Ekpe Udoh
Ekpe Udoh with the Euroleague Final Four MVP trophy. (Photo credit: Euroleague)

After two Euroleague seasons with Fenerbahce, Ekpe Udoh will return to the NBA with the Utah Jazz, The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports. Charania adds that Udoh has a signed a two-year deal with the Jazz worth 6.5-million.

Udoh was the sixth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, selected by the Golden State Warriors. He struggled in the NBA, being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks after two seasons with the Warriors. The Bucks let his rookie deal end and then Udoh was signed by the Los Angeles Clippers, where he only played 33-games in one season.

After that, Udoh signed with Fenerbahce where he would play in Euroleague and the Turkish Basketball Super League. Udoh teamed up with another former NBA lottery pick in Jan Vesely and under legendary Serbian head coach Zeljko Obradovic, the two would form a twin tower combo that would dominate European hoops.

Udoh has become a completely different player since leaving the NBA. He is still a great rebounder and rim protector – averaging 7.8rpg and 2.19bpg last season in Euroleague play – but has improved incredibly on the offensive end as he averaged 12.13ppg and 2.19apg for Fenerbahce last season. This led to Udoh being named to the All-Euroleague First Team last season.

Udoh was a celebrity in Istanbul, leading Fenerbahce to the first-ever Euroleague title for a Turkish club is something he’ll always be remembered for. But in two seasons, Udoh accomplished nearly all he could in Europe and I’m sure what he wants to prove to everyone now is that he wasn’t a total bust as the sixth overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Within 48-hours of Udoh leaving Fenerbahce for the Jazz, Udoh released a farewell letter that was mainly dedicated to the Fenerbahce fans. He thanked them for their incredible support that rekindled his love for basketball and allowed him to discover himself. He also said that this was strictly a basketball decision and him wanting to prove that he belongs in the NBA.

 

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Def Pen