🏀 Azubuike and Dotson Named Semifinalists for Naismith Trophy
ATLANTA – Kansas senior Udoka Azubuike and sophomore Devon Dotson are two of 11 semifinalists for the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Men’s Player of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday.
Top-ranked Kansas is the only school with multiple players among the 11 semifinalists. The list will next be narrowed down to four finalists on March 17 and the winner will be named on April 5, 2020.
This marks the fourth-straight season a Kansas player has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy. In 2016-17, Frank Mason III won the honor and in 2017-18 Devonte’ Graham was one of four finalists for the award. Last season, KU’s Dedric Lawson was a semifinalist. Azubuike and Dotson are looking to become the third Jayhawk to win the Naismith Trophy joining Danny Manning in 1988 and Mason in 2017.
Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 75.1%. The Delta, Nigeria, center is the only player in the Big 12 averaging a double-double with 13.7 ppg and 10.4 rpg. He is averaging 17.8 ppg and 13.7 rpg in his last six outings with 17 blocked shots. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week (1/27, 2/10, 2/24), Azubuike also leads the Big 12 in double-doubles with 14 and is second in blocked shots at 2.6. A force in Big 12 play, Azubuike is the only player in the NCAA averaging a double-double (13.9 ppg, 11.6 rpg) and 3+ blocks (3.1 bpg) in conference games this season.
Azubuike recorded his 1,000th-career point on Feb. 24 vs. Oklahoma State. He is the sixth Jayhawk in KU history to post 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 150 blocks in a career.
A Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year finalist (1 of 5), Dotson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 18.2 points per game, which includes nine 20-point efforts this season, and steals at 2.1. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week (12/2, 12/16, 2/3), Dotson also leads the conference in free throws made with 138. The Charlotte, N.C., guard ranks among the Big 12 leaders in scoring, steals, free throws made, field goal percentage (second at 47.1), assists (fifth at 4.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth at 1.7).
Dotson is looking to become the fifth Jayhawk and the eighth underclassman to be the Big 12’s top scorer. Previous Naismith Trophy winners who were underclassmen and led the Big 12 in scoring were Kevin Durant of Texas in 2007 and Blake Griffin of Oklahoma in 2009.
2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Men’s Player of the Year Semifinalists
UDOKA AZUBUIKE, KANSAS
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke
DEVON DOTSON, KANSAS
Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
Luka Garza, Iowa
Markus Howard, Marquette
Myles Powell, Seton Hall
Payton Pritchard, Oregon
Jalen Smith, Maryland
Obi Toppin, Dayton