Zeke Upshaw of Grand Rapids Drive dies after collapsing during G League game


Zeke Upshaw of the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive died Monday, two days after he collapsed on the court near the end of a game and was rushed to a hospital. He was 26.

The Drive tweeted a statement from Upshaw’s mother, Jewel Upshaw, in which she said her son died Monday morning after “continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health” in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“To family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans & confidants, thank you for your prayers and support during this most difficult time,” Jewel Upshaw said in the statement.

Details on a memorial were not announced.

The Drive, who are affiliated with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, said in a statement that Upshaw had a “warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off the court.”

G League president Malcolm Turner said the league was “devastated” by Upshaw’s death.

“Zeke was an outstanding young man whose powerful belief in himself and uncommon perseverance led to a successful professional basketball career,” Turner said in a statement. “A beloved member of the Grand Rapids Drive, Zeke’s continuous improvement and tireless work ethic were hallmarks of his career. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and the Drive organization.”

Sarah Jbara, a spokeswoman for the Drive, had told MLive.com that Zeke Upshaw tumbled to the floor Saturday night with about 50 seconds remaining in a home game against the Long Island Nets. He was removed from the court on a stretcher and taken to Spectrum Health.

Upshaw had scored 11 points to help the Drive earn a playoff spot with a 101-99 victory in the regular-season finale.

The undrafted Upshaw was in his second season with the Drive. From Chicago, the 6-foot-6 swingman played three seasons at Illinois State and finished his college career with a year at Hofstra.

“Our hearts hurt with the passing of Zeke,” Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said in a statement. “Zeke was one of the kindest and hardest-working student-athletes I have had the privilege to coach. Zeke laid the groundwork for the success we are having now and we will never forget the impact he had on Hofstra Basketball. Our entire program is heartbroken that he is no longer with us but his influence will continue to be felt throughout the Pride family. His story of perseverance was an amazing one and I can’t believe the world won’t get to see the next chapter. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

The Associated Press was used in this report.

Source : ESPN