The Huskies parted ways with third-year sophomore center Robert Upshaw after the 7-foot center violated team rules.
ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman reported the 7-foot center failed multiple drug tests at UW and Fresno State, his previous school.
Multiple sources close to the Huskies told The Seattle Times that Upshaw had been under a strict “last-straw” policy and subject to frequent drug tests at UW.
Losing Upshaw, who led the nation with 4.5 blocks per game, is a huge blow for the Huskies (14-5, 3-4 Pac-12). They’re down to just nine scholarship players and only eight are healthy.
Junior forward Jernard Jarreau is still 3-5 weeks from returning from a knee injury. Washington also lost freshman center Tristan Etienne who quit the team before the season, sophomore point guard Jahmel Taylor transferred to Fresno State last month and fifth-year senior forward Desmond Simmons transferred to Saint Mary’s last May.
The Huskies’ depth on the front line is razor thin. There’s 6-9 senior Shawn Kemp Jr., 6-7 freshman Donaven Dorsey and 7-foot junior Gilles Dierickx.
Washington has about 48 hours to adjust to life without Upshaw. The Huskies were off yesterday and return to practice today to prepare for Wednesday’s game against Stanford, which beat UW 68-60 in overtime on Jan. 4.
For Upshaw, it’s the third straight year he’s run afoul of team rules.
In 2013, he was booted from Fresno State following three violations. Last year, he was told to stay away from the team late in the season to concentrate on off-the-court issues. In hindsight, the reprimand was essentially a suspension, however, the Huskies never referred to it as such.
And now this. It’s uncertain where his future lies.
TUESDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg chronicled Upshaw’s career dating to his missteps at Fresno State. He writes: “(Upshaw) spent part of the summer after his freshman year at the Houston-based treatment program of John Lucas, a former NBA star whose career was derailed by substance abuse and who has gained national acclaim for helping rehabilitate athletes whose lives have careened off track.”
— Daniel Gomis is giving Oregon State a presence in the paint.