One of the more talented available big men in the country, Ekpe Udoh is set to return to the court, this weekend.
"I haven't played yet this season, so people and coaches have been waiting on me to get back on the court," Ekpe Udoh said. "My shoulder's been healing good and the Doctor said he would clear me on Saturday, so I should be back playing games here soon."
"I like those schools alot," Udoh said. "Pittsburgh is in the Big East and they are doing real good right now. Their conference is tops in the nation. Michigan would give me some good T.V. exposure. It's a good a program."
Despite taking an official visit to Michigan in the fall, the Sante Fe (Okla.) HS sat out the initial signing period and has indicated that he will more than likely sign and go to prep school.
"If I had to choose today, I'd go prep," Udoh said. "Kentucky, Maryland, Wake Forest and Kansas all called my coach, but they haven't talked to me, yet. The only schools that I've talked to personally are Pitt and Michigan."
Even if Udoh does sign with a school this spring, most have advised him it would be best to do a sign-and-place, allowing for Udoh to develop his game further. "People haven't seen him at 100%," Udoh's traveling team coach Mitch Malone told Scout.com. "Because of that, I'm thinking he's learning towards playing next summer.
"He played at about 60% this (past) summer. He had limited range of motion. People haven't seen how well he can play. He needs to get healthy; he's got another month and a half of rehab before he gets cleared to play high school ball."
According to Scout.com national analyst, Dave Telep, most schools are keeping a watchful eye, but also possibly planting a seed for a possible opened recruitment next fall.
"Certainly a lot of programs are going to monitor his health and his level of play as the season progresses," Telep wrote on Udoh. "Even if he grades work out well in both areas, don't rule out the post graduate route."
Malone agreed. "It would take an unbelievable situation for him to do something in the late period," Malone said. "Maybe if his shoulder was 100% and he could compete at a high level at a Top 20 school, a place where he could step in and compete at a high level. He doesn't want to have to go to school and have to get stronger. He doesn't want to have to come off the bench; he wants to come into a school where he can be the focal point."
Udoh averaged 10 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocked shots per game as a junior. A virtual unknown throughout the summer, Ekpe attended the Adidas ABCD camp and his performance was so impressive, Michigan offered within days.
"It's hard to show schools how well you can play when you're not 100%," Udoh said. "If I go to a prep school, I'll have time to develop my game and add some weight. That might be my best option."