The NBA’s Golden State Warriors selected Baylor All-American Ekpe Udoh with the sixth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, making Udoh the highest-drafted Bear in program history.
The excitement in the Baylor contingent at Madison Square Garden was obvious, as head coach Scott Drew nearly jumped out of the building when Udoh’s name was called, and the draftee himself skipped the usual handshake with NBA Commissioner David Stern in favor of what could only be described as a Bear hug. (See video of that as well as analysis of the pick and a post-draft interview here.)
His introductory press conference as a Warrior will stream live at warriors.com at 2 p.m. PT (4 p.m. CT). Speaking Thursday night, Udoh described his love for Baylor to the Houston Chronicle. “I am really proud to be here because Baylor is a great school and Coach Drew has taken us out of the darkness. I think I will be the first of a few to come out of the program in the next few years.”
Seven Big 12 players went in the first round this year, but none higher than Udoh. The 6-10 forward is the fourth NBA first round pick ever from Baylor, following in the footsteps of Vinnie Johnson (1979, seventh overall pick), Terry Teagle (1982, 16th overall) and Brian Skinner (1998, 22nd overall). All three went on to long NBA careers: 13 years for Johnson, 11 for Teagle and 12-plus for Skinner, who is still active.
[July 1 update: When Udoh begins play in the NBA Summer League next week, he'll be joined by two other Bears. Curtis Jerrells will be playing in Las Vegas for the San Antonio Spurs, while Tweety Carter will be in Orlando with the New Jersey Nets.]
Sic ’em, Ekpe!