, certainly not as accurate, vs another 7ft 250lb+ NBA body. Plus, is he even physically capable of staying healthy and conditioned for the NBA schedule? He seems like a 15 minute/game guy to me.

I'm sure Self has given him feedback from NBA scouts/teams, not sure why you even test this year knowing what you have to do to try to get there next year. But hey, maybe someone's willing to pay him and let him develop. Self-ishly, I hope he's back next year. #seewhatididthere

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