Topic: Robert Upshaw
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October 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM
It’s probably not a sign for immediate success when the player making the most jaw-dropping plays at practice is the guy who’s ineligible to play this season.
But if Washington’s season pans out as predicted – the Huskies were picked to finish eighth in a preseason media poll – UW fans can take solace that next season’s team will be anchored by promising big man Robert Upshaw.
The 7-0, 260-pound sophomore transferred to UW after one season at Fresno State where he averaged 5.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 22 games last season.
Admittedly, Upshaw was out of shape earlier in the year and has only recently began feeling like his conditioning has improved.
During the early portions of Tuesday’s practice, Upshaw made a big impression on a small group of observers gathered inside Harshman Court at Alaska Airlines Arena.
In the video (below), Upshaw promised he’d score 30 points at practice. You can see in the clip that his three-point shot needs work, but he was nearly perfect near the basket.
With Upshaw, everything is a dunk. And not your garden-variety slam. He flushes with ferocity. He punches the basketball through the rim with anger and no concern for anyone who may be in his path. It got to a point in practice where UW coaches told Upshaw to work on layups rather than dunking the ball every time.
Defensively, Upshaw displayed terrific awareness and shot-blocking instincts. On one play, it appeared as if a post player wiggled free inside for a layup before Upshaw swooped in from behind and swatted the ball out of bounds. That block was better than any of his dunks and it produced a chorus of laughter from players while courtside observers watched slack-jawed.
You don’t want to get too far ahead of things, but it’s not a stretch to suggest Upshaw has the potential be one of the best big men in the Lorenzo Romar era. For starters, the list isn’t very long with distinguished players. The Huskies have done an outstanding job of producing NBA guards in the past decade, but not so much with post players.
Upshaw could be the next Husky big man in the pros.
He was No. 52 on Rival.com’s top 150 list and 55th in ESPN’s top 100 rankings after his senior year at San Joaquin Memorial High. All three major recruiting sites listed him as a four-star prospect.
There’s still the question as to why Upshaw flamed out at Fresno State. Citing advanced metrics, ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan cited just how disastrous Upshaw was offensively last season and how incredible he was on the defensive end.
Upshaw said he’s matured and plans to use this season to work on the areas of his game that are lacking, specifically his shooting.
His presence at practice is also a benefit for Washington’s Perris Blackwell, another post player transfer. At 6-9, Blackwell needs to be creative inside against Upshaw who has a 7-4 wingspan.
“They help each other because every day if one of them doesn’t bring it, the other one is going to abuse them on the basketball floor,” Romar said. “If Perris doesn’t bring it, Robert is going to have his way. And if Robert doesn’t bring it, then Perris is going to have his way. So they know they both have to challenge each other.
“Both of them are usually on separate teams. Both of them are great finishers. Very aggressive offensively and they command the respect of the defense. They’re good passers so they definitely help your team.”
— Roberto Nelson scored a team-high 15 points to lead Oregon State to a 69-42 win over Concord University, a NAIA Division II team.
— It’s a make-or-break year for Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins who told the San Francisco Examiner: “Tthis year to be a success for our group, we should make the tournament.
— Not sure how a team can be a sleeper when it’s led by a player as dynamic as Jahii Carson, but many believe Arizona State is flying under the radar.
— UCLA coach Steve Alford needs to win the recruiting battle in Los Angeles, but his first 2014 recruit is Gyorgy Goloman, a 6-9 native from Hungary who is playing high school ball in Florida.
— Former USC coach Kevin O’Neil, who also coached at Arizona, has landed a job as an analyst for Fox Sports 1.
September 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM
Washington announced Tuesday night former Fresno State 7-foot center Robert Upshaw signed a letter of financial intent with the Huskies.
“We are very excited to have Robert Upshaw enroll at the University of Washington,” coach Lorenzo Romar said in a statement released by the school. “There are not many post guys out there like him in college basketball. We’re anxious to begin working with him to help him reach his overall potential.”
Per NCAA transfer rules, Upshaw will sit out the 2013-14 season. He’ll have three year of eligibility remaining.
Signing Upshaw puts Washington at the maximum 13 scholarships.
Fifth-year seniors C.J. Wilcox and Perris Blackwell will depart after the season giving UW two spots on the roster. The Huskies received verbal commitments from Timberline High wing Donaven Dorsey and Canadian big man Tristan Etienne, which means there’s going to be more departures if UW lands any more 2014 prospects.
Washington’s biggest target Zylan Cheatham, a consensus four-star power forward, returned from a visit last weekend to San Diego State. He told AztecSportsReport.com Publisher that it was a “phenomenal” trip.
“You couldn’t really ask for a better visit than that,” he said. “I really enjoyed myself and that kind of hands-on experience of what I would be experiencing as a freshman at San Diego State.”
It appears as if Cheatham, a 6-9 and 205-pound big man, has narrowed his list to 3-4 schools.
He has official visits planned to Washington (Sept. 28) and New Mexico (Oct. 11). The Phoenix native also took an unofficial to Arizona State, but hasn’t scheduled an official visit.
Cheatham originally wanted to announce his decision on his Nov. 17 birthday, but said he may make a decision shortly after his last visit and sign a letter of intent on his birthday. The early signing period is Nov. 13-20.
September 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Robert Upshaw, a 7-foot, 250-pound center who played at Fresno State last season, told ESPN.com he’s going to transfer to Washington. He’ll sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
He averaged 4.1 point and 3.8 rebounds in 22 games last season.
Fresno State dismissed Upshaw from the team in August citing violations of school policy.
The Bulldogs issued a statement on the dismissal that read: “Fresno State Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh announced Wednesday that Bulldog men’s basketball student-athlete Robert Upshaw has been dismissed from the team for violations of Athletic Department policy. Upshaw was informed of his dismissal Wednesday afternoon. This will be Fresno State’s only comment on the matter.”
Upshaw was suspended twice – missing a total of four games including the Mountain West Conference Tournament – before being kicked off the team.
He told ESPN.com: “I went through a tough period at Fresno State. I had some maturity problems and didn’t focus on what was in front of me. It all made me realize that I need to focus on what’s important. I love the game.”
Upshaw was considered a four-star recruit by the top recruiting services when he was at San Joaquin Memorial High where he averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks as a senior. Rivals.com ranked him 52nd nationally, ESPN.com had him at 55 and Scout.com put him 18th on their list of top centers in the nation.
He initially picked Kansas State, but decommitted when coach Frank Martin left for South Carolina. Upshaw then chose Fresno State over Washington, California and USC.
This time the Huskies beat out Oregon in the recruiting derby for the promising big man.
“I had a nice visit with both Washington and Oregon,” Upshaw told ESPN.com. “I just felt like Washington was a better fit for me as a player. I liked it there, I felt comfortable and am looking forward to a new start.”
Washington now has 13 players on scholarship.
The Huskies should be loaded at the low-post players in 2014 with Upshaw, junior Shawn Kemp Jr., sophomore Jernard Jarreau, junior Gilles Dierickx, and Tristan Etienne, a 2014 prospect who verbally committed to the Huskies.