Illinois, Kentucky In The Mix
Tulsa Victory Christian begins its run at the state championship Friday night. "We're 13-8," head coach Joe Mercier said. "We play all the 5 and 6A schools here in Tulsa. It's kind of rugged during the season but when we get to the playoffs we play all the 4A schools."
This is the sixth year in a row VC has qualified for the state playoffs. Kelenna Azubuike is dangerously close to breaking the state scoring record. He has 789 points on the year and needs 285 to reach the milestone. If VC wins the state title, that means he'd have to average 40 a night in the playoffs.
"He's averaging right at 40 points a game and we are seeing every defense you can possibly see," Mercier said. "It's interesting to try to get through that as a coach."
Azubuike's impressive run was at its height a few weeks ago when he went on a binge scoring 53, 51, 60 and 52 points in successive games. He has 3,303 career points.
Last fall, Azubuike committed to Oklahoma, but the Sooners aren't in his future. "It's Illinois and Kentucky," Mercier said. "Kentucky has not offered but Illinois certainly has got a scholarship. Bill Self's been here and Norm Roberts, one of his assistants, was here Wednesday. I would say at this juncture that if he had to sign today, he'd sign with Illinois."
Four years ago, Azubuike set a goal with his coach and that goal could preclude him from attending college. "He set a goal as a freshman with me that he wanted to go to the NBA out of high school. If circumstances evolve and that doesn't happen then he goes to college, works hard and that chance comes again.
"I think he's going to sign a college scholarship. He's not going to declare unless he knows he's going to go in the first round."
Mercier said scouts from the Hornets, Magic, Timberwolves and Bulls have seen him play. The coach says the player has a good head on his shoulders and will make the right decision. "If he can't get a good spot (in the draft), he's going to go to college until he can get drafted."
Sounds like there are plenty of decisions on the horizon for Azubuike.