From Waived to Wonderful
Posted Jan 16 2008 2:19PM
By Lauren Brill
November 30, 2007 -- From waived to wonderful, Beno Udrih has traveled an unusual path to emerge as Sacramento's starting point guard. For the past three seasons, Udrih has been a member of the San Antonio Spurs. Winning two championships with the squad, Udrih spent most of his time at the right, left or center bench position, starting in a total of six games over the course of three years. Change occurred in late October when the Spurs traded Udrih to Minnesota, who immediately waived the Slovenia native. Days later, on Nov. 1, the Sacramento Kings signed the dismissed player.
Mike Bibby, starting point guard for the Kings, suffered an injury to his thumb in late October. The 10-year-vet would be out for 6-10 weeks and Udrih stepped in to provide depth at the point guard position while the ailing leader recovered. The newly acquired point guard sat out for the first four games with the Kings as a result of an injury. After coming off the bench in his first two active games with the Kings, Udrih quickly earned a starting role in Sacramento.
Teams around the league began to take notice of Sacramento's new point guard when the Kings defeated the Pistons 105-95. Udrih had a game-high 23 points and six assists.
Detroit coach, Flip Saunders told the AP, "He had an unbelievable game in the third quarter. He made shots and he made plays. He's been playing extremely well for them."
Facing his former team on Nov. 26, Udrih played with an extra spring in his step. Udrih had a career-best 27 points, helping the Kings to defeat the defending champs 113-99. Defensively, Udrih held Tony Parker, last year's Finals MVP to 12 points and seven assists and forced four turnovers.
After the game San Antonio's coach, Gregg Popovich admitted to the Sacramento Bee, "Beno had a great game. The difference in the game tonight was Beno Udrih. He fed everybody. He scored and did everything they needed... He is a hell of a player."
From a reserve to a starter, Udrih has quickly made a positive impact on his new Kings team, while he only averaged 5.2 points during his tenure with the Spurs, Udrih is currently averaging 14.7 points per game.
Living in a new city, playing for a different team, Udrih is thrilled to be contributing on the floor
rather than sitting on the bench. While the Kings are currently 5-10, they have
beaten some of the elite NBA teams, including the Spurs and the Pistons. Though
Sacramento is missing their veteran point guard, they have discovered an unexpected talent in his absence.