Former Northwestern standout, Deandre Upchurch, headed to boot camp

FLINT, Michigan — DeAndre Upchurch, former standout guard at Flint Northwestern, is headed to boot camp to pay his debt to society after being involved in a drive-by shooting in 2008.

Upchurch was charged along with three others in connection with the north-side shooting, spurred by a $30 debt, that injured a young mother.

All four of the young men were initially charged with five counts of assault with intent to murder, among other charges. Upchurch was denied protection under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, made famous in Flint after the Southwestern football fiasco. He ended up pleading guilty to an amended charge.

Last month, Upchurch was ordered to pay several hundred dollars in court costs and to perform 100 hours of community service. He was remanded to jail pending placement in a Special Alternative Incarceration facility (boot camp) in Washtenaw County. He will remain there for 90 days before being released and put on five years probation.

Boot camp for Upchurch will consist of military-style exercise, work assignments and various social and academic programming. He will be under intense supervision during his stay there.

I’ve been told that Northwestern coach Dave Bush submitted a letter to Judge Richard Yuille demonstrating an opportunity for his former player to go to a junior college in Iowa. This may have influenced sentencing.  A coach, in other words, was willing to give him a chance to play and get an education.

Upchurch did not pull the trigger that nearly took the life of the young mother, but his actions precipitated the shooting. Does the punishment fit the crime?

Memo to young players: There’s a lesson to be learned here. Do you know what it is?