CSU’s Avila one of 64 players to compete in Portsmouth Invitational

Keegan Pope

Colorado State forward J.J. Avila will participate in the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational Wednesday through Saturday, as the rosters were announced Monday.

Each year, the P.I.T has hosts 64 of the best graduating seniors in college basketball from across the nation to participate in a four-day, twelve game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team. Now in its 64th year, the P.I.T. attracts more than 200 NBA representatives, as well as scouts from numerous international leagues. The 64 participants are broken down into eight, eight-person teams with players from across multiple conferences around the country represented.


Avila is joined on the Cherry Bekaert-sponsored team by Traveon Graham (VCU), Jelani Hewitt (Georgia Southern), David Laury (Iona), D.J. Newbill (Penn State), Wesley Saunders (Harvard), Ralston Turner (North Carolina State) and Amir Williams (Ohio State). The team is coached by Ben Moore and Dennis Koutoufas, along with NBA assistant coach Anthony Carter.

Avila, a native of McAllen, Texas, averaged 16.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game this year while racking up 1st-team All-Mountain West honors, as well as being named to the All-District VIII accolades from the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division I All-District 17 first team.

Over the years the P.I.T. has been a showcase for five of the 50 greatest players in NBA History (Rick Barry, Earl ‘The Pearl” Monroe, Dave Cowens, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen) and for many others who have gone on to NBA success including 2015 NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler.

Notable players in this year’s games are Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton, Iowa State’s Bryce Dejean-Jones, Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook, and Georgia State guard Ryan Harrow.

Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at kpope@collegian.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.