Good luck finding a player anywhere in the country who’s more aware and thankful of the position he’s established than Potter’s House (Jacksonville, Fla.) center Udoka Azubuike.
Azubuike, a senior, arrived in the U.S. from Nigeria as a freshman and in four years he’s become one of the top high school basketball players in the country, checking at No. 22 overall in the latest ESPN 100 rankings.
“I’m just so happy to be in this position,” Azubuike said. “Just to have schools like North Carolina, Florida State and Kansas wanting me to come there and play for them is a blessing for me. But I definitely feel stress sometimes because I have to pick one. It’s fun when I can take my mind off of that sometimes.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Azubuike was all smiles when he received his jersey during the McDonald’s All American Games Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance.
“You just have no idea how excited I am just to make this game,” Azubuike said. “Through all the obstacles and things; you just don’t know. I’m so happy for them to come here and let me have my jersey. Even my family back in Nigeria; they don’t know that much about sports over here, but I told them about this and they were so proud and so happy. They know how hard I’ve worked.”
Azubuike’s grind certainly paid off big dividends.
This past summer he anchored the paint for the Georgia Stars and helped them capture the uber-prestigious Nike Peach Jam title, averaging 14 points and eight rebounds a game.
His summer dominance led to his peers giving him the Toughest Defensive Assignment trophy in the USA Today High School Sports AAU Awards and Superlatives.
“The only thing I control is how hard I work,” said Azubuike, who is pumping in 19 points and 10 rebounds a game for Potter’s House this season. “It feels good that it’s all paying off. This is the game I wanted to play in since I got here. I’m so excited.”
And the stress?
Azubuike said he plans to eliminate that “really soon.”
“It’s hard because all of the schools that are recruiting me are really good schools,” Azubuike said. “Just making sure that you pick the right one is really difficult for me right now. I’m ready to get it done though. It’s gonna happen soon. For now, I’m gonna enjoy my new jersey.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY