We told you a little about potential draft prospect Robert Upshaw back when the Celtics interviewed him at the NBA Draft Combine last month. Upshaw is a 7' tall, 260 pound beast in the low post, who averaged 4.5 blocks per game last year at Washington University before being dismissed from the Huskies for "breaking team rules".
Armed with a ton of upside, there is also plenty of baggage with Upshaw. The dismissal from Washington was his second time being booted off a team in just three years in college. He was also kicked off the Fresno State Bulldogs' team for substance abuse after playing just 22 games in 2012-13 as a freshman. After transferring to Washington, he sat out the 2013-14 season. Then just 19 games into his reborn career with the Huskies last season, he was back to the sidelines for likely the same reason as before (Washington would not disclose specifics on why he was cut).
Via Scott Howard-Cooper at NBA.com, An unidentified NBA executive commented on how well Upshaw was playing before getting the boot. “On talent alone, if he would have stayed throughout the year, he could have crept all the way up to the middle of the first round, maybe late lottery. He was having a great year.”
But now there may be more than just his off-court issues that will hurt his draft stock, as doctors identified a heart issue at last month's combine in Chicago which has forced Upshaw to suspend training and workouts with any NBA teams.
Regarding Robert Upshaw's heart condition, blood tests conducted by NBA doctors will be key to his final evaluation: http://t.co/XAovKrKtLa— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 5, 2015
Jonathan Givony of Draftexpress.com talked to Upshaw's agent Bill Duffy and got the following quote regarding Upshaw's health.
Robert and his family have been fully aware of his medical history. Twice previously this was addressed by highly respected University Cardiologists and Robert was subsequently cleared for all basketball activities. The NBA Combine Doctors are now waiting for the results of a final test, which will be known in a week's time. For good reason, we take this very seriously and support the physicians doing their due diligence. Based on the outcome of previous evaluations, we expect his full clearance. Robert's health comes first and the progress he was making prior to this break in activity was exceptional. We are confident once his training is resumed he'll continue to be in a really good position going forward.
Upshaw is slated as a late first round pick, but his size and talent made him a candidate to be on the rise in the draft, that likely will change with this news. USA Today's mock draft has the Celtics taking Upshaw with the 28th pick overall.
There was a lot of speculation last month that he'd be taken slightly before 28th overall, possibly by a team like the L.A. Lakers or San Antonio Spurs that could also use a big man with that kind of upside and size. But with news of his heart condition coming out, it may mean he'll slip and be available to the Celtics with their second pick of the first round.
The question lurking is would it be worth the risk to take a player that not only might be a liability off the court, but could also be a cause of worry for you when he's on the floor. No long term conclusions have been reached, and further blood testing has been requested by NBA doctors to pinpoint the exact nature of his medical condition.
The Celtics have had a bad history with players and heart failures (Len Bias, Reggie Lewis, Jeff Green). Would you be in favor of them taking a risk on the 7 footer who boasts a 7'5" wingspan? Or is it too much of a gamble that you'd rather they select a safer, smaller option such as Jordan Mickey?
Top Upshaw photo - Elaine Thompson - AP
Bot Upshaw photo - Stephen Brashear - AP
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muggsytobs 6/05/2015 11:00:00 PM Tweet Edit