Kelenna Azubuike

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:53 am
Here is an article I found about this guy. I always respect people with strong work ethics and positive attitudes. I hope we resign him!

Long road to NBA for Azubuike
By GEOFF LEPPER
MediaNews
OAKLAND - Warriors rookie guard Kelenna Azubuike doesn't like to talk with the media about federal prisoner No. 09255-062.

But he does say this much: "I love my dad. He's a great person."

The story of how Azubuike ended up in the NBA is, at its core, one of hard work.

The work needed to turn himself from a young boy born in London to Nigerian parents into one of Oklahoma's top high-school scorers.

The work needed to turn himself from a bit player as a freshman at Kentucky into the leading scorer of a Wildcats team that got within one game of the NCAA Final Four.

The work needed to turn himself from a draft bust in 2005 and D-League resident into an NBA contributor this year.

"He's a very responsible person," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said of Azubuike. "Give him a task and he's going to do everything in his power to fulfill that role. That's what I've always respected about him, his commitment on and off the court."

Skipping college?|

Azubuike piled up stats at Victory Christian High School in Tulsa, including averages of 38.7 points per game as a junior and 39.1 as a senior. Those were impressive numbers, but it was still a bombshell when Azubuike made an announcement in March 2001: He was considering a jump to the NBA after his final year of prep basketball.

Some observers wondered immediately if financial difficulties were prompting the decision. Two days after the announcement, the Tulsa World reported that Dr. Kenneth Azubuike, father of Kelenna, was under investigation by the FBI for financial improprieties.

That inquiry eventually led to 41 federal indictments, mostly for fraud charges. Kenneth Azubuike was found guilty on all counts in a November 2004 trial. In February 2005, he was sentenced to four years in prison and sent to the Federal Medical Center Devens in Massachusetts (he had a heart transplant in September 2003) and told to pay $340,000 in restitution to investors.

Early draft|

As a freshman at Kentucky, Kelenna Azubuike didn't play much defense, and accordingly, he didn't play much at all. He worked hard on that deficiency and became a starter as a sophomore.

In the wake of a junior season in which he averaged a team-high 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game -- and with his father's sentencing having taken place just two months earlier -- he took the plunge into the 2005 NBA draft.

"Sometimes, circumstances force you to do things sooner than you would like to," Smith said. "I think that happened to Kelenna."

A groin injury knocked Azubuike out of many of the summer workouts used by NBA prospects to showcase their talents, setting back his cause. On June 28, 2005, 60 other names were called instead of Azubuike's.

"It didn't happen obviously the way I wanted it to, but I never suspected that I wouldn't get drafted," Azubuike said.

Development League|

Azubuike's first two tries at making the NBA didn't last long. After that disappointing draft, he was cut during preseason by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2006, he was let go by the Houston Rockets after just two exhibition games.

But Azubuike persevered in the NBA Development League, lighting it up for the Fort Worth Flyers. He led the league in scoring when the Warriors signed him on Jan. 2.

In sporadic action, Azubuike has fared well with the Warriors. Per 40 minutes, he's averaging 17.3 points and 5.4 rebounds. On Jan. 17, with Golden State down to eight bodies, Azubuike played all 48 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers and scored a career-high 28 points.

"You have to give a guy like Kelenna a lot of credit, coming in from the D-League and not only fitting in, but getting minutes and being successful in those minutes," Warriors general manager Rod Higgins said. "That's hard. I'm glad for him as a player. He's a terrific young man."

Staying in the NBA|

Azubuike is excited for this summer, when he'll have a chance to market himself as a legitimate NBA player. He could "definitely see myself back here" if the Warriors are interested.

"Where I've come from, I took a weird route to get here, so it's all exciting, just being here in the NBA," Azubuike said. "My goal is just to stay here as long as I can. I know this story has a lot more pages (to go)."

Kelenna Azubuike leaves this unsaid: If he can hang onto a spot in the league for two more seasons, his biggest fan might be there on Opening Night. Kenneth Azubuike is projected for release Sept. 21, 2008.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:14 am
I hope we re-sign him over Pietrus or Barnes, at least...
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:21 am
TMC wrote:I hope we re-sign him over Pietrus or Barnes, at least...

Ditto... but his position is pretty crowded already, with Jason and Monta.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:18 pm
Go ahead, but for cheap, and 2 year deal at most.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:06 pm
sizewise, he looks like a sg.

if so,

we'd have maybe this lineup as with Barnes, SJax, Foyle, etc coming off the bench.. I don't have Cabbage, and the others on there, but the rest can be plugged in where needed.

1- BD/
2-Monta/Azi/Barnes
3-Jrich/SJax
4-Harrington
5-Biedrins
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:13 pm
Nah, Jrich isn't a SF. He's too small for the position. We saw that when Nellie experimented with that earlier on in the season. Monta is fine coming off the bench. When he starts to mature into either a PG or SG, he can get the nod to start.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:50 pm
xbaywarrior wrote:Nah, Jrich isn't a SF. He's too small for the position. We saw that when Nellie experimented with that earlier on in the season. Monta is fine coming off the bench. When he starts to mature into either a PG or SG, he can get the nod to start.



Yea, you don't want him out of position. He has had his success as SG and he wil continue doing well there
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:26 am
tkono wrote:sizewise, he looks like a sg.


Yeah, but that usually means SF in Nellie's book. :wink:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:26 am
azubuike/barnes>pietrus
pietrus is such a funny guy tho
One F'ing year and thats it. F*ck!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:52 pm
CouldItBTheChad wrote:azubuike/barnes>pietrus
pietrus is such a funny guy tho


Yeah, I agree.

It seems, though, like Barnes is more of a SF/PF, and Pietrus/Azu are more SG/SF. I like Barnes' energy too. I might be willing to resign him.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:58 pm
yeah barnes isn't clutch and plays sloppy but i like his energy. he still produces well too
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:06 pm
i like barnes allot. he's like a better custodian man than cardinal. :-o
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:30 am
Jrich will do fine at SF. He's not too small, and any size disadvantage will usually mean a quickness advantage over his counterpart. Let's face it, he can't beat other guards off the dribble. If we want to maximize the talent on the team we need to at least try long and hard to develop a working system where BD, MONTA AND JRICH can be on the floor together. It's not like the label of SF in a nellie system means anything anyway. If anything, J-Rich will be able to move more without the ball and come off screens for jump shots.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:30 am
Jrich will do fine at SF. He's not too small, and any size disadvantage will usually mean a quickness advantage over his counterpart. Let's face it, he can't beat other guards off the dribble. If we want to maximize the talent on the team we need to at least try long and hard to develop a working system where BD, MONTA AND JRICH can be on the floor together. It's not like the label of SF in a nellie system means anything anyway. If anything, J-Rich will be able to move more without the ball and come off screens for jump shots.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:45 am
David Wood wrote:Jrich will do fine at SF. He's not too small, and any size disadvantage will usually mean a quickness advantage over his counterpart. Let's face it, he can't beat other guards off the dribble. If we want to maximize the talent on the team we need to at least try long and hard to develop a working system where BD, MONTA AND JRICH can be on the floor together. It's not like the label of SF in a nellie system means anything anyway. If anything, J-Rich will be able to move more without the ball and come off screens for jump shots.


Tell that to Nellie. I remember him saying that J-Rich at SF wouldn't work.

Also, the way S-Jax is playing (in most games), there's no need to try that.
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