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|Upchurch growing on, off court|
Former Ferriday High standout Josh Upchurch said his time at Lee College Junior College in Baytown, Texas has been a growing experience.
And not just in general.
"I'm now up to 6-foot-9, and my 250 pounds is more muscle" said Upchurch, who is averaging 8.0 points a game from the center position as a freshman. "They have really helped me get stronger and develop more."
Upchurch, whose mother, Lisa Abron, coaches the Ferriday girls basketball team and played basketball at Utica Junior Colege and Texas Southern, orginally signed with Northwestern State after averaging 10.7 points and 3.4 for the Trojans last year as Ferriday advanced to the Class 2A state championship game, falling to St. Thomas More.
"I'm learning more about moving around the court and playing better defense," Upchurch said. "I'm using my body more for positioning."
"Josh's upside is tremendous," said Lee coach Roy Champagne. "Height is always at a premium and I think there are a lot of people that missed out."
Upchurch, who is majoring in Kinesiology, came up just short on qualifying on his ACT for Northwestern and opted for Lee College, which is close to his father, Craig Upchurch, who lives in Houston. Craig Upchurch was a member of Houston's Phi Jama Slama team in the early 1980s.
"That's probably helped me more because I'm playing and learning more," he said.
Upchurch is also doing well in the classroom.
"It's tough, but we get a lot of study hall time," he said. "You don't have anyone there pushing you like back home, so you have to be more disciplined."
Upchurch said living on his own has also been a valuable lesson.
"It's not bad here, but closer to the city it's a lot faster," he said. "It's been a big adjustment.."
Upchurch's sister, Jasmine, a senior at Ferriday, signed with Northwestern State.
"I think that's good for her," he said. "She'll be a good fit. They have nice people there and it will be a good experience."
But Upchurch is not sure he will join her in two years.
"Louisiana Tech is showing a lot of interest and I am hearing from a few other schools," Upchurch said. "Right now I'm enjoying my time here and concentrating on getting better and better."
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