Azubuike, Dotson named Naismith Trophy semifinalists


Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) and Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) have a quick meeting on the court after a timeout during the second half, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) and Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) have a quick meeting on the court after a timeout during the second half, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Two Kansas Jayhawks have landed on the 10-man semifinalist list for the Naismith Trophy, given annually to the best individual player in college basketball.

Senior center Udoka Azubuike and sophomore point guard Devon Dotson both were on the updated list released on Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Joining them were players from eight other programs and six other conferences around the country — Duke’s Vernon Carey, Marquette’s Markus Howard, Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, San Diego State’s Malachi Flynn, Dayton’s Obi Toppin, Iowa’s Luka Garza, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell and Maryland’s Jalen Smith.

Candidates for All-American and all-Big 12 honors, Azubuike and Dotson have led the Jayhawks to the No. 1 ranking, a 27-3 record and a 16-1 mark in the Big 12 Conference with one game to play in the regular season.

On Wednesday night, in a 75-66 win over TCU at Allen Fieldhouse, the duo combined for 49 points to help Kansas clinch at least a share of this season’s Big 12 title.

It came as sweet redemption for the two players who were a part of last year’s squad that fell short of that goal, therein snapping KU’s NCAA-record streak of 14 consecutive conference titles.

Dotson currently leads the Big 12 in scoring at 18 points a game and ranks among the team leaders in several other categories, including assists, steals and free throw shooting.

Azubuike, who scored a career-high 31 points on Wednesday night, leads the Big 12 with 14 double-doubles and is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds on the season, while shooting an NCAA-best 75.1% from the floor.

This list will be pared down to four finalists on March 17 and from March 20 through April 1 fans will be able to vote for the winner by visiting to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for 5% of the overall vote and the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy will be presented to the winner on April 5 during Final Four weekend in Atlanta.


Joe Joseph 1 month ago

Any chance Dok and Dot split the votes in the Big XII and someone else wins Big XII POY?

That'd be sad.

Jeff Coffman 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I think Dotson was aligned to win or be right there. Unfortunately/fortunately, Dok is putting on a clinic recently that has him siphoning off a few of the votes. Hopefully he is taking the votes from the big men and not from his teammate.

A good way to end up in the rafters is to get NPOY.

Kit Duncan 4 weeks, 1 day ago

"According to the Kansas Men's Basketball Media guide: The original criteria for a retired jersey included KU players named college basketball player of the year, most valuable player of the NCAA Tournament or being named a four-time All-American.

The list was expanded in 1997 to include Ray Evans, who holds the distinction of being an All-American in both football and basketball.

The criteria was expanded prior to the 2002-03 season to include consensus first-team All-Americans, two-time first-team All-America selections and Academic All-American of the Year.

In 2006 legendary KU radio man Max Falkenstien was added to the rafters to recognize his 60 years of brodcasting KU athletics.

Having said all that, here is a Feb 2009 quote from Coach Self: "There is really not a criteria other than the greatest players that play here deserve to be considered for that." "

I think there's a good chance, if Self is still around a few years from now, that Azubuike and Dotson will both see their jerseys raised to the rafters. Add Garrett's to that, also.

Dirk Medema 4 weeks, 1 day ago

So how do they/this team compare to Cole & Collins? Taylor & TRob? Hinrich and Collison?

Dirk Medema 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Isn’t a semifinal when there are 4 teams remaining? Wouldn’t this be the elite eight or quarterfinals?

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