Yesterday we wrote about Joel Embiid, and today it is another hulk of a man. Udoka Azubuike measured at 6-11.5, 267 lbs, and a 7-5 wingspan in 2015. Given that he was still 16, he has undoubtedly grown both up and out. Azubuike, though, has shed the baby weight after working with Andrea Hudy, which could also shed one of the big concerns about his impact this year: whether he could get up and down the floor quickly enough.
His highlight reels and youtube clips are impressive. Azubuike frequently catches and dunks on, over, or through anyone unlucky enough to get in his way. He's shown the ability to hit a jump hook as well, but it is pretty obvious what his go to move is:
That said, he was stymied a bit in the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit, although it is worth noting he was a late addition to the international roster and was 2 years younger than the players he was playing against.
Azubuike has plenty of potential, and if we were ranking the roster based on potential he would be much higher. As it is, I don’t know how much he will play this year. His footwork isn’t very good yet and he hasn’t had to do much offensively other than catch and dunk, and hasn’t had to do much defensively other than stand there and block shots.
Bill Self might be able to carve out some minutes for Azubuike in the early going and against bad teams by just parking him down low in the high low and letting him catch and dunk, and given that he just started playing basketball in ninth grade it would be silly to rule out him rapidly improving as he picks up more and more stuff, but given that he will be ineligible for the 2017 draft due to his age, I think Azubuike is more of a guy to get excited for for next year.