Zeke Upshaw Dies at Age 26 After Collapsing on Court During G League Game

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2018

MISSISSAUGA, ON - JANUARY 10: Zeke Upshaw #0 of the Grand Rapids Drive shoots the ball against the Santa Cruz Warriors during the NBA G-League Showcase on January 10, 2018 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
Randy Belice/Getty Images

Grand Rapids Drive forward Zeke Upshaw died Monday morning after he had collapsed during the team's G League game Saturday against the Long Island Nets at DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was 26.

The Drive provided a statement from Jewel Upshaw, the Chicago native's mother:

"After continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health, Zeke made his transition at 11:16 a.m. To family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans and confidants, thank you for your prayers and support during this most difficult time."

WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids reported Upshaw went into cardiac arrest Saturday. A cause of death was not immediately released.

Upshaw rose to prominence while playing high school ball for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

Troy Caldwell, who coached Upshaw during his time with the U-High Maroons, spoke Monday with Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com about his impact:

"Beyond the best basketball player that I ever had, he became the face of our basketball program and embraced it. Hard worker and extremely talented, and he always understood the work that had to go into being a talented basketball player.

"You don't change the culture of a program in a locker room unless you have leaders, and he was definitely our leader. He was well respected and not just on the team but in the city for how he played and carried himself."

Upshaw played three seasons at Illinois State before moving to Hofstra for his senior season. He went undrafted in 2014.

His professional career included stints with the Helios Suns (Slovenia), Basket Esch (Luxembourg) and the Drive, whom he joined in 2016.


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