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Kansas gets center Udoka Azubuike back from NBA draft

Seton Hall v Kansas

WICHITA, KS - MARCH 17: Udoka Azubuike #35 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts as they take on the Seton Hall Pirates in the first half during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at INTRUST Bank Arena on March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Kansas announced on Wednesday that starting center Udoka Azubuike will be withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to school for his junior season.

“I received good feedback from many sources around the NBA over the last month but in the end, after discussing with my family and coaches, we decided it would be in my best interest to return to Kansas for my junior year,” said Azubuike. “I want to thank the people in the NBA who gave me this opportunity. I believe it was an important step as I chase my dream to play basketball at the highest level. I’m looking forward to next season and can’t wait to get to work with my teammates. Rock Chalk!”

Azubuike is a 7-foot center that averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 boards as a sophomore, but in an era where versatility and stretchability is becoming more and more coveted out of front court pieces, Azubuike is a paint-locked big that was a liability at the foul line, let alone from beyond the arc.

Back at Kansas, however, he bolsters a loaded front line for a team that currently holds the No. 1 ranking in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

“We’re all very excited about Udoka making the decision to return for his junior year,” said head coach Bill Self. “We supported him declaring and investigating, which I think was a smart move. It was certainly a move that was handled exactly as the rule was intended. He wanted to find out more information on what the NBA franchises thought of him and he was able to accomplish that in many ways. The feedback that he got and that we received was that he’s definitely improved and NBA personnel think very favorably of him. He certainly performed well at the Combine, but the information he received led him to the decision to return to school.”