Azubuike named to Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Award watch list

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the second-straight season Kansas senior Udoka Azubuike has been named one of 20 watch list candidates to the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Center of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday.

This is the third preseason honor Azubuike has received this week. On Wednesday, the Delta, Nigeria, native was the coaches’ selection for Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and he was also named to the preseason all-conference team.

A two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Azubuike played in nine games in 2018-19 before an injury sidelined him for the season. The 7-foot-0, 270-pound, center averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 70.5 percent from the field last season.

As a sophomore in leading Kansas to the 2018 Final Four, Azubuike led the nation with a 77.0 field goal percentage, which set the KU and Big 12 single-season records and ranks second-best for a season in NCAA history. He averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 2017-18 while being named an All-Big 12 Third Team selection.

Azubuike is on pace to break the Kansas and Big 12 career field goal percentage records. He has posted a 74.4 field goal percentage in his three seasons at KU with the school record being set by Mark Randall (1987, 1989-91) who made 62.0 percent. The Big 12 mark is 63.5 percent set by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri from 2010-12.

Azubuike is one of two Big 12 student-athletes on the 2020 Kareen Abdul-Jabaar Award watch list, along with West Virginia’s Derek Culver.

New to the award this season is Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabaar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles on Friday, April 10, 2020, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five.

2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates (players listed alphabetically by school)*

Chase Jeter (Arizona)
Nico Carvacho (Colorado State)
Vernon Carey (Duke)
Kerry Blackshear (Florida)
Omer Yurtseven (Georgetown)
Luke Garza (Iowa)
Steven Enoch (Louisville)
James Wiseman (Memphis)
Jon Teske (Michigan)
Jeremiah Tillmon (Missouri)
Armando Bacot (North Carolina)
Nate Watson (Providence)
Matt Haarms (Purdue)
Nick Rakocevic (USC)
Neemias Queta (Utah St)
Isaiah Stewart (Washington)
Derek Culver (West Virginia)
Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky)
Nathan Knight (William and Mary)

*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2019-20 season*