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"To hear his Baylor coaches and teammates tell it, Ekpe Udoh is the world's oldest 22-year-old. (...) The coaches appreciate the mature approach of the 6'10" junior forward, who never slacks off in practice or in class and whose basketball insights are so sophisticated that talking to him is "like holding a clinic with another coach," says former assistant Matthew Driscoll, now the coach at North Florida."
"It's Udoh's work ethic at the offensive end that has made him a weapon all over the floor and has propelled him up NBA draft boards. He uses a nifty jump hook in the lane and is effective with his back to the basket or facing it. He can step out and bury the midrange jumper and even, as Kansas' coach Bill Self said, can hit a 3-pointer. He's made 5 of 14 this season.
He has also developed excellent ballhandling skills, allowing him to take his man off the dribble and create for himself, a rare quality for a big man. He's gone to the free throw line a team-high 87 times.
He also sees the floor well. Rarely is the power forward a team's second-leading assist-maker. But Udoh is, averaging just shy of three a game.
"He has incredible basketball intelligence, he's underrated as a passer, and he's a kid that really knows the game and appreciates the nuances and finer points of the game," Former Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker said. "He's a crafty kind of player. I don't always think you use those kinds of words or phrases or compliments for a kid that's a power forward. I always marveled at that with him."
"Udoh (...) loves to play defense and has a passion for it few players possess.
"There's something about stopping somebody, it just gets me going," Udoh said during a media session at Thursday's NBA draft combine.
Just his mind-set about defense, and his passion for denying points, shows he's different than the typical basketball player.
"Defense wins championships and it's something that I love," said Udoh, who averaged 9.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks (along with 13.9 points) at Baylor last season. "Getting that critical stop. Just blocking a shot, it gets everybody going."'