Former Potter’s House star Udoka Azubuike a 1st-round pick in NBA draft

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2019, file photo, Kansas' Udoka Azubuike celebrates after making a basket during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against UNC Greensboro in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas finished the season No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll, receiving 63 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) (Charlie Riedel, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Former Potter’s House basketball player Udoka Azubuike joined a short list in area history when he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft on Wednesday night.

Azubuike, who played at Kansas, was the 27th overall pick by the Utah Jazz in the long-delayed draft. He becomes just the fourth player who graduated from a Jacksonville-area high school to be drafted in the first round.

As many talented players who have come through the area in basketball, area players even going in the draft has been erratic.

Azubuike joins Bishop Kenny’s Roger Strickland (No. 7 by the Lakers in 1963), Bolles’ Dee Brown (No. 19 by the Celtics in 1990) and Providence’s Grayson Allen (No. 21 by the Jazz in 2018) on a very short list of first-round NBA selections. Four others have been second-round selections including former Jackson and Florida State star James Collins (No. 36 in the second round to Sixers in 1997).

A bit out of the area, Glynn Academy’s Kwame Brown went No. 1 to Washington in 2001. Nassir Little, who spent two seasons at Oakleaf High before transferring to an Orlando-area school, was a first-round pick of Portland last year.

Azubuike, who was born in Nigeria, spent his high school years as a monster in a stacked Potter’s House lineup. The Lions played a national-heavy schedule during Azubuike’s career, going head to head against the likes of players like Joel Embiid (Gainesville The Rock), Providence’s Allen and others.

He was a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American and signed with Kansas. Azubuike tested the NBA draft waters in 2018 but wound up returning to school.

Azubuike wound up injuring his wrist as a junior and missed the bulk of the season after undergoing surgery. As a senior, he was better than ever. Azubuike averaged 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. His career field goal percentage (74.9%) is the highest in NCAA history.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.