DU's Chis Udofia: NCAA's Most Underrated Player

by Scott Henry

With nearly 4,500 players in college basketball, they can't all be stars. Whether they toil in the shadow of more lauded teammates, play in minor conferences or simply on losing teams, there may be reasons their names aren't widely known. That still doesn't make it fair, however.

1.)  CHRIS UDOFIA - The Denver Pioneers can be brutal to watch if you want players to run. Coach Joe Scott's offense was the second-slowest in America last season according to Ken Pomeroy. 

Still, DU had the talent to threaten for an NCAA berth, and team leader Chris Udofia is the prime example. 

At only 6'6" and 200 pounds, Udofia is still one of the nation's most feared shot-blocking threats. A career two-BPG player, Udofia had only one game with no swats last season. His 9.0 block percentage ranked 64th nationally. Oh, and he swiped 1.6 steals per game last year, too. 

On the offensive end, Udofia led the Pioneers in scoring and should see a bigger share of the chances with top wingman Royce O'Neale transferring to Baylor. Udofia's been a steady 50-percent shooter throughout his career and is an improving three-point presence, but will need greater consistency at the foul line. 

 Denver's deliberate style will make it difficult for any player to put up gaudy offensive numbers, but Udofia will get his scores by being one of the nation's top defensive playmakers. As he told the Denver Post last January, "Different years, you have different jobs. We have a good bunch of players and no one has to do it all." 

Without O'Neale, Udofia will have to do a bit more, but in a new conference—the Nate Wolters-less Summit League—Denver will still have the horses to contend for its first-ever NCAA bid.

10 comments:

Dunker said...


Great individual honor. Whoever wrote the piece is spot on; he did his homework. I'm sure Royce was close to making the list also.

Anonymous said...

Brutal to watch is right. Dull and boring may be the only thing to do with a dearth of talent but the game experience is awful. Scott performed a miracle to get them as far as he did but it's just not fun to attend a game.

DU_Hockey_1 said...

Denver is pre-season predicted to be a 12 seed at the Dance - let's hope that works out.

Anonymous said...

Joe Scott is a miracle worker but with the talent available it looks like DU will miss the Big Dance and will be relegated to another NIT appearance.

timt89 said...

They have to win their tournament to go.

I would disagree with calling them 'boring'. If you call a tenacious defense and a disciplined offense boring be my guest. I love the defense and passing game they play. I much prefer our style to the run and gun sloppy basketball that passes as D-1 at most universities.

The talent has been greatly increased since Joe Scott got here-- and it is getting better every year.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You mean the type of sloppy play that gets students to show up and teams into the NCAAs? Yeah, wouldn't want that type of play. I understand why Joe has been forced to use this system with the players he has but let's not kid ourselves that this team has much of a chance of getting to the NCAAs let alone advancing past the first round.

How about our girls volleyball team? They seem to be a team on the road to success. Does Boone ever go to their games? Even one game? Come on, let's get our priorities straight here. Let's support the best teams at our great University. Let's go DU!

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You mean the type of sloppy play that gets students to show up and teams into the NCAAs? Yeah, wouldn't want that type of play. I understand why Joe has been forced to use this system with the players he has but let's not kid ourselves that this team has much of a chance of getting to the NCAAs let alone advancing past the first round.

How about our girls volleyball team? They seem to be a team on the road to success. Does Boone ever go to their games? Even one game? Come on, let's get our priorities straight here. Let's support the best teams at our great University. Let's go DU!

Dunker said...

Unfortunately, our woman's volleyball program is not very strong. Women's soccer, now that's another story.
Tim is pretty much spot on. Because we have some good athletes on the hoops team, we run more then the typical "Princeton Offense". Watching Princeton pass the ball is a thing of beauty. Gtown and Indiana run similar systems, but with better athletes.
We stand a good chance to win the Summit League conference tournament. That is probably our only way into the NCAA's. We are not going 26-4 in the regular season. I think 19-23 wins is realistic.
By the way Anon 12:51, Joe recruits players to play his system.

Anonymous said...

If you love basketball, you should love to watch DU play.

DU plays team basketball - five guys working together, precision passing, screens, backdoor cuts, strong shooting and now, better athletes and a team that wins about 80% of its home games. DU is one of the most efficient teams in the country.

You don't need fast breaking team to play exciting basketball.

Anonymous said...

Oh god, have you been to a game? It's like watching paint dry. BORING!