The road to college basketball stardom wasn’t always an easy one for Udoka Azubuike – and that might be an understatement for a 20-year-old who has already been through more than some deal with in an entire lifetime.
After losing a parent at the age of 10 and then moving half-way around the world to pursue basketball at 13, Azubuike was forced to grow up in a hurry. Leaving behind a mother and four siblings to chase his dream took a lot of courage, but Azubuike saw basketball as a chance to make his family proud and give back to a mother who had become a tremendous source of strength throughout his childhood.
After honing his skills in Jacksonville and emerging as a 5-star recruit, Azubuike wound up committing to Kansas, but even then, he endured great adversity, as injuries wrecked havoc on his early career. And with injuries, of course, come doubters—those who wondered if he’d ever live up to his potential. A determined Udoka would use all of that as motivation to propel himself to one of the best seasons a Kansas center has ever enjoyed – production that made him the premier big man in America in 2020. So how did he do it? This is the story of how Azubuike overcame every obstacle to become the Big 12 Player of the Year, a 1st-team All-American and the NCAA career record holder in field goal percentage, all while silencing his critics along the way.