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Azubuike Named a Naismith Trophy Finalist

Date:

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

ATLANTA – Kansas senior center Udoka Azubuike has been named one of five finalists for the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding men’s college basketball player, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.

Azubuike is one of three senior finalists along with Myles Powell (Seton Hall) and Payton Pritchard (Oregon). Junior Luka Garza (Iowa) and sophomore Obi Toppin (Dayton) round out the Naismith Trophy finalists. Azubuike is vying to be the third player from Kansas to bring home the award, joining former Jayhawks’ winners Danny Manning (1988) and Frank Mason III (2017).

Azubuike, from Delta, Nigeria, led Division I in field goal percentage at 74.8%, which helped his career percentage of 74.4% break the all-time Division I field goal percentage record of UCF’s Tacko Fall (74.0%). Azubuike led the Big 12 in rebounding (10.5 rpg) and double-doubles (15) and was second in the conference for blocked shots at 2.6 per game. A unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection who was named Big 12 Player of the Year, Azubuike was the only player in the conference to average a double-double (13.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg).

Top-ranked Kansas went 17-1 in conference play, the most league wins in Big 12 history, and 28-3 overall.

By visiting naismithfanvote.com, from March 20-April 1, 2020, fans will be able to cast their ballot for their favorite finalist. Fans may also vote on the @NaismithTrophy Twitter page between March 25-April 1, to select one of the finalists. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall vote. The 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy is scheduled to be announced on April 1, 2020, and the winning player will be awarded with the Citizen Naismith Trophy. The award ceremony will be held on a later date.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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