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September 16, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Robert Upshaw expected to play 2014-15 season

Washington center Robert Upshaw rejoins Huskies after a few months in limbo. (John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Washington center Robert Upshaw rejoins Huskies after a several months in limbo. (John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Robert Upshaw is participating in team activities for the Washington Huskies just like every other player, a UW spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Coach Lorenzo Romar was unavailable for comment and the team isn’t planning on releasing a statement or making a formal announcement regarding Upshaw, who is on track to play this season – his first at Washington.

The past year has been an uncertain time for the 6-11, 255-pound redshirt sophomore center who arrived at Washington after spending one season at Fresno State.

Due to NCAA transfer rules he sat out last season and his future at Washington appeared in doubt in March when coach Lorenzo Romar said he was “not sure” when asked if Upshaw was going to be on the team for the 2014-15 season.

Romar never spoke in specifics about Upshaw’s situation. He said Upshaw needed to focus on off-the-court issues, when asked why the big man was not on the bench for home games in the latter half of the 2013-14 season.

This summer Upshaw worked out with the Huskies on the court and in the weight room. Still, Romar wouldn’t say definitively in August if the promising center would play this season.

As a senior at Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial, Upshaw averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks per game and was named the co-Player of the Year in the County/Metro Athletic Conference. He was rated as the No. 4 prospect in the state of California and the 55th overall player in the nation in ESPN’s top 100 list in 2012. Upshaw originally committed to Kansas State, but backed out of the verbal agreement before landing at Fresno State.

He averaged 5.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 22 games during the 2012-13 season at Fresno State before being dismissed after repeated violations of team rules.

After leaving Fresno State, Upshaw had offers from UW and Oregon.

If he’s as good as advertised, then Upshaw will move into the starting lineup and would likely be paired with 6-10 forward Jernard Jarreau, who is returning from a season-ending knee injury. They’re expected to upgrade a young front line and significantly improve a defense that ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in points allowed (74.7 ppg) last season.

Washington plays Saint Martin’s in an exhibition Nov. 6 and the regular-season opener is Nov. 14 against South Carolina State.

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