Catching Up With Ekpe Udoh

Ekpe Udoh set the Michigan single season record with 92 blocked shots while earning Big Ten All-Defensive team honors this past season. But now the 6-foot-10 is trying to decide where he'll be swatting shots in the future after asking for his release from Michigan earlier this month. caught up with Udoh on Tuesday evening, and visited with him about his future.

Udoh will be forced to sit out a season after transferring (using his red-shirt season) and will have two years of eligibility remaining after playing two seasons at Michigan. He started 24 of 32 games for the Wolverines last season, averaging 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game during the 2007-08 season. He posted a double-double (14 points and 11 rebounds) at Northwestern on Jan. 12. In his two years at Michigan, he played in 67 consecutive games with 31 starts.

The former Edmond (Santa Fe High School), Okla., standout signed with Michigan after also considering Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh. He compiled 159 career blocks which ranks fifth all-time at Michigan.

What's the latest with you?
Udoh: I'm just taking it easy right now, and breaking things down.

What schools have expressed an interest in you?
Udoh: Both the Oklahoma schools, Arkansas, Baylor, and a couple of other schools.

Do you have a timetable for when you hope to make a decision?
Udoh: I'm going to make a decision in June. It will probably be early June.

Do you plan on going to summer school?
Udoh: I don't know yet. With gas (prices) like it is, I may have to get a job.

Have the schools you've talked to indicated they would like to see you enroll in June for summer school classes?
Udoh: No, that really hasn't been that big of an issue. I really haven't thought about it much.

You've made trip to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, correct?
Udoh: Yes.

When did you make your trip to Oklahoma State?
Udoh: I don't know the date, but it was last week, I think.

What did you think of new head coach Travis Ford?
Udoh: He's a really cool guy. He's a celebrity.

What do you mean?
Udoh: With him being (in the movie) The 6th Man.

Now that you've been through the recruiting process once before coming out of high school, what do you base your decision on this time?
Udoh: Really it'll just come down to the people. The character and personality of the people at the schools. A lot of the schools (I'm hearing from) are talking about the same thing, so it'll probably come down to the people.

How would you compare Oklahoma State and Oklahoma after your visits to those two schools?
Udoh: They're both really kinda the same. I would say the coaching styles are probably a little bit different.

What do you mean by that?
Udoh: Although no one has really seen what (Coach Ford) is going to do here, but from what his teams have done and what he says they're going to be running all the time. OU runs but sometimes they settle for the half-court game, and getting the ball down low (into the post).

Have you visited any other schools besides Oklahoma State and Oklahoma?
Udoh: No.

Do you plan on visiting anywhere else?
Udoh: Yeah.

Do you have any trips planned or scheduled?
Udoh: No.

Will the fact that two former high school teammates in Obi Muonelo and Andy Shaw are members of the Oklahoma State basketball program play a factor in your decision?
Udoh: A little bit but not too much. Everybody probably knows that me and Obi are best friends, so it does a little bit but I can't let get in the way of what I'm trying to accomplish.

How have your conversations gone with Obi since you returned to Edmond? Has he tried to persuade you that OSU would be the best place for you or has he just told you to do what you believe is in your best interest?
Udoh: Both (laughing).

Do you see him and talk to him quite a bit?
Udoh: Yeah, about every day. He is always making side comments (about me going to Oklahoma State).

What do you think of Coach Ford saying he wants to push the ball up the floor?
Udoh: Last year (at Michigan under first-year head coach John Beilein) we played a half-court game, and my freshman year we kinda did both, so it's intriguing.

You enjoy that type of game, right?
Udoh: Oh yeah. I would like to play that type of game.

How much time did you get to spend with Coach Ford on your trip to Stillwater?
Udoh: It was probably about three hours. We talked in his office and walked around the gym, and he showed me his new plans for the offices and stuff (like the locker room). You can tell he's excited to be there.

Are you excited about getting to start a new chapter in your life?
Udoh: Yes, I am. I'm really taking a big step by transferring. I'm taking a big leap of faith in my abilities.

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