Junior swingman retains agent

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior swingman Kelenna Azubuike,
Kentucky's leading scorer this season, said he has signed with
an agent and will forego his final season of eligibility.

In a statement released by the university, Azubuike announced
his intention to enter the NBA draft and not return for his senior
"I know all the implications of signing with an agent,"
Azubuike said. "I believe I am ready and I am willing to do
whatever it takes to get better before the draft. I want to make it
clear that this is my decision but my family is solidly behind
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Azubuike averaged 14.7 points per game
and was second on the team in rebounding this season at 4.7 per
game. Kentucky finished 28-6 and lost to Michigan State in the
Austin regional final of the NCAA tournament.
This is not Azubuike's his first flirtation with the NBA.
During his senior season at Victory Christian School in Tulsa,
Okla., Azubuike openly spoke about jumping straight from high
school into the NBA, but instead chose to sign with Kentucky. He
scored 3,530 points during his prep career, second-best in Oklahoma
history, and averaged 39.1 points and 13.3 rebounds per game as a
The NBA draft is June 28.
Azubuike averaged 3.7 points per game in 31 games as a freshman
reserve before breaking into the starting lineup at the start of
his sophomore season. As a sophomore, he averaged 11.1 points and
5.0 rebounds per game and emerged as a defensive stopper for the
Kentucky went 87-15, won two Southeastern Conference titles and
twice appeared in a NCAA tournament regional final during
Azubuike's career.
"Kelenna has been a model student-athlete and will be sorely
missed," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said in a statement. "He's
done everything we've asked him to do since he's been at UK and
we'll do everything we can to help him achieve his goals and
During Smith's eight years as Kentucky's coach, only one other
player has forfeited his senior season of eligibility with the
Wildcats: Nazr Mohammed in 1998. Mohammed was the final player
chosen in the first round of that year's NBA draft.
Another player, Marquis Estill, could've pursued a final season
of eligibility, but chose not to do so and entered the NBA draft in
2003. He went undrafted.
In recent years, Kentucky players Tayshaun Prince in 2001 and
Keith Bogans in 2002 each declared for the NBA draft following
their junior seasons, only to reconsider and return. Both were
drafted following their senior seasons.
Azubuike's situation is complicated by an impending federal
prison sentence facing his father, Kenneth Azubuike. In November, a
U.S. Bankruptcy court jury found the elder Azubuike guilty of 41
federal counts alleging he had defrauded investors, banks and the
The charges alleged that Kenneth Azubuike committed bank fraud
and wire fraud, made false statements to banks and engaged in
interstate transportation of stolen property.
A federal judge in Oklahoma ordered him to report by April 17
for a four-year prison sentence, to be served at the Federal
Medical Center in Lexington.