The Utah Jazz have officially signed big man Ekpe Udoh to a multiyear contract, the team announced Friday.
Udoh, who was picked sixth overall in the 2010 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, wasn't able to carve out a role early in his career. He spent the last two years playing for Fenerbahce Ulker, a professional team in Turkey.
There, the 6-foot-10, 245-pounder stood out, earning numerous accolades. The crowning one came in May when he was named Euroleague Final Four MVP as Fenerbahce won the Euroleague title.
Now the 30-year-old is ready to give it another go in the NBA, returning with the mindset that he needs to capitalize more on this chance than he did his first stint in the league.
"I just didn't make the most of my opportunities there," he said. "I think I fit in that game when I first got drafted, I just didn't take care of my business at the end of the day, and now it's the same mindset going forward. I need to be ready and I need to handle my business when I'm given that opportunity."
As far as the chance to make his return to the NBA with the Jazz is concerned, Udoh said he watched the team during the playoffs in the spring and described the young group as "tough-nosed and ready to get after it."
Having long been known as a good defender, Udoh said he improved offensively in Turkey since he was a key component of Fenerbahce's attack, and Utah head coach Quin Snyder has told him he likes his passing ability.
"I'm more aggressive offensively and I think that's the key, is my belief in myself, knowing that I can play at any level," Udoh said Friday. "I look forward to this challenge. Five years in the NBA didn't go how I wanted it to, but now I'm back and I'm ready. I can't wait to get out there."
A fan favorite in Turkey, Udoh said people there have expressed disappointment in his decision to return to the NBA.
"They're upset right now," he said. "I'm still getting that from the fans, and I understand. I just threw myself into their culture and tried to learn a little bit."
As a Baylor alum, Udoh said he has already built a relationship with Jazz general manager and former Bear Dennis Lindsey, while he and Joe Ingles were teammates on the LA Clippers in 2014 when Ingles was cut during training camp, which made him available for Utah to sign.
Additionally, Udoh is looking forward to playing with another one of the Jazz's recent signees, Royce O'Neale, who also finished his collegiate career at Baylor.
"He's a tough-nosed kid, ready to work, and I'm excited that we've got two Baylor Bears on the same team," Udoh said. "I know he's going to be ready. It's a great opportunity for him. Now we've just got to continue to get better. That's really the key in the NBA."
The terms of Udoh's deal weren't formally announced Friday, but the Deseret News previously confirmed that it is a 2-year contract worth $6.5 million.