Earlier this week, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said he expected senior center Udoka Azubuike to be the best big man in the country.
Evidently, Self's not alone.
For the second season in a row, Azubuike on Friday was named one of 20 watch list candidates for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
It marked the third preseason honor Azubuike received this week, with Azubuike being named both preseason first team all-Big 12 and Big 12 preseason Player of the Year.
A two-time Academic all-Big 12 honoree, Azubuike played in nine games in 2018-19 before an injury sidelined him for the season. The 7-foot, 270-pound, center averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 71% from the floor last season.
As a sophomore in 2017-18, Azubuike led the nation with a 77% shooting clip, which set the KU and Big 12 single season records and ranked as the second best single-season mark in NCAA history.
Azubuike is on pace to break the Kansas and Big 12 career field goal percentage records. He has posted a 74.4 field goal percentage in his three seasons at KU, with the school record being set by Mark Randall (1987, 1989-91), who made 62% of his field goal attempts. The Big 12 mark is 63.5% set by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri, from 2010-12.
2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Watch List
Chase Jeter (Arizona)
Nico Carvacho (Colorado State)
Vernon Carey (Duke)
Kerry Blackshear Jr. (Florida)
Omer Yurtseven (Georgetown)
Luke Garza (Iowa)
Udoka Azubuike (Kansas)
Steven Enoch (Louisville)
James Wiseman (Memphis)
Jon Teske (Michigan)
Jeremiah Tilmon (Missouri)
Armando Bacot (North Carolina)
Nate Watson (Providence)
Matt Haarms (Purdue)
Nick Rakocevic (USC)
Neemias Queta (Utah St)
Isaiah Stewart (Washington)
Derek Culver (West Virginia)
Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky)
Nathan Knight (William and Mary)
• Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2019-20 season