Epke Udoh

My brother is a big MSU fan. While watching football yesterday, he claimed 4 NFL starting quarterbacks (today) for MSU. Yes, he claimed Nick Foles. Moments after, a BTN graphic claimed the same thing. That got me thinking…do we “claim” Epke Udoh among our NBA Alumni? He played extensively for 2 seasons (of his 3 in college). Based on BTN/my brother logic, the answer has to be yes, right? I’m searching for things to talk about right now. Football is no fun, and I’d rather not participate in the angry mob over at MgoBlog.

Then I kept thinking…1) how good could we have been in 08-09 (and 09-10) with Udoh? 2) Hypothetically, would Udoh have ultimately been better off sticking with UofM?

  1. Center was absolutely achilles heel until Jordan Morgan emerged. Peedi is a prototype stretch 4, but played admirably as a small 5.

  2. Epke was a Top 10 draft pick, and played in an Elite 8. That redshirt year was probably big for his development. However, if he sticks at Michigan…lets assume we still make the tourney that year. Our ceiling is a bit higher with an elite shot blocker and rebounder. The next year, I don’t think we’re as vulnerable to the “hype” with Epke as part of our roster. As for Epke, he hasn’t been a terrible pro…but he hasn’t a #6 pick. In hindsight, Beilein has show he can develop NBA skills. Epke’s talent as a shot blocker and rebounder would be impossible to ignore in any environment. Maybe developing his offensive game (i.e. SHOOTING) would have helped him more at this point in his career.

It is what it is. I don’t think either party has any complaints about how things have unfolded. But I always thought it was a bit unfortunate. Udoh didn’t leave because he disliked Michigan - I still see him engaging with alums like Merritt, Harris, and Sims on social media. He left because he obviously didn’t feel the style of play was a good fit. We have since learned that John Beilein will truly adapt his style to his personnel. I just wonder what he could have done with another year of Harris-Sims-Udoh.

If you are asking me if I consider him one of our NBA guys, I would say no. Obviously one can stretch and spin things the way they want depending on their end game, but he was away from here for 2 years and then went to the NBA. To me, you either take full credit or no credit.

Beilein’s first year was tough. There wasn’t a lot left as far as pure talent, go to scorers, and it was going to be a transition year. The majority of the scoring talent was young and it was hard for us to score that year. I think Beilein was learning a lot about himself as well as he molded himself as a coach.

I say if he is on the team in 2009-2010, we are a tournament team. Honestly to this day, I firmly believe if that prayer didn’t go in for OSU, we would have won the Big Ten tournament and got the auto bid with the groove Manny Harris was in.

Another factor - he wasn’t recruited by Beilein. To me that always plays a role whether its loudly talked about or not really discussed.

Aside from a tournament berth in 2009-2010, I think things would have played out pretty similar to what happened. I feel like we were always going to rely more offensively on Harris and Sims anyway.

His scholarship also opened up the chance to get Novak -unheralded at the time. He ended up re-shaping the culture and attitude of this program.

The whole program shifted that day Novak went nuts and beat MSU. We needed a guy that was ALL IN at that time, blood, sweat, and tears - so I am thrilled with the trade off.

Good point on the Novak, and all around. The sting of Saturday has worn off. Thanks for engaging my hypothetical lol