Auburn Hills — The Grand Rapids Drive were on the cusp of celebrating clinching their first playoff spot in the NBA development league Saturday night with a victory over the Long Island Nets.
Then things took a turn. The good vibes turned to dire concern in an instant.
Guard Zeke Upshaw collapsed on the court during the final minute of the game and lay on the floor for several minutes as he was attended to by medical staff. He was later taken off the court on a stretcher and relayed to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids.
The bizarre circumstance happened in a non-contact situation, with Upshaw guarding a Nets player away from the action. After he fell, Upshaw, 26, was on his stomach, not moving.
The Drive, the development league affiliate for the Detroit Pistons, released a team statement on Sunday afternoon:
“Zeke was transported to Spectrum Hospital after collapsing on the court in the closing seconds of last night’s game and is currently under physicians’ care,” the Drive posted on Twitter. “Out of respect to Zeke and his family, further updates will be provided when available.”
Later Sunday, several current and former Drive players reacted to a tweet that Upshaw had passed away. The tweet later was deleted.
The Drive then posted another update on Twitter: “The recent tweets regarding Zeke’s passing are incorrect. He remains under the care of physicians at Spectrum Health.”
Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy also had not gotten any additional details after the initial incident Saturday night.
“We haven’t gotten any more status update,” Van Gundy said Sunday morning. “He’s in the hospital and his family is in town now and that’s all we know.”
Upshaw, a 6-foot-6 wing from Chicago, had scored 11 points in 29 minutes in the 101-99 victory in the Drive’s regular-season finale. He played in college at Illinois State before transferring to Hofstra.