Friday, January 15, 2016

Azubuike To Decide Between FSU, Kansas and UNC, West Oaks Backcourt Continues To Thrive

One of the biggest decisions Udoka Azubuike ever made in his young life occurred at age 14.

It was then that Azubuike, a 6-foot-11 240-pound behemoth known for monstrous finishes and putbacks, decided to bid adieu to soccer and focus strictly on basketball.

"My ninth grade year I was probably the biggest amongst my peers, my age group. Pretty much everyone wanted me to play basketball," said Azubuike, now a senior at Potter's House Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla.

"I just wasn't that interested (in basketball) before that. I started playing and I just loved it."

Leaving soccer for basketball ultimately wasn't too tough a decision for Azubuike.

Just a few years later, the decision has paid considerable, future-dictating dividends.

The Class of 2016 recruit's hyper-competitive drive now renders him one of the nation's most hotly-pursued unsigned true bigs.

 Azubuike recalls countless people encouraging him to play basketball year round, which eased any pressure surrounding his decision to switch sports.

Choosing between Florida State, UNC, and Kansas--as the big fella will do this weekend--will likely be more difficult.

Azubuike explained that "you can't go wrong" with any of the final three potential destinations.

Florida State is only two and a half hours from his Jacksonville home.

The beast amongst boys appears sold on the young and promising youth movement at Florida State, mentioning Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley.

At the same token, Azubuike explained that North Carolina coach Roy Williams has done a commendable job recruiting him.

He loves the tradition-rich basketball culture circling Bill Self and Kansas.

And then there was three...

So, which factors will play into Azubuike's concrete decision?

"It's got to be based on relationship (with the coach), big man style of play," Azubuike indicated.

Azubuike scored 10 points and registered his presence with a wild stickback dunk in the first quarter, albeit Potter's House Christian fell 62-48 to defending champ West Oaks Academy in Orlando on Thursday.

West Oaks, hell-bent on staking its claim as the top dogs of Florida's highly-competitive Prep scene, was propelled by interchangeable senior guards Andres Feliz (18 points) and Richardson Maitre (22 points).

Feliz, a bullish 6-foot-2 guard headed to South Florida, has thrived.

The hard-driving senior poured in 41 points, doled out six assists, added four steals and four boards in a recent 81-42 drubbing of Calusa Prep (Miami).

Laced with crafty and deceptive finishes in his toolbox, Feliz averaged 18.9 points, five boards, and 3.7 assists for Dominican Republic in the U19 FIBA world championships last summer.

Maitre has received interest from programs such as Rutgers and Ole Miss since de-committing from Cleveland State in the fall.

The 6-foot-2 senior been a stealthy defensive stopper and a supplemental scorer to Feliz.

Rutgers now features the star of last year's 32-5 West Oaks team, dazzling and high-rising point guard Corey Sanders.

Maitre's friendship with Feliz ultimately persuaded him to stay at West Oaks. The general consensus was that Maitre would be gone following the departure of head coach Shaun Wiseman.

Wiseman left for Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville over the summer, bringing freakishly versatile 7-foot-3 Center Chol Mariel and 6-foot-9 Bradley-commit Koch Bar with him.

The two teams play each other, in what's anticipated to be a heated and emotional matchup, on Jan. 21.