KU's Azubuike Named 2019-20 NABC Defensive Player of the Year

Kansas' Udoka Azubuike (35) blocks a shot by Texas Tech's Chris Clarke (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Release) - A force inside on both ends of the floor, Kansas senior Udoka Azubuike has been named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Defensive Player of the Year, as the NABC announced its top Division I award winners Monday.

“I would like to thank God almighty,” Azubuike said. “My teammates and coaches have played a huge role in all the awards I receive. It is a humbling experience. The fans, everybody has played a huge role in me being where I am today. I want to thank the coaches for selecting me for this honor. There are a lot of great defensive players in basketball and to win this award is humbling.”

Azubuike, a senior 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 2020 All-Big 12 First Team selection who was named 2020 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).

A Consensus All-America Second Team selection, Azubuike came on strong toward the end of the season recording 12 of his 15 double-doubles in the final 17 games. He also averaged 5.8 blocked shots in his final 17 contests of 2019-20.

Kansas finished the season 28-3 and won its 19th Big 12 and NCAA record 62nd conference regular-season title winning an all-time high 17 league games going 17-1. The Jayhawks finished 2019-20 ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls.

Historically, NABC Defensive Player of the Year started in 1986-87 and Azubuike becomes the second Jayhawk to win the honor joining 2013 recipient Jeff Withey, who was a co-winner along with Victor Oladipo of Indiana.

Dayton’s Anthony Grant was the 2019-20 NABC Coach of the Year and Dayton’s Obi Topping the NABC Player of the Year. NABC Freshman of the Year went to Vernon Carey Jr. of Duke, and NABC Pete Newell Big Man of the Year Luka Garza of Iowa.