Just two days after the Golden State traded away its second leading scorer and rebounder in Corey Maggette, the team had one pick on draft day to bolster a roster that allowed a league-worst 112 points per game last season. With that in mind, the Warriors front office selected defensive-minded power forward Ekpe Udoh out of Baylor with the sixth overall pick during Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Udoh, who was all smiles as he hugged family and friends before walking on stage at Madison Square Garden, became the highest Baylor player ever selected in the draft.
“We are very happy to add Ekpe Udoh to our team,” said Warriors General Manager Larry Riley in a press release following the draft. “Ekpe is a complete player and it’s nice to add someone that has more than just one skill. We think he is going to fit-in quite nicely with our team on both ends of the floor.”
Udoh was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team this season after leading the conference in blocked shots with 3.69 per game to go along with 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds. He was also an honorable mention AP All-American and entered the draft one year early after his junior season.
At 6-foot-10, 237 pounds, Udoh is rather lanky for a power forward, but his 7-foot wingspan should pose an impending threat in the paint for opposing players. Scouts also praised Udoh prior to the draft for his high basketball IQ, a skill that should help him fit well into Golden State’s system.
Udoh has also shown promise by steadily improving in each of his three college seasons, the first two of which he spent at Michigan before transferring to Baylor after the 2007-08 season. Prior to the draft, ESPN ranked Udoh as the 13th overall prospect available on the board.
The Warriors had only one pick on Thursday after trading their second round pick, no. 44 overall, to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday along with Maggette. Golden State originally had the 34th overall selection, before trading down with the Portland Trailblazers for no. 44.
The team has scheduled an introductory press conference for Friday June 25th to introduce Udoh to Warriors fans. The press conference is scheduled to take place around 2 p.m.