BUCKS BEAT: Change isn't for the better for Udrih

2012-02-09T23:52:00Z 2012-04-13T12:24:53Z BUCKS BEAT: Change isn't for the better for UdrihGERY WOELFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times
February 09, 2012 11:52 pm  • 

MILWAUKEE - You would think by now that everybody would know how to pronounce Beno Udrih's name.

After all, Udrih isn't a new kid on the NBA block. He's almost a grizzled veteran, now in his seventh pro season.

But that isn't the case for the Milwaukee Bucks guard. Not a day goes by when his name isn't butchered by someone.

And, it's not just his surname that is mangled. So is his given name.

"A lot of people still get my first name wrong, too," Udrih said. "They call me Beano or Baino or whatever. It's not that hard to say. It's Ben with an o on the end. It's short and simple."

Udrih's last name has been mispronounced so often that it's gotten to the point where Udrih doesn't even bother correcting the offenders.

More often than not, Udrih said he's been called "Ooh-drick."

"If you check my last name with Kirk Hinrich's last name, it's totally different," Udrih said of the Atlanta Hawks guard. "But people keep saying my name like his with ‘rick' at the end.

"I don't why people say it, but I've gotten over it. It's been happening so long now."

So, what is the correct pronouncement of Udrih's last name?

"It's ‘Ooh-dree' The ‘h' at the end is soft," Udrih said.

Udrich admits there are bigger issues in his life than the pronouncement of his name, one being his role with the Bucks.

When Udrih was informed he had been traded by the Sacramento Kings to the Bucks last June, he was genuinely excited. He thought it would be an opportunity to build on the finest season of his career.

The 29-year-old Slovenian averaged a career-high 13.7 points and 4.9 assists a game during the 2010-2011 season. He played in 79 games and started 64 of them. He played major minutes, averaging 34.6 a game.

And this season with the Bucks?

Udrih has yet to start a game and is playing about half the minutes - 16.9 minutes - than he did in Sacramento. He is also averaging a mere 5.2 points and 3.2 assists.

No, this isn't what Udrih had in mind when the trade went down.

"I didn't expect to play 15 minutes a game here," Udrih said. "I thought it would be like between 25 and 30 minutes and maybe play with Brandon (Jennings) a little because Brandon likes to move to the shooting guard, too.

"But it hasn't happened as much as I thought it would. It is what it is."

Udrih's drastic decline in playing time can be attributed to several things. Jennings is getting the vast majority of minutes at point guard, playing 35.6 minutes a game; the surprising play of shooting guard Shaun Livingston, who is playing 23 minutes a game, and the use of swingmen Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Delfino and Stephen Jackson occasionally at shooting guard.

That's of little consolation to Udrih.

"I can't get into a rhythm," Udrih said. "I get two shots coming right into the game and I might miss them and then I'm out of the game.

"Last year, I was a 70 percent shooter inside the paint and had a 50 percent shooter for the whole season. I think, now, I'm a 45 percent shooter (actually 43).

"It's been frustrating; I'm not going to lie. Everybody that knows basketball a little bit knows it's tough coming from 34 minutes to 15 minutes. It's different, totally different, the mentality for coming off the bench.

"I just got to get used to it. They're the head coaches and they put this team together. They play the guys who they feel will help the team.

"I'm ready to play if I get more minutes. I'll try to stay positive as much as I can and do whatever I can when I get in.

"But like I said, it's tough."

It's so tough that Udrih wouldn't say whether he'll exercise his option to play another season with the Bucks.

The 29-year-old Udrih, who is making $7.3 million this season, has a player's option for $7.8 million next season.

"I just want to see how this year turns out," said Udrih, who planned to play in Russia if the NBA lockout hadn't ended. "Whatever I say right now would be out of the blue. I would just be guessing."

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