Although Kansas basketball made a living in the transfer portal this past offseason, the program also lost a number of players, including highly promising center Ernest Udeh Jr. When the Jayhawks open conference play in historic Allen Fieldhouse tomorrow, he will be on the other side of the court.
The former Jayhawk and McDonald's All-American appeared in 30 games last season, averaging 2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks for head coach Bill Self. Despite finding himself in foul trouble more often than not, he was a spark plug off the bench with tremendous defensive potential.
When Hunter Dickinson committed, Udeh transferred out in the coming days. He found a new home in Fort Worth at fellow Big 12 school TCU. Midway through the regular season, he has started each of the Horned Frogs' 13 games and is averaging 4.4 points and 5.5 rebounds.
While he vastly struggled in the early stages of the year, the Orlando native finally found his calling at TCU. On New Year's Day, he had an out-of-nowhere double-double with 13 points, 18 rebounds (11 offensive), and three blocks. He happens to be playing his "revenge game" tomorrow, so to speak.
Coach Self still speaks about Udeh highly and notes his prowess in the pick-and-roll game. He caught plenty of lobs from Dajuan Harris last year, and the Hall of Famer said he can set a screen and roll to the rim as well as anybody in the country.
The only former Jayhawk remaining in the conference is Bryce Thompson of Oklahoma State, so seeing Udeh with a different jersey on might be an odd sight for Kansas basketball fans. We should still wish him well with his new school. That being said, all we can hope is that if he does continue to succeed, it comes to a halt during the KU game.