2012 Player Capsules: Ekpe Udoh

Disclaimer: Ekpe Udoh is my favorite basketball player in the world.

Occasionally, I am allowed to represent Bucksketball as media at home games. My favorite part is the dinner spread the Bucks provide before games. Oh Lord, the chicken. The Chicken!

My second favorite part is going into the locker room to interview players. Usually, I don’t say anything – I just sit in the scrum, stare like a slack-jawed idiot and think, “I wish I was a little bit taller.”

Udoh completely dwarfs me, but I actually find myself asking him questions while the real reporters are huddled around Monta Ellis. He’s really soft-spoken, so I never understand what he’s saying until I hear it again on my recorder.  But I know he’s funny because all the players laugh and one day I will laugh not because of peer pressure, but because I know what he just said.

I will be a part of that world.

Udoh is the ultimate cult player because believing that Udoh is a good player takes a considerable amount of faith. I could throw stats about plus-minus. I could talk about how the team grabs 2.5 percent more defensive rebounds or allows 5 less points per 100 possessions when Udoh is on the court. But that’s just cherry-picking to support my narrative. No one’s going to particularly care about any of that when Udoh is wide open at the free throw line – terrified to shoot.

Udoh’s deficiencies are rather glaring. He’s near the bottom in shooting percentage (.431 FG% for a center!). His rebounding numbers are terrible for his size. He’s not so keen on catching the ball and if he does, the issue of him dribbling arises.

What Udoh does do is so freaking subtle, it’s almost nonexistent and takes some serious logical steps to see why it matters. Of course the Bucks grab more defensive rebounds when Udoh’s on the court. Udoh bumps his man out of the paint before the entry pass. Before the shot goes up, he’s already made rebounding easier for his team.

He keeps his hands and feet active. He sets hard picks and shows just as hard when defending them. When he’s not part of a set, he still adds value with his spacing. Drew Gooden just stands around like a goof. This stuff is important, you guys!

Basketball is supposed to belong to the world-conquerors. Udoh has those moments when someone decides to dunk it at the wrong time, but he mostly spends his time on the ground with the rest of the plebs just trying to make his hardest to make it to the next moment. What’s so special about one of the lesser players in the league? That he still has something valuable to contribute in a world where Lebron James exists.

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Ian Segovia has been watching the Milwaukee Bucks for several years and…

14 Comments

  1. It’s funny how two “lesser” players get such diferent posts.  As in Pryz…  I like them both for different reasons, don’t get me wrong.

  2. Can anyone enlighten me how to “reply” to a post?  Anytime I click reply, i get the dialogue box but it’s almost like the submit button is “cut off” or some thing.  I can type in a reply, but I have nowhere to click submit.  What am I missing?

    • PattiRafalskiDavison

       @Bizzucks Post comment as button shows when I hit reply…sorry Biz, must be glitch in the way it loads on your computer.

  3. I like Udoh a lot, despite his obviously problems on offense. He’s a great defensive minded player who always seems to be in the right spots to get a stop. Sanders might be the more intimidating shot blocker, but Udoh’s ability to play great defense without fouling is what separates him from the other PFs on the team. 
     
    Sadly, as I’ve said before, he’s probably our best trade piece from the PF position, a position we’re obviously way overfilled at. So whether he stays a Buck past this season or not, I’m not so sure.

  4. Listen, I am still trying to figure out the allure of Ekpe Udoh.  His game is not really worth looking at, neither is his face for that matter.  The man has no real discernible basketball skills whatsoever, does not play that many minutes and impact a team so greatly.  I seriously want to see how these statisticians get the numbers that proclaim Udoh as this awesome player.

      • @Ian_Segovia @jtshoopsblog
        I second that. As fun as the stars make the game, the guys that do the little things and provide the cohesiveness and continuity for the team are just as important to win championships. As good as DWade and LBJ are they wouldn’t have gotten over the top without a bunch solid role-players who willingly took paycuts. Whether you are actively guarding the ball, playing help D, or looking for a rebound keeping good position has a huge impact. If Larry Sanders can learn from Udoh and stay in better position his value to the team will double

    •  @jtshoopsblog As much as you might hate it, it’s one of those things where you can’t look at the statistics to indicate what Udoh is able to do for the team. 

  5. It’s tough when you know any player personally to be objective about their abilities.
    I will say this: There are 500 NBA players. In the world. They are all, by comparison to normal ballplayers, immensely talented. Some abuse that talent, and don’t work especially hard. Udoh is NOT a member of that group. I always appreciate effort, especially on “D’  I will say this about the Bucks team: they are all nice folks personally. These days, that is rare.

  6. PattiRafalskiDavison

    I’m hoping both Sanders and Udoh improve this year with Sam & Joe to mentor them at center.  These guys have not had full season of practice and play with a center.  It’s now or never guys!

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