Robert Upshaw, the Washington Huskies' third-year sophomore center, has been dismissed from the men's basketball program for violating team rules, UW announced.
Upshaw scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked five shots in UW's game at Utah on Sunday night. He spoke with reporters afterward before the Huskies boarded their bus for the airport, where they boarded a charter flight back to Seattle.
On Monday afternoon, UW released the following statement:
University of Washington sophomore center Robert Upshaw has been dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules, head coach Lorenzo Romar announced on Monday.
“We wish Rob well as he moves forward in his life, and we will do our best to support him in the future,” said Romar.
Romar, Washington players and other UW athletic department officials will have no further comment on the matter.
It's a major blow to the Huskies' already precarious NCAA tournament hopes. Upshaw is leading the nation in blocks per game (4.4), and already shattered UW's single-season blocks record. His 7-foot presence allowed the Huskies to play a different style of defense, and gave them a rim protector in their 2-3 zone defense. Some NBA draft projections listed him as a first-round pick.
Washington is the second program to dismiss Upshaw. He was also dismissed by Fresno State following his freshman season there for violating team rules. And Romar was unsure last season, while Upshaw was redshirting at UW, whether he'd be able to handle his off-court issues -- neither party ever specified what those were -- well enough to play in 2014-15.
Once practices began, though, Romar and Upshaw both spoke as if Upshaw had matured during his redshirt season.
Upshaw's dismissal leaves the Huskies with just nine scholarship players, and only eight of them are healthy -- junior forward Jernard Jarreau is expected to miss at least another 2-4 weeks while recovering from knee surgery.