NORMAL — Illinois State’s Zeke Upshaw has decided to transfer to another school for his senior basketball season.
The 6-foot-6 Upshaw played in 19 of ISU’s 33 games this season, averaging 2.5 points, 1.1 rebounds and 7.4 minutes. He had a career-high 11 points on Jan. 2 in a 79-72 home loss to Creighton.
Upshaw is on track to earn his bachelor’s degree in May, which would enable him to enroll in a graduate program at another school and not have to sit out a year.
ISU head coach Dan Muller said Upshaw has not decided on a new school.
“He just wanted a bigger role and he can play right away because he’ll graduate, so he has an opportunity,” Muller said Thursday upon returning from a recruiting trip.
“He’s a great kid and was a pleasure to coach for a year. I really want Zeke to be happy, so hopefully he can go where that can happen.”
Upshaw was redshirted in 2009-10 after being recruited out of Chicago University High School. He averaged 0.9 points and 5.3 minutes in 2010-11, appearing in 16 games, and 1.4 points and 5.6 minutes in 27 games as a sophomore.
His departure gives Muller an additional scholarship after the Redbirds went 18-15 overall and 8-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference in his first season.
“As of right now we have three (available),” Muller said. “Certainly we’ve been actively recruiting a lot of guys.”
ISU signed point guard Paris Lee of Proviso East, combo guard Tony Wills of Indianapolis (Ben Davis High School) and 6-10 center Reggie Lynch of Edina, Minn., in November.
Muller said he and his staff have been “very busy” since the Redbirds lost to Wichita State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Tournament on March 9.
Asked how recruiting was going, Muller said:
“Recruiting doesn’t matter until they give you an answer. You can finish second nine times and it doesn’t matter. It’s only going great once you have commitments, so we’ll see what happens.”