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Kansas C Azubuike returning for senior year

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike will return for senior season rather than entering the 2019 NBA Draft, the school announced Monday.

“We’re all very excited about Udoka making the decision not to enter the (NBA) draft,” head coach Bill Self said in a statement. “Unfortunately for him, injury is the reason as he still cannot participate what would be the NBA combine or workouts for the NBA teams. We really anticipated that this would be the year he would enter the draft but that was also based on him having an injury-free year.”

Azubuike’s season ended after nine games due to torn ligaments in his right hand, which required surgery in January. He had also missed four games earlier in the season due to an ankle injury.

The 7-foot-0, 270-pound native of Nigeria averaged 13.4 points on 70.5 percent shooting, plus 6.8 rebounds per game in his truncated junior season. In 56 games over three seasons, Azubuike has averaged 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 74.4 percent from the floor.

The Kansas record for career field-goal percentage is 62.0 (Mark Randall, 1986-91).

“Udoka knows that he still has some unfinished work left in college,” Self said. “… I am sad he got hurt but happy for our program because if things fall the way that we think they could potentially fall, this is a big piece to anchor what could be a real fun year next season.”

The Jayhawks’ run of 14 consecutive years with at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship ended in 2019. They finished 26-10 — only the second campaign with double-digit losses in 16 years under Self — after losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Auburn.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)