Hapoel Haifa inked center Devonte Upson for the 2022/23 season as the big man arrives in Israel after a successful campaign with Merkezefendi Belediyesi Denizli Basket. This past season in Turkey Upson averaged 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 68% from the field and 64% from the free throw line.
The Amarillo, Texas native played his junior and senior seasons at Louisiana State where he scored 9.8 points and grabbed 6.8 rebounds before heading to his first professional year abroad in Switzerland. After stops in Finland, Estonia, Poland and Argentina, Upson played in Italy and then this past season in Turkey.
“We are very happy to welcome Devonte to the club,” head coach Sharon Drucker said. “He is an experienced athletic player that will help us reach our goals this season.”
To get to know Upson a bit better, The Sports Rabbi was in touch with a number of his former teammates:
Onochie Ochie who played with Upson in college said: “Devonte was a great teammate that always played with joy. Devonte always had smile on his face every single day. He is definitely one of the most talented teammates that I have had. He will continue to have a dominant pro career.”
Andrew Guillory played with the big man at Louisiana State as well: “He is a GREAT TEAMMATE and is one of the most genuine people I’ve been around. He’s always looking to help others. But he wasn’t so nice on the court, he played with passion.”
JaMichael Hawkins from Louisiana State also spoke about Upson: “There’s so many great things to say about him. He is one of those guys that stays late after practice until he feels he got better at some aspect of his game. He never liked to just work on big man moves and always felt like he was an all-around basketball player that can move like a guard as well. He always had the vision of being a professional basketball player and that was always a goal he worked hard for. I’m proud to see everything we talked about in college has manifested.”
Remy Abell who played with Upson in Helsinki said: “He is a great basketball player and even a better person. He is somebody you want in your lockerroom and is very coachable. He wants to learn and get better as a player. He is a great teammate and on the court he brings toughness and a competitive drive. He is a winner and he is hungry, ready to help a team win a championship.”
Raymond Cowels was also in Helsinki: “Devonte is an amazing teammate and even more amazing talent on the court! He has a great attitude and will do what the team needs to win. He is a very exciting player to watch! He’s such a good teammate we are like brothers even years later.”
Leyton Hammonds played with Upson at Arka Gdynia: “Devonte is a very good person and teammate. He works very hard in the summer I know this because we train together. Great attitude and even better player.”
Eugene German was with Upson in Turkey: “He is great guy on and off the court! Very athletic and a great teammate.”