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Former Redbird passes away after collapsing during NBA G-League game

Former Redbird passes away after collapsing during NBA G-League game

Zeke Upshaw played for the Illinois State Men’s basketball team from 2010-2013. (Grand Rapids Drive/Twitter)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After collapsing in the final minutes of an NBA G-League game for the Grand Rapids Drive, former Illinois State Men’s basketball player Zeke Upshaw passed away early Monday morning.

According to multiple reports, Upshaw collapsed in the final minutes due to cardiac arrest and was taken to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. Upshaw then passed away two days later.

Upshaw played for the Redbirds from 2010-2013, before transferring to Hofstra and leading the Colonial Athletic Association with a 19.8 ppg scoring average. Upshaw’s talents helped him move on to the NBA G-League where he played for the Grand Rapids Drive. ISU Men’s basketball coach Dan Muller said Upshaw was uplifting both on and off of the court.

“Sad is certainly one word that you can use to describe how tragic it is,” added Muller who coached Upshaw for one season. “He is such a good person. (He was) polite, kind, smart, respectful, hard working and never had a bad attitude. He went on to have a really good year at Hofstra and to his credit he has had a terrific career since then.”

Muller said he was at a loss for words when he found out about Upshaws passing.

“I’m heartbroken for his family and his mother Jewel and it’s hard to believe, to be honest,” Muller said. “It again shows that life is not fair, and that is part of life; but there is really no explanation for it, on the other hand.”

Upshaw was averaging 8.5 ppg for the Grand Rapids Drive during the 2017-2018 season, the Drive noted on Twitter that Upshaw was and always will be family.

“The Drive family is mourning the tragic loss of Zeke Upshaw. He had a warm personality and was a tremendous representative of our organization both on and off of the court. Our thoughts are with all of Zeke’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Upshaw passed away at the age of 26, and will always be a #RB4L.

Blake Haas contributed to this story.

WZND Newsroom

March 28th, 2018

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