Azubuike named a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award candidate
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Kansas junior Udoka Azubuike has been named one of 20 candidates for 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday.
The Abdul-Jabbar rounds out the preseason Naismith Starting 5 awards recently announced by the Hall of Fame and Kansas has one student-athlete on four of the five honors lists. Other Jayhawks recognized on the lists include: Devon Dotson for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, Quentin Grimes for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and Dedric Lawson for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
Azubuike led the nation and broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season field goal percentage record at 77.0 percent in 2017-18. In fact, his 77.0 percent ranks second all-time on the NCAA single-season list. The Delta, Nigeria, center was an All-Big 12 Third Team selection who averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game as a sophomore in 2017-18. Azubuike was also honored by his work in the classroom, being named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team.
Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at UCLA from 1966-69. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-69). As a professional, Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star and the league’s all-time leading scorer.
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be awarded at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, April 12, 2019, along with the other four Naismith Starting 5 honors. Additional awards being presented and receiving support from Eaton Ephesus Lighting include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award. Broadcast information will be released by ESPN at a later date.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).
For more information and the latest updates on the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram.
2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates
Daniel Gafford, Arkansas
Austin Wiley, Auburn
James Thompson IV, Eastern Michigan
Jessie Govan, Georgetown
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga
Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon
UDOKA AZUBUIKE, KANSAS
Nick Richards, Kentucky
Cameron Krutwig, Loyola Chicago
Naz Reid, LSU
Jalen Smith, Maryland
Dewan Hernandez, Miami
Nick Ward, Michigan State
Jontay Porter, Missouri
Bol Bol, Oregon
Moses Brown, UCLA
James Dickey, UNC Greensboro
Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky
Nathan Knight, William & Mary
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2018-19 season*
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