“Welcome to my nightmare/I think you’re gonna like it.” – Alice Cooper
My twitter feed is aflame with the news that Ekpe Friday “The Nightmare” Udoh will take the court tomorrow against the Miami Heat. Udoh practiced with the team and looked ready to multiple observers. Marcus Thompson tweets: “Ekpe looks ready. He’s blocking shots, dunking, even making midrange jumpers.” Matt Steinmetz tweets: “Asked Reggie Williams to tell me something about Udoh. He said: ‘He’s long, and he blocks everything.’”
I haven’t been this interested and excited in a Warriors rookie debut since…, well since last year’s clear-cut — but defrauded by media ignorance — Rookie of the Year, Stephen Curry. But before that, you’d have to go back to Chris Webber.
I just have a funny feeling about this kid, a tingling up my leg, as Chris Mathews famously experienced while observing Senator Obama deliver a speech. I have an intuition that he might be a very special player. I’ve already discussed the reasons for this. It’s a combination of reading the scouting report on him –which I discussed here and here — and the fact that Don Nelson chose him over the player all the pundits chose for the Warriors (Greg Monroe, currently stiffening the Pistons middle).
Udoh’s combination of talents — the combination of extraordinary intelligence with extraordinary length and extraordinary athleticism and an extraordinary desire to play defense — is one of the rarest of all combinations to be found in NBA players. When you are lucky enough to find it, it has the potential to be a game changer. A franchise changer, even.
It’s the combination that Bill Russell had. The player — as I’m sure I don’t need to remind you — whom Don Nelson regarded as the best to ever play the game.
Am I a little over-excited? You bet. Are my expectations ridiculous?
Let’s watch and see.