Four years ago, Zeke Upshaw arrived on Long Island, New York for his final collegiate season. As someone who didn’t see much playing time at Illinois State, a year at Hofstra was just what the doctor ordered for Upshaw. This gave him an opportunity to showcase his talents and his shooting ability and he took advantage of that.
Upshaw attributed his production on the court to the confidence Joe Mihalich, head coach at Hofstra, instilled in him.
“Just the overall confidence that Coach Mihalich instilled in me,” Zeke Upshaw told KnicksJournal.com. “I had the confidence at Illinois State. It just took [Coach] Mihalich to bring that out of me and he let me play and he gave me the keys to the team that year and I tried to go out there and prove that I could play at a high level.”
In his senior season, Upshaw averaged 19.9 points and 4.2 rebounds on 40.3 percent shooting from the field and 34.9 percent from beyond the arc in 36.5 minutes per game.
After finishing his collegiate career, Upshaw spent his first two professional seasons in Europe. In his second season in Luxembourg, the Hofstra product wanted to show that he could play at a high level and he certainly showed that. He had his most efficient shooting season as a professional. His 46.8 shooting from the field, 41.1 percent from three-point range, and 78.2 percent from the charity stripe were all career highs.
Upshaw had an impact on the glass, while also getting to the rim and drawing contact. He averaged 20.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
After playing with Basket Esch in Luxembourg, Upshaw returned to the states to play in the NBA G League and felt he had something to prove.
“After going to Luxembourg, I wanted to prove that I could still play at a high level,” Upshaw said. “Honestly, that league over there isn’t respected that much in Europe, so I wanted to come over and show that I could still play at a very high level and compete, so that was my idea when I picked the D-League.”
Upshaw displayed his solid jumper with Grand Rapids, while shooting a tick under 39 percent (38.4 percent) from deep.
The Hofstra product drained threes off catch-and-shoot opportunities, pull-up threes in transition, and off kickouts. He’s shown the ability to knock down threes late in the shot clock as well. All of this resulted in a career-best 38% from deep for the Drive. Upshaw had the opportunity to showcase his versatility where he would get blocks in transition and showed his the ability to get to the basket.
While Upshaw believes his versatility is valuable, he is looking to continuing to improve his overall game.
“I think it’s valuable,” Upshaw said. “I just want to keep improving at all areas, so that I can continue to say that I’m a versatile guy, so that’s been my main thing over my professional career is to continue to get better at every area of the game.”
With the 2017-18 season nearing, Upshaw doesn’t have his plans set on whether he’ll return to the NBA G League or head back overseas.
“Not right now,” Upshaw said. “I’m just looking for different options. I want to explore both avenues and just find the right opportunity and the right fit for me this year, so I’m open to both routes. I’m just looking for a good opportunity.”
One thing Upshaw has shown throughout his career is consistent improvement in his game. He took huge strides in year two in Luxembourg and played a significant role with the Grand Rapids last season. Whether Upshaw returns to the NBA G League or heads back to Europe, he is looking to showcase his versatility and make an impact on a club.