Ekpe Udoh Officially Leaving Michigan Basketball Team

Dylan Burkhardt

Ekpe Udoh is officially leaving the Michigan basketball team. There has been talk about it for a long time now and he made it official today. Now the only question is where he goes next. Here are the quotes from Beilein and Ekpe:

“Ekpe is a fine young man and we thought he made tremendous improvements throughout the season,” said Beilein. “I will miss Ekpe as a person and as a player and we hope success will follow him in his future endeavors.”

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” said Udoh. “I just feel I need to explore other options right now. I had a wonderful experience at Michigan and I want to thank everyone for helping me the last two years. I wish them nothing but success in the future.”

I’ll have more later with what this does to recruiting, next year, post rotation, and other reactions.

  • Kevin

    He’s getting bad advice if he thinks he has a shot at the NBA. It really a silly choice on his part. But it is his choice.

  • hat

    @#$% !

  • umdcbball

    That is unfortunate. I agree with you, Kevin, regarding his NBA potential.

    I believe this will only have a marginal impact on our success the next two years. I’d have traded him for a 40% three point shooter any day.

  • cwood

    Thats too bad. Looks like cronin is gonna get some major minutes whether or not he can handle it. We might be forced to go the 4 guard set similar to the one villanova ran a few years back.

  • Ky Fox

    The question now is who is going to replace epke’s defense, and rebounding ability? Cronin?? I dont think so, at least not this upcoming season. So if we look at the big picture then next year it would look like:
    Pg- LLP
    Sg- Novak
    Sf- Manny
    Pf- Sims
    C-???????? I guess maybe Cronin?…we will get utterly DESTROYED down low if Gibby is the main candidate. We better hope that its raining three’s for us next year!

  • Musket Rebellion

    I think this definitely hurts our chances of improving on last year’s team. Udoh was the only inside defensive presence that was effective at all, and he was becoming a good offensive player as well. We are going to miss him a lot. My guess is that Cronin will be starting by the tenth game, and not because he will have blossomed that much, but because Beilein will be forced to play him with Gibson being pretty much a joke on both ends.

    It is sad to see him go. I feel like Michigan gave him the chance to play in a big conference when he might’ve otherwise not gotten that chance. He always seemed depressed about being here, so in that regard I’m glad that he is gone and hopefully he is happy with his decision to sit out a year. I agree with those above and don’t think he’s an NBA level talent. I just don’t see it. It’ll be interesting to see what Dylan thinks with regards to his NBA ceiling.

  • Ky Fox

    in regards to Epke’s NBA chances…I think JB was one in a few who could have really gave him a shot. Like weve said, Epke really started to show some offensive abilities down the stretch last year, and that was the one area of his game that really needed to be improved. For Epke being kind of an unorthadox kind of player and body he did have a pretty good mid range and it would have only gotten better under JB, along with is handle and all around offensive skills. He probably wouldnt have gotten a lot stronger/bigger under JB, but I dont beleive thats the route that would have gave him the best chance at the NBA. Even if Epke does squeek into the pros I dont see him playing much. He would be prized for his defense, and mid range. There are a lot of guys in the pros who are his size or bigger that have a bit more skill..ie driving ability, three point range on theyre jumper and just more speed and quickness! I think Epke will have to really work to see the NBA. But its possible.

  • Bob

    LLP is not a PG. He is a SG.

    pg. grady
    sg. llp
    sf. manny
    pf. sims
    c. gibson

    sg. douglass
    sg. shepard
    sf. novak
    c. cronin

  • Bob

    forgot wright at sf.

  • Jimmy

    Honestly I can’t help but think there was some tampering going on from other NCAA coaches. I’m willing to bet that some major coaches love his defensive abilities and were impressed with Udoh’s development over the season offensively. I’m wondering whether they contacted his AAU coach and said something along the lines of “He’s a good player, what’s he doing at Michigan…if he were at —— he could play in the NBA for sure”. His AAU coach calls Epke, Epke becomes intrigued at the chance to play at —– and decides to leave.

    Just one possible scenario. But I find it very odd that he’d leave after two years as a starter, in a situation where he’s obviously improving. Not to play closer to home…but to consider “a couple schools out west”

  • a2matt

    LLP can play either effectively.

  • Ky Fox

    Well JB im sure will use many different lineups for this upcoming season. You would have to think that that is exactly what we are going to have to resort to is 4 around 1. Cronin and Gibson and a bunch of guys driving and shooting…much like Villinova. Thats probably how it will have to be for a while till we get some quality bigs(centers, powerforwards) back in the rotation. I think that philosophy gives us the best chance at winning…so if Grady can drive and do the neccisary things to help the ballclub then yes he will play a lot. But with Epke leaving I think it puts a little more pressure on Sims to step up and really make advancements with his shooting. Jb is going to want as many 3ballers on the floor as possible now.

  • petey ballgame

    Good luck getting to the NBA with 0 offensive skills epke

  • Giddings

    Jimmy, I’m kind of a conspiracy theorist myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that’s how it went down. In fact, in my opinion, I think that Ep’s AAU coach, Mitch Malone, just has a grudge against U-M because our coaches (TA and JB) play by the rules and don’t “court” AAU coaches. My bet is that Malone ends up selling Ep to the highest bidder… which is why it will be interesting to see where he goes.

    It pains me so much to see people like AAU coaches, the Pumps, WWW, etc take control of a youngster’s life and use them for personal gains… just awful. I think that Ekpe had a weak spot (his feelings of homesickness, which he had been having throughout the first two years) and Malone saw that and exploited it.

    Of course, if I’m wrong, my apologies to all parties involved.

    And by the way, all you folks who have no faith in
    Zack Gibson will be pleasantly surprised next year. He won’t provide the same defense as Ep but I really think he’ll step it up. Remember the Wisconsin BTT game?

  • umdcbball

    I’m optimistic about Gibson’s offensive potential too, Giddings. He’s always been better than Ekpe offensively. He started ahead of Ekpe early on, didn’t he? Once Ekpe showed his solid defensive play and thus gained most of the minutes, Gibson seemed lost for most of the rest of the season. He had a quick burst of good play against Penn State and then the Wisconsin game.

  • Musket Rebellion

    I almost forgot, he shall forever be known as EXpe now.

    I think Gibson can be a decent offensive contributor, but that is only when he logs a ton of minutes. He can’t get in the flow of a game in short spans. Unfortunately for him he is a complete liability on the defensive side of the court, and will be taken out regularly if Cronin shows that he can be a defensive asset.

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  • Ky Fox

    yep…its going to be a competition between Gibby and Cronin for our biggin! I have a feeling that Cronin might develop into the main guy and Gibby will spell Cronin. Reason being is i can just see Cronin being a little more of a banger and we need at least a glimpse of that on the court. I do believe Gibby will be better and be more assertive and aggressive this year tho…along with hopefully shooting a better percentage! We also need Dsims to really advance his game if we are going to see 15 to 17 wins. He needs to become a real threat for us as well as being a leader!

  • buyao

    screw you ekpe you quitter. i’m glad i won’t have to see your ugly mug on campus anymore.

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