After a disappointing season in which the Washington men's basketball team missed the NCAA tournament for a third straight year, fans are desperate for something to get them excited about the program.
Even though he hasn't played a minute for the Huskies, and didn't put up flashy numbers in his one year at Fresno State, transfer Robert Upshaw is already drawing a ton of buzz about his play, as well as his personality. Two reports from local UW basketball reporters were released on Monday regarding Upshaw's status with the team, leaving many Husky fans wondering, whats the deal with Robert Upshaw?
On Monday morning, Seattle Times UW basketball beat writer Percy Allen released this article saying that the future for Upshaw at the UW is not looking bright. As many have probably heard by now, Upshaw was not on the bench or in attendance for many of the UW's games to end this season. Head coach Lorenzo Romar first said Upshaw didn't attend because he had to focus on academics, but later said he needed to attend to some personal matters.
Allen implies in his article that he had talked to sources close to the team and said they would be surprised if Upshaw returned to the team next season. If his report was true, the UW's biggest post presence and most likely starting center would not be a Husky in 2014.
Then on Monday night, 247sports/Realdawg reporter Lars Hanson released this report saying the exact opposite of what Allen released earlier in the morning. Hanson wrote he had talked to a source with "intimate knowledge of the situation" and they confirmed Upshaw took the games and other time off to get his life in order. The source added he was surprised Upshaw has made it this far at the UW and the only thing that can stop Upshaw, is Upshaw himself.
The rest of the article goes on to say Upshaw is expected to play a big role in the UW's front-court next season.
So where does Upshaw stand with the Huskies? Romar has been fairly quiet on the situation, as he should be, so we may not know until the summer or fall. Either way, Upshaw is a player UW fans should get excited about.
With Jernard Jarreau returning from injury, he and Upshaw could pair up to give the UW the post production the team has been missing the last few seasons. With most of the back-court players returning for the Huskies next season, Upshaw could be the missing piece that could propel the Huskies back into the NCAA tournament.
After a practice in October, Allen had high praise for Upshaw, who seemed to be dominating the UW front-court in daily drills.
"With Upshaw, everything is a dunk. And not your garden-variety slam. He flushes with velocity. He punches the basketball through the rim with anger and no concern for anyone who may be in his path. It got to the point in practice where UW coaches told Upshaw to work on layups rather than dunking the ball every time." Allen reported after a practice on Oct. 30.
Upshaw was a rated a four star and the 55th overall player in the class of 2012 by ESPN. He played at San Joaquin Memorial High School, the same school that produced former UW star Quincy Pondexter, as well as Stanford alums Brook and Robin Lopez. Upshaw held offers from Georgetown and Louisville but decided to play for his hometown school, Fresno State.
He averaged just 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes during his one season with the Bulldogs. Upshaw found himself in the dog-house with Bulldogs head coach Rodney Terry, and was ultimately kicked off the team for multiple violations of team rules.
If he is able to keep his record clean at the UW, Upshaw may become a dominating figure in the Pac-12 and make the Huskies a yearly attendee to the NCAA tournament. If not, the Huskies may find themselves declining a CBI invite again in 2015. Keep an eye out for what happens with Upshaw, because a lot lies in his hands between now and the tip-off to next season.
Will Upshaw be a Husky next season? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.