The most prized recruit of Rodney Terry's tenure at Fresno State will leave the Bulldogs without ever making the impact many predicted.
Robert Upshaw, one of the top centers in the Class of 2012, was dismissed from Fresno State on Wednesday evening after his third violation of team rules since arriving at the school last fall. 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.
Even before Upshaw's spate of trouble began, he wasn't providing Fresno State much of a boost on the floor. 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.
That Upshaw didn't make more impact at Fresno State is a disappointment considering the hype his signing generated.
Originally committed to Kansas State, Upshaw reneged on that decision in the spring of his senior year and reopened his recruitment. The consensus top 100 recruit chose hometown Fresno State over the likes of USC, Washington, Cal and others, giving Terry a centerpiece for his first recruiting class, one that he hopes will provide a foundation for the Bulldogs' rebuilding process.
Despite the loss of Upshaw and UNLV-bound transfer Kevin Olekaibe, there's still hope that Fresno State can make strides after an 11-19 season last year that began rockily but ended on a promising note. The Bulldogs return senior guard Allen Huddleston and ex-Kansas signee Braeden Anderson and add another promising crop of newcomers that includes Oklahoma State transfer Cezar Guerrero, who sat out the 2012-13 season.
Still, the potential for Upshaw to develop into an elite defensive center was clearly key to Fresno State's hopes of rebuilding quickly. Now the Bulldogs will have to go on without him.