At the moment, at least 11 schools are in the hunt for the 6-10 and 280 pound high school center Udoka Azubuike from Jacksonville, Florida and the Maryland Terrapins are one of them. Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon has shown a history over the last couple of years of trying to get as many big men as he can in the paint and the 2015-2016 Terrapins roster in the front court is exhibit A for that.
Azubuike's 6-10 and 280 pound frame is very imposing on paper and apparent on film. He could be the best center coming out of high school in the 2016 recruiting class and make no mistake about it. Azubuike has footwork inside the paint that some NBA centers are still learning.
In the paint, Azubuike is a natural, boxing out with his strength, posting up defenders with a nice quick spin move to his left for an easy layup or dunk leaving defenders helpless. His presence in the paint with the skills he has learned will create problems for any front court at the college level.
Offensively, Azubuike has already developed a baby jump hook, by posting up and spinning to his right. He uses his weight as leverage against defenders constantly hoping to get them in foul trouble.
To be quite honest, Azubuike's game looks similar to NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal and that isn't a comparison that should be thrown around lightly. The comparison comes into play just by the way Azubuike attracts defenders with rare size and quickness. Azubuike just has a trait that seems to be rare in many of today's big men, which is being able to finish with authority.
Whether there are three defenders around him or grabbing an offensive rebound, Azubuike isn't afraid of contact and just slams home a dunk without a care in the world. On film, defenders make business decisions by moving out of the way when Azubuike is in position for a dunk.
Once Azubuike creates contact with a defender underneath the basket, there is little to nothing most defenders can do about it. He also shows great hands as well catching the ball in traffic, which doesn't doesn't disrupt his technique.
One of, if the most impressive thing about Azubuike is his ability to run the floor. Anytime a center runs the floor on offense, it is just an unwritten rule that the center must be rewarded with a scoring opportunity. Centers who can run the floor on offense creates so many more opportunities that the opposing defense on a fast break can't handle too often.
On defense, Azubuike has shown to be a pretty good shot blocker. When a guard for example is running along baseline, Azubuike uses his size to create an awkward shot for the guard which results into an easy block.
However, Azubuike has shown a little that he can be beat against smaller, quicker centers on defense if he is forced to step out near the perimeter.
With his talent, Azubuike has a great opportunity to improve his game with the Terrapins. On a couple of notes, the Terrapins coaching staff recently developed Phoenix Suns center Alex Len into the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Terrapins also recently acquired highly touted center Diamond Stone earlier this year.
Around the country, people are noticing that the Terrapins are building a reputation for creating quality players in the front court. Combine that with the fact that the Terrapins have a quality point guard in Anthony Cowan ready to go in the 2016-2017 season, Cowan would create more opportunities offensively for Azubuike if the talented center decides to join the Terps.