Life hasn’t been slow for Reggie Upshaw after he concluded one of the best men’s basketball careers in Middle Tennessee history.
Since the Blue Raiders were eliminated by Butler in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32, Upshaw has been busy making the round of NBA teams and working out.
The Chattanooga native had one of the greatest four-year careers in Blue Raider history, regardless of sport. He guided MT to two straight NCAA appearances and first-round wins for the first time in school history and graduated with MT career records in wins, games played and games started. He also ended second in career minutes played, third in steals, fourth in bocks, fourth in rebounds, fourth in points, fifth in field goals made and tied for seventh in double-doubles. He was named to the All-Conference USA Second and Third teams and was the 2016 C-USA Tournament MVP.
The Blue Raider star has visited the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and
Sacramento Kings so far to participate in pre-draft workouts alongside fellow NBA hopefuls.
We got a chance to catch up with Upshaw as he prepares for Thursday’s NBA Draft. The Draft begins at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN.
GoBlueRaiders.com: What has the pre-draft process been like? Has it been what you expected?
Upshaw: “As far as travelling to different cities and meeting with different organizations, it’s a lot different than getting recruited to play in college and things like that. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m glad I can take a big step toward my future.”
Are there any particular skillsets you’ve been focusing on since the season ended?
“Just my range. The NBA 3-point line is a lot further back than the college three, so that’s the big thing that the scouts and front office guys are telling me I need to work on. I’ve been trying to adjust to that as much as I can.”
You’ve been to quite a few places for interviews and workouts – do any of them stand out as your favorites?
“I was in Atlanta last week, and I would love to play there. It’s two hours away from Chattanooga, so I’d be able to see my family whenever I wanted to and they’d be able to make it to most of the games. But, really, all of the cities I’ve visited and the teams I’ve met with, I can see myself contributing to all of them. I would love to play in any city.”
What have teams been saying about your game that they like?
“They’ve been telling me they just like how I play in general, being as versatile as I am. They always bring up the game against Michigan State about how it’s the game that thrust not only myself but Middle Tennessee onto a national level. Then they follow it up with how we did this year and how I was able to play throughout the course of the season following up that game.”
Have you gotten the chance to work out with anyone special?
“I’ve worked out with a ton of great college players. In Atlanta, I worked out with Przemek Karnowski from Gonzaga. It was pretty cool, because you always see those guys but never get to meet them because we’re on the east coast and they’re out west.”
What do you have left to do in the days leading up to the draft and do you have any plans to watch it?
“I’m just going to continue to work out in Nashville until the draft, then on Thursday I’ll drive back to Chattanooga to watch it with my family. We’ll probably go eat or something like that to try and get my mind off it.”
It looks like you played well at the Portsmouth Invitation Tournament (PIT), averaging 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. How cool of an experience was that to play against your former teammate, JaCorey Williams?
“It was pretty neat. There weren’t many players there that had another teammate there as well, so to go there and represent Middle Tennessee and to showcase what we do at a high level, it was cool to show everybody that Middle Tennessee is just as good as anywhere else.”
What’s it like knowing the dream you’ve been working toward essentially your whole life is right there in front of you?
“It’s a great feeling to be so close to something you’ve worked toward your whole life. It’s one of those days you don’t think will ever come, but once it’s here you have to be able to take it all in and enjoy it as much as you can.”