Sunday, March 28, 2010
Udoh's next choice: Baylor or NBA?
By Jeff Caplan
HOUSTON -- Seniors Tweety Carter and Josh Lomers have played their final game at Baylor. It will take some time to find out if junior forward Ekpe Udoh has.
Udoh, projected as a late lottery pick to mid-first-round selection in June's NBA Draft, wasn't interested in discussing his future after Sunday's tough regional final loss to Duke. If it was Udoh's final game, he went out in style. He finished with 18 points, team highs with 10 rebounds -- seven offensive -- and six assists, plus five blocked shots and a steal in 37 minutes.
Udoh would have been a senior this season, but he transferred from Michigan after his sophomore season and sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules.
Coach Scott Drew said he and Udoh will begin to discuss his options in a couple of days. The last Baylor player drafted in the first round was Brian Skinner in 1998. Drew would obviously love to have Udoh back for his senior season, but he said if not, it's a good situation for the program.
"That’s great because you want to have players that have decisions to make because that means you’re bringing in the right type of players," Drew said. "We’ll wait a couple of days and the great thing about Ekpe is he’s so intelligent you don’t ever have to worry about him making a quick decision or a bad decision, leaving or staying, without analyzing it, and that’s what you always care about as a coach because you just don’t want kids to make a bad decision."
Udoh's decision is made more complicated because of the NBA's cloudy labor picture. An impending lockout looms for the 2011-12 season, meaning if Udoh were to stay at Baylor for the 2010-11 season, he could be without a place to play the next season. And, the league's salary structure is bound to change with rookies taking a pay cut.
Currently, players drafted in the first round receive guaranteed two-year contracts with the team holding an option to extend the contract three more years. A player projected to be taken where Udoh is would stand to make several million dollars over the first two seasons.