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Report: Potential first rounder Robert Upshaw could sign in D-League after Washington dismissal

Robert Upshaw, Gary Payton II

Oregon State’s Gary Payton II, left, reaches for the ball as Washington’s Robert Upshaw comes down with a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


The University of Washington dismissed Robert Upshaw from its team, the same thing Fresno State did last season.

Upshaw failed multiple drug tests at both schools, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

What’s next for the 7-footer who was averaging 10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game?

He might try to follow P.J. Hairston’s path from disciplined in college to the D-League to the first round of the NBA draft.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

As a precursor to the 2015 NBA draft, exiled University of Washington 7-footer Robert Upshaw is seriously considering a leap to the NBA Development League, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The NBA does not allow players enrolled at the beginning of a school year to make the immediate move into the D-League unless there’s corroboration that the NCAA or university has declared them ineligible. The D-League has yet to gather information on Upshaw’s case, sources said, but the path of P.J. Hairston – who was declared ineligible at North Carolina in December 2013 – gives Upshaw hope that his case will be seen in a similar way.

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Upshaw has first-round talent. He’s a commanding presence in the paint, especially defensively.

But teams will look deeply into his red flags, including both his dismissals and injury history. If it turns out Upshaw did nothing illegal in the state of Washington, he’ll get a little slack, though only a little. Teams will still question his inability to pass drug tests he’ll be subject to in the NBA. Larry Sanders’ recent issues work against Upshaw, fairly or not.

The D-League could be a good place for Upshaw to turn perception, especially for whichever team’s affiliate claims him.

Sometimes, the value of NBA teams having their own D-League affiliate is debatable. They could just be developing talent for other teams, because anyone can sign D-Leaguers who aren’t on NBA assignments or who don’t have their draft rights held by an NBA team.

But this is a clear case where it’s a benefit. Any team considering drafting Upshaw will want as much info on him as possible, and a great way to get it would be working with him the rest of the season.

The Pistons’ affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, have priority on the waiver wire. If Upshaw joins the D-League, they should claim him. If they don’t, I doubt he’d drop far.