KU center Azubuike ready for next step in stay-or-go decision
KU sophomore Udoka Azubuike may have made his first trip to workout with an NBA franchise at this time last week, but according to Kansas coach Bill Self, now that final exams have finished, Azubuike’s workout schedule may increase dramatically.
“The teams contact us. We’re the ones who are making the arrangements with the teams,” Self told the Journal-World when asked how Azubuike scheduled workouts with NBA clubs without the assistance of an agent. “And he’s had numerous opportunities to work out with other teams. But the reality of it is he’s handling it the right way. He wanted to get through finals.”
With a little over two weeks remaining before the May 30 deadline when Azubuike has to make a decision to stay in the draft or pull his name out and return to KU for his junior season, there is still plenty of time for the 7-foot center from Nigeria to get the information he needs.
But with the NBA combine scheduled this week — Wednesday through Sunday in Chicago — the window is slightly smaller than it may appear. The good news for Azubuike there is that multiple representatives from all 30 NBA franchises will attend that combine, giving Azubuike an opportunity to meet, talk with and work out for a bunch of teams in a short period of time.
“The combine’s the 16th so he may have time do another workout or two before the combine and maybe a couple after the combine,” Self said. “But he’ll have to make a decision relatively soon.”
That first workout, which came last Monday with the Los Angeles Lakers, in El Segundo, Calif., came at the perfect time for Azubuike — after classes had finished and before finals had begun.
“He really wanted to go to L.A. to work out, in large part because the timing was great,” said Self, who remains in constant contact with Azubuike, who was back in Lawrence over the weekend to celebrate KU’s graduation with his former teammates. “He wanted to go to a franchise and get a feel for how the workouts would go and what they’re looking for. And he’s done that now.”
Self said he did not have a feel for which way Azubuike was leaning, but added that he would continue to offer his assistance in whatever way he could.
“I do think it’s good he’s gathering information to make a decision and we all approve of how he’s going about it,” Self said.
Asked if he thought Azubuike might be able to get all of the information and feedback he needed at this week’s combine, therein allowing him to make a decision about his future well ahead of the May 30 deadline, Self said it was too early to tell simply because it’s impossible to predict how teams will react to what they see in Chicago.
“He could,” Self said. “But I don’t know. If there are some teams that may want to bring him in afterwards, too, then I would think that would be something he would be interested in doing.”
Azubuike will be joined at the combine by former KU teammates Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman and Billy Preston.
Most of the combine will be televised throughout the week on ESPN2 and can be streamed online with the WatchESPN app.