Ekpe Udoh Rumors

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#33
Ekpe Udoh
Ekpe Udoh
Position: F-C
Born: 05/20/87
Height: 6-10 / 2.08
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Salary: $3,200,000
Utah still wants last season’s leading shot-blocker back. While Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh have helped protect the rim to a degree, they lack the pure intimidation factor of Gobert. The Jazz also miss Gobert’s propensity for finishing lobs at the rim or getting easy putbacks. They miss his wide, physical screening and his overall tenacity on the court. What adds to Utah’s angst over missing Rudy Gobert is that it won’t necessarily be a smooth transition when he returns. They learned last time that it takes an adjustment period to get used to Gobert in the lineup. And that means even more of a wait to reach their competitive potential. “More than anything, we’ve got a group that hasn’t played with him that much,” Snyder said. “What we have with Rudy and what we have with the group, we know who Rudy is as a player, but we’ll be able to continue to see who we are with Rudy.”
That doesn’t mean Gobert has no influence on the team. Rudy Gobert fed tips for guarding Marcin Gortat to Ekpe Udoh, who had his best game of the season, throughout Utah’s win over the Wizards. He answered questions for rookie Tony Bradley on the bench. He stood in the huddle for timeouts. “He’ll share some of his wisdom with me in a game,” Udoh said. “Just defensively, the players he’s played against throughout the game, possession after possession.” He’s still there, and so is his intensity. And even though the Jazz miss his play, they’ll take whatever he has to offer now — and hope there’s still more to come in the second half of the season. “I think that’s the biggest deal — he’s continuing to be vocal,” Donovan Mitchell said. “That’s what’s awesome about having a guy like that who’s still a leader, who doesn’t lose it. It’s tough. He understands his presence. There’s a large gap when he’s out. But continuing to be that leader is good.”
Udoh isn’t the only Jazz player that loves to get caught up in a novel. “A lot of my teammates read as well,” Udoh said. “On the flight home, you’ll find four or five of them reading a book. It’s fun. “I gave the book to Jonas (Jerebko), and he may pop up at the next discussion. I’m trying to get Joe Ingles to read it, but he is tough.” The Ekpe Udoh Book Club will re-convene Dec. 28. To sign up, follow Udoh on Twitter @ekpeudoh.
Udoh said this in an Uber on his way from the Jazz’s practice at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan to Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn. This particular visit was special — Udoh had heard about the school and its principal, Nadia Lopez, after a viral Humans of New York post led to a TED Talk and a PBS feature. He got in touch with Lopez through a friend, donated books to the school and, eventually, there he was, hugging English teachers. “He came here by himself without an entourage,” Lopez said. “He’s walking down the hallway, trying to figure out where he’s at. He’s engaging folks; he’s going into classes, talking to people.”