Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/29/12
MILWAUKEE -- Ekpe Udoh does not want to play center. The recently acquired big man, at 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds with a long wingspan, looks like he could fill that role nicely for the Milwaukee Bucks. But, if he has any say in the matter, he'd rather stick to the power forward position."If I have to play the 5 (center), so be it, but I would like to play the 4 (power forward)," Udoh said this week.When the Bucks traded Andrew Bogut to Golden State earlier this month, they were left without any true centers on their roster. Drew Gooden (6-10, 230), woefully undersized by traditional standards, has been starting in that spot. And Since Udoh was traded to Milwaukee with Monta Ellis for Bogut, he has served primarily as Gooden's backup at center.However, in Tuesday's win at home over the Atlanta Hawks, with Ersan Ilyasova out with back spasms, Udoh started at power forward."That's what I grew up playing," Udoh said. "You've got some real centers like the (Andrew) Bynums, Dwight Howards, and that's not my body frame. But I'll never shy away from it. I just want to be on the court."Udoh is not much of an offensive threat, averaging 4.6 points per game so far in his two-year NBA career, but he has been the Bucks' best defensive player since putting on a Milwaukee uniform seven games ago."I've always been there on defense," Udoh said. "That's really what I do. I use my length and communicate when my teammates get beat. Sometimes I may be outmatched, but I have to use my strengths to my advantage."One of the areas Udoh wants to work on most is rebounding. He was averaging only 3.8 rebounds per game in 21.8 minutes with the Warriors this season but has already upped that to 5.1 rebounds in 19.9 minutes for the Bucks."That's one knock on me, that I haven't been able to rebound as well," Udoh said. "I have to key in on that and help my team any way I can."Coach Scott Skiles, known for his defense-first mindset, said after a recent game that the only good defensive minutes his team has had in recent weeks have been when Udoh was on the floor."You'd have to be blind not to see what Ekpe can do out there," Skiles said. "He's a high, high-level defender. He protects the rim. He's really shown the ability to move laterally and contain people."Skiles mentioned that he even had Udoh guarding Carmelo Anthony in a recent game in New York and that it worked.Given that there's not a center for Skiles to turn to, plus a small backcourt of Brandon Jennings at 6-1 and Monta Ellis at 6-3, the coach knows the Bucks will be playing a lot of small ball the rest of this season."It's just kind of the way the league is going," Skiles said. "Coaches put small players out there quite a bit, and they're very difficult matchups. Since we don't have a low-post (threat), which most teams don't have a low post, go-to guy, we're spreading the floor, letting our ballhandlers work and pitch it out and knock down threes."Follow Paul Imig on Twitter
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