Robert Upshaw is headed into the spring AAU season with a seemingly lofty goal.
"I just want to prove that I'm a good basketball player; I want to show that I'm one of the best out there," Upshaw said.
After the Fullcourt Press Easter Classic, that goal is firmly within reach.
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial 2012 center has made continuous strides in his game over the past few years and now he's positioned himself to become one of the West Coast's most highly recruited prospects.
What's most impressive about Upshaw's improvement is that he did it despite not playing this past season, due to transfer rules following his arrival at San Joaquin Memorial from Fresno Edison.
His mobility has gotten better and his game has too. He's attacking the rim, developing a hook shot and when posting up, consistently spinning off the defender and throwing it down.
"I've gotten a lot better," Upshaw said. "I've been getting back into conditioning and I feel great. I've lost 30 pounds, 11 percent of body fat and gained some muscle, so I feel good.
"I've improved a lot. I'm getting to the basket, I stopped putting the ball down, and now I just keep it up and try to bash it. I'm trying to be explosive."
Not playing this past season didn't keep schools from traveling to Fresno to see Upshaw.
"A lot of schools have been coming to see me at practice," he said. "Even though I couldn't play, they still came to see me. I feel very fortunate that they did that."
Upshaw already has a good offer list of Arizona – his latest offer, as of Wednesday – to go with Arizona State, Fresno State, LSU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC and Utah, and he's sure to be adding to that in the coming weeks and months.
The good news for the schools that have yet to throw their hat in the ring is that Upshaw isn't anticipating making a decision any time soon.
"I have Pac-10 schools, ACC, Big 12 and SEC," Upshaw said. "I'm getting looks from a lot of places and a lot of good schools. I won't make my decision until next year. A lot of mistakes happen so I would like to weigh my options out and go from there."
Upshaw isn't going just for the best basketball program, but wants to go to a place that he can develop off the court as well.
"I'm looking for academics," he said. "That's a big thing; I want to have an education. I don't want to just play basketball, I want to get an education and make something of myself."
For now, Upshaw isn't worried about his recruitment. He just wants to get better.
"I don't have any visits set up," Upshaw said. "I've got to get better. I missed a whole year and I think it's time for me to get back in the gym."
Robert Upshaw gearing for big spring
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