August 30, 2010

2012 big makes first trip to Berkeley

2012 big man Robert Upshaw had himself quite a busy weekend. The 6-foot-11, 235-pounder out of Fresno (Calif.) Edison got the chance to strut his stuff in the Nor Cal Clash on Sunday at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, going off for 15 points, 11 boards and seven blocks, but, before that, the four-star prospect paid his first unofficial visit to Cal.

"It was my first time, and it was great," Upshaw said of his Saturday visit. "It was great. The environment, it was just calm, it was quiet, I just had a great time.

"Cal is one of the best transition teams around, and the coaches said with my offensive skills, the potential that they would have if I decide to go, is great. I think that's one of the things that could happen."

Another advantage for Cal, of course, is head coach Mike Montgomery's reputation for producing dominant post players.

"He's a real big man's coach," Upshaw said. "That's one of the things that I'm looking for."

The No. 96 player in the 2012 class has seen quite a bit of interest lately, especially with his improved mobility-something that he's been working on very hard over the summer.

"I'm just keeping it in the gym every day, and I'm just looking forward to getting there," Upshaw said. "I really don't know a lot about college basketball, but I'm hoping I get there. I'm still learning about it. Everything's new to me, but I'm doing well. I want to improve on everything: handling the ball, shooting the ball, back-to-the-basket, dominating guys, rebounding the ball, blocking shots, everything, I want to do everything. I don't want to just be a one-move guy. I want to be able to do everything."

Asked what he thinks the Bears coaching staff liked about his game, Upshaw displayed humility and focus. Just a junior, he's in no rush to dive into the deep end of recruiting just yet.

"That's for them to watch, and for me to just play," he said. "They said they're really interested in me, how I'm not just a one-dimensional guy."

While Upshaw does indeed take up a lot of space, he moves well and is possessed of a good sense of where to be on the court. He dominates down low, plays hard and is a scrapper on defense. Right now, he's focused primarily on himself and on improving his all-around game. The recruiting process is-for now-on the back-burner.

"I was just there to play," Upshaw said of the Nor Cal Clash. "I wasn't there to worry about anything else. I got to play with a lot of good guys like Dominic Artis, and I got to compete against some guys from that area, and it was a great experience. I shot the ball well-even though I missed more free shots that I have in a while- and I rebounded the ball well. I dished the ball out-I did a lot of good things that game."

Upshaw spent his visit on Saturday speaking with the Cal coaching staff and players, as well as looking around the campus. While recruiting is still not foremost in his mind, Upshaw said that the visit made a big impression.

"I got a chance to meet one or two of them," Upshaw said of the current Bears. "I talked with the coaches, and they just let me know that they're very interested in me, and that I'm one of the guys they're recruiting and that they hope that I come to Cal.

"The guys and the environment, that was the best-the coaches and the vibe."


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