WACO, Texas (AP) — Ekpe Udoh plans to bypass his senior season at Baylor and enter the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-10 power forward said he hasn't decided on an agent, but does plan to hire one and be available in the June draft. Early projections have Udoh being a possible a lottery pick.
"We came to the conclusion that I put myself in the best position possible to reach my dreams," Udoh said Tuesday. "My time here was great. It was the best time of my life."
"When you have a relationship with your head coach that's as strong as coach Drew and I, he was all in. When he was all in, I was ready to go," Udoh said. "I'm all in. I'm going to the NBA."
Udoh averaged 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds a game this season, his first at Baylor. Udoh, whose self-proclaimed nickname is "Nightmare," set a Big 12 record with 133 blocked shots while helping the Bears reach an NCAA regional final.
The season ended for Baylor (28-8) with a 78-71 loss to Duke. Udoh had 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five blocks in that game.
With Udoh's departure, the Bears have three starters gone from the team that got within one victory of the Final Four. Point guard Tweety Carter and 7-foot center Josh Lomers were both seniors.
LaceDarius Dunn, who was Baylor's leading scorer as a junior this season, hasn't yet announced whether he will return for his senior season or go pro.
Udoh, who turns 23 next month, played two seasons at Michigan before transferring to Baylor.
In 67 games at Michigan, Udoh averaged 5.5 points and 3.4 rebounds while scoring at least 10 points only nine times. He left a year after coach Tommy Amaker departed and then had to sit out the 2008-09 season, when the Wolverines made it to the NCAA tournament and Baylor advanced to the NIT final at Madison Square Garden.
Udoh, whose name is pronounced EHP'-ay YOO'-doh, had 16 double-doubles for Baylor. He scored in double figures 26 games.
His nickname came from a practice at Baylor while he was redshirting, when one of his teammates said something about his dominating presence and Udoh responded "I'm a nightmare." The nickname stuck.
Udoh, the son of Nigerian immigrants who grew up in Edmond, Okla., wore No. 13 for the Bears — his middle name is Friday.
He quickly became a fan favorite at Baylor, where students started wearing horror film-inspired hockey masks during home games.