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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Washington gambles it can get more from top 50 recruit Robert Upshaw than Fresno State did

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Robert Upshaw (Getty Images)

Washington needs a big man to replace San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell when he graduates after this season. Former Fresno State center Robert Upshaw needs a program willing to offer him the chance to jumpstart his stalled career.

As a result, it appears the Huskies and the onetime top 50 recruit could be a good fit for one-another.

Upshaw told ESPN.com on Tuesday he has chosen Washington over Pac-12 rival Oregon. The 7-foot sophomore will sit out the 2013-14 season and have three years of eligibility left beginning in fall 2014.

What Washington is getting in Upshaw is a potential impact player whose injuries and immaturity prevented him from fully tapping into his potential at Fresno State. The 7-footer battled knee problems leading up to the start of his freshman season and averaged a modest 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game, though he did emerge as a capable rim protector with 39 blocks in just 22 games.

Upshaw would probably still be at Fresno State were slow development his only issue, but he also couldn't stay out of trouble off the floor.

He was dismissed from Fresno State last month after his third violation of team rules since arriving at the school. Coach Rodney Terry previously suspended Upshaw twice in five weeks for undisclosed team rules violations, one sidelining him for three league games in February and the other keeping him out of the Bulldogs' Mountain West quarterfinal loss to Colorado State.

"I went through a tough period at Fresno State," Upshaw told ESPN.com. "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."

If Upshaw is able to follow through on that pledge, his shot blocking and athleticism can be an asset for Washington.

The only other center expected to be on the Huskies' 2014-15 roster is 6-foot-11 FIU transfer Giles Dierickx, who's best known for his face-up game and his mid-range shot. Upshaw would appear to be a better fit for the Huskies because of his ability to run the floor on offense in Washington's up-tempo system while still protecting the rim on the defensive end.

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