At the Nike Team Florida Workout over the weekend, Udoka Azubuike ranked among the most gifted and celebrated prospects in attendance. The 6-10, 255-pound junior center is a muscular, aggressive big man who seems to relish the idea of competing at the rim.
Azubuike doesn't mesmerize with his ball skills and definitely will need to hone his technique, but he warrants credit for competing all-out at a camp event where he easily could have coasted. He threw multitudes of dunks and consistently ran the floor to create his scoring opportunities.
A native of Nigeria, Azubuike didn't grow up with the same access or exposure to American college basketball. Nevertheless, he appears far more comfortable now than he did last spring with the recruiting process, media, his peers and everything else that defines the U.S. college hoops system.
At this early juncture, a handful of programs have jumped out to a quick start.
"Kansas, Kentucky, Florida State, LSU, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Wake Forest … those are some of my schools," Azubuike said. "I have offers from Florida State, Georgetown, Maryland and Wake Forest. It's too early (to name) favorites."
Azubuike understands that he's far from a complete package. While physically dominant now, others will close the gap on him in terms of strength and he must be prepared to incorporate greater polish.
"I've been working on my shot," Azubuike said. "With each day that goes by, I'm progressing."
However much he does ultimately evolve as a player, he'll always be a true center. He realizes that as well and therefore is prioritizing fit as a key factor as he journeys toward an eventual college decision.
"I want a school that uses their big men right," he said, "just a school that suits my style of play."
Azubuike ranks No. 14 overall in the Class of 2016 — and No. 2 at center — and will be a mainstay in our coverage going forward.