University of Kansas

KU notebook: Freshman center Udoka Azubuike has screws removed from hand

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (left) saw his freshman season cut short by injury.
Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (left) saw his freshman season cut short by injury. rsugg@kcstar.com

Kansas freshman center Udoka Azubuike, who had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist Jan. 4, had screws surgically removed from his hand on Tuesday.

KU coach Bill Self said the procedure went well and that the 7-foot Nigeria native would resume rehab activity in about two weeks. Azubuike will be able to participate in contact drills and scrimmages in June, Self indicated.

Azubuike averaged 5.0 points and 4.4 rebounds while logging 12.9 minutes a game in 11 games this season. He started his final six games for the Jayhawks.

Offer made to Allen

Brewster Academy senior combo guard Thomas Allen has received a scholarship offer from Kansas, he reported this week on Twitter.

The 6-foot-1 Allen, who was released from his basketball letter of intent at North Carolina State last week, has also heard from Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, Auburn, Tennessee, Providence, Butler, Xavier and Nebraska among others.

“Blessed to receive an offer from the University of Kansas! #Rockchalk,” Allen wrote on social media.

Allen, who is ranked No. 149 in the recruiting class of 2017 by Rivals.com, told Jayhawkslant.com he’s planning on visiting KU in the near future.

The Raleigh, N.C. native, who spent his senior year at the Wolfeboro, N.H., school, scored 19 points in Brewster’s 72-71 victory over Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) High in last week’s national prep championship final. Earlier in the season, Allen scored 50 points on 18-of-23 shooting (11 of 16 on three-pointers) in a win over Maine’s Bridgton Academy.

Allen is a friend of KU guard Devonté Graham; both came up through the Garner (N.C.) Road grassroots hoops program.

ESPN.com’s scouting report on Allen says: “Allen is a skilled, scoring combo guard who shoots it well from the three-point line and has the weapons to create his own shot in the mid-range area as well but is undersized and in need of building up his body.”

Under strengths and weaknesses, the website wrote: “He has plenty of mid-range tools to compliment his three-point range including pull-ups, stepbacks and the occasional 2-foot floater. He’s an adequate ballhandler who zips his passes around the perimeter and is capable of playing both on and off the ball.

“He’s a little undersized for a player who is more shooting guard than point guard. He tends to play with the mindset of a scorer, not a distributor, and doesn’t yet make those around him better on a consistent basis. Physically, he has a naturally slighter build to his frame and so it remains to be seen what level of contact he’ll be capable of playing through at the next level.”

Allen is a Brewster teammate of Makia Ashton-Langford, a 6-2 senior point guard, who Friday asked out of his letter-of-intent with Connecticut. He initially chose UConn over Louisville and Providence.

ESPN.com’s Adam Finkelstein speculates, “with schools like Duke, Kansas, Syracuse, Georgetown, N.C. State, and others all still in the market for an immediate impact point guard, he’s likely to have a wealth of options in the coming weeks.”

Ashton-Langford scored 15 points and dished out seven assists in the prep tourney championship game.

KU coaches are expected to attend an open workout event at Brewster Academy either Thursday or Friday.

Early polls recognize KU

Several websites have issued their first preseason polls of the 2017-18 college hoops season.

CBSsports.com ranks KU No. 1, followed by Arizona, North Carolina, Louisville and Wichita State. ESPN.com has KU No. 9. Kentucky is No. 1, followed by defending national champ North Carolina, Louisville, Villanova, Florida, Wichita State, Duke and West Virginia.

USA Today has KU at No. 5 behind No. 1 Arizona, Duke, Kentucky and Florida. NBCsports.com ranks KU No. 4 behind No. 1 Louisville, Duke and North Carolina. Sports Illustrated has KU No. 11. Arizona is No. 1 followed by Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Villanova, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Michigan State, Wichita State and Minnesota.

Bracketology

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects KU to be a No. 1 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional, which starts with games in Wichita and feeds into Omaha, Neb.

He has KU playing the winner of a play-in game between Lamar and Idaho in the first round with a potential second-round matchup against USC or Wisconsin. Duke is the projected No. 2 seed in the regional. The other No. 1s: Arizona, Louisville and Florida.

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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