University of Kansas

KU’s Bill Self signs first 7-footer since Joel Embiid

Udoka Azubuike at the Jordan Brand Classic last month in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Udoka Azubuike at the Jordan Brand Classic last month in Brooklyn, N.Y. Associated Press

The Kansas men’s basketball team has officially added a 7-footer to its frontcourt.

Udoka Azubuike, who orally committed to KU on Jan. 28, signed this week and was announced to the Jayhawks roster by coach Bill Self on Friday.

Azubuike, who is 6-foot-11 on most of his bios, will be listed on KU’s roster at 7 feet and 275 pounds. The Jayhawks’ last 7-footer was Joel Embiid in 2013-14.

“We feel Udoka is as good as a big-man prospect as there is in the country,” Self said. “He’s got size, strength, explosiveness and is so young. Being only 16 years old, his best ball is well ahead of him.”

Azubuike (pronounced As-a-boo-key) will have to attend KU at least two seasons because of the NBA’s minimum age rule. A McDonald’s All-America selection, Azubuike was ranked 27th in his class by Rivals.com. Last season, he averaged 16.9 points and 9.7 rebounds for Potter’s House Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla.

Self describes Azubuike, who is originally from Nigeria, as “an impact guy right off the bat with a high ceiling.”

“Being in the United States for a short period, we have seen so much development in his comfort level,” Self said, “not only with us but with the surroundings and everything that goes along with basketball in the States.”

Azubuike is KU’s third commit in the class. He joins top-ranked guard Josh Jackson, who signed Tuesday, and forward Mitch Lightfoot, who completed his letter of intent in November.

Josh Jackson, one of the top 2016 players in the country, worked out in California. The workout was conducted by Jeremy Russotti of Green Room Training (www.greenroomtraining.net). Video courtesy Prolificprep.org.

In this December 2014 video, from ProlificPrep.com, California high school basketball player Josh Jackson shows off his dunk skills. Video is courtesy of ProlificPrep.org.

Self might not be done recruiting. KU still has two scholarships available, and that will become three if forward Cheick Diallo remains in the NBA draft, as expected.

Duke transfer Derryck Thornton visited Lawrence this week, with KU listed as one of his four finalists. The Jayhawks also are still recruiting freshman forward Jarrett Allen (ranked 20th by Rivals) and could sift through potential transfer options depending on what those two players decide.

Jesse Newell: @jessenewell

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