Lorenzo Romar will have a challenge in front of him with transfer Robert Upshaw, who signed a financial aid agreement with Washington on Tuesday.
The 7-foot Upshaw was suspended three times from Fresno State during his freshman season in 2012-13. His third suspension was his final and permanent one. The Bulldogs kicked the Fresno native off the team in early August. Less than a month later, he joins the Huskies.
Upshaw will sit out the 2013-14 season because of NCAA transfer rules. He has three years of eligibility left.
Here’s what Lorenzo Romar told the TNT Tuesday night about Upshaw:
Were you after him when he was coming out of high school? “Yeah, but I don’t know at the time, what our chances were to get him then.”
Did you think he would just stay in Fresno? “In recruitment, I don’t know if we got strong feedback from him, strong interest. Just kind of a feel. You can’t go on wild goose chases.”
Why do you think he changed his mind this time? “I think when kids sometimes get recruited out of high school versus down the road, they just maybe change some things that seemed like they were important before aren’t as important. Sometimes they’re looking for more substance.”
What can he do on the floor? “He is a good defensive player. He is a good shot-blocker, a really good shot-blocker. He’s pretty nimble. He can run the floor. He can use either hand around the rim. He has good hands.”
What do you think a year off from games will allow him to do? “Really find himself without pressure. He’ll be playing against Perris Blackwell, Shawn Kemp, Gilles Dierickx, Jernard Jarreau in practice every day; guys with size. He’ll just be able to learn at a slower pace, which I think will really help him.”
What do you want him to work on and improve during that time? “We talk about that. He has offensive ability, he just needs those reps to be in a position to go out and make those plays with confidence.”
Where do you want his weight? “He’ll be able to play around 260 or 270. He’s been as light as 250 and as heavy as 305; 305 is too heavy and 250 is too light. So, 260, 270, where he maintains his mobility and will still be hard to knock around.”
What do you know about him that makes you think he won’t be an off-court problem for you guys? “I think sometimes we go through things in life and we may make mistakes and after we’ve gone through them, it wasn’t what we thought it could be. Whatever the fun was, it wasn’t what it was all cracked up to be or it just wasn’t worth it, and we change our outlook. I think that’s kind of where he’s at.”
When you first talked to him, what did you need to hear from him to know you could work with him and he could eventually be someone you could rely on? “I think any time someone can go out and be responsible for their own actions, it’s a great start. And be prepared to and be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. I think you’re heading in the right direction and those are the things we saw from Robert. Overall, across the board, it really gives him a chance to find himself.”
Does he know Quincy Pondexter (who also went to San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno? “He kind of sees Quincy as a mentor because they were from the same high school.”