KU’s Azubuike to be reunited with mom for first time in years at Final Four

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- F. O. E. Three letters, and every college basketball player knows exactly what they stand for. Family over everything.

Those three letters are very fitting in the case of Florence Azuonuwu, the mother of University of Kansas sophomore center Udoka Azubuike. Azuonuwu lives in Delta, Nigeria, and has never seen her son play basketball.

In her case, the process included obtaining a passport and a visa in a very short amount of time. And on top of that, the cost of the trip is enormous.

But with the help of the NCAA, Azuonuwu is going to make the trip to see her son play in the Final Four this weekend.

"I'm pretty excited," Azubuike  said Thursday. "I ain't seen my mom in a long time, since I came to the states, so it's going to be a fun moment. It's going to be an emotional moment for me."

Udoka Azubuike

The KU sophomore told reporters it he hasn't seen his mom since he was in eighth or ninth grade.

"Can you imagine you've never seen your son play basketball and the first time you do is in front of 70,000 people at this thing," Coach Bill Self said. "So I cant even imagine what's going to be going through her mind."

Each player is given $3,000 to assist in family travel, and another $1,000 if the player’s team advances to the National Championship game.

"For Doke to be able to share his experience at the Final Four with his mom is something neither of them will ever forget,” KU Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger said in a news release. “You can see it in Doke’s face whenever we discuss it.”

Many people helped with this process, starting with U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, all from Kansas.

“We are thankful to them for going above and beyond to help Udoka and his mom,” Zenger said.

Two continents. One mother, one son and one Final Four. All brought together by three letters -- F.O.E.

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