Forward Steve Taylor Jr. will be one of 64 college basketball seniors competing in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Wednesday through Saturday, April 12-15, in Portsmouth, Va.
Taylor’s selection marks the fourth straight year that a Rocket is participating in the event. Rian Pearson, Julius Brown and Nathan Boothe each received invitations following the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns, respectively. Only Iona (six straight years), Georgetown (four) and Virginia (four) have sent players to the tournament in each of the last four years.The Portsmouth Invitational is in its 65th year and is a four-day, 12-game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA organization and numerous international leagues. Notable MVPs include Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls (2011) and DeMarre Carroll of the Toronto Raptors (2009) with former participants including Rick Barry, Dave Cowens, Tim Hardaway, John Lucas, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and John Stockton.
Taylor will play his first game Thursday at 9 p.m. for Sales Systems Ltd. and is one of three representatives from the Mid-American Conference. He will play with UCLA guard Bryce Alford, California guard Jabari Bird, Duke guard Matt Jones, Louisville center Mangok Mathiang, Louisiana Tech forward Erik McCree, Grand Canyon guard DeWayne Russell and Kentucky forward Derek Willis.
A Chicago native, Taylor earned second-team All-MAC accolades after ranking second on the team with 15.3 points per game and third nationally with 12.2 rebounds per game. He also topped the nation with 9.9 defensive rebounds per game, ranked ninth in the MAC with 3.7 assists per game, and tied for third in the country with a MAC-best 23 double-doubles. Taylor grabbed a Savage Arena record 23 boards on two occasions vs. Youngstown State (Nov. 15) and Western Michigan (Feb. 21) and tallied a career-high 27 points, 10 boards and four assists at Marshall (Dec. 10).
For more information regarding the event, fans can visit portsmouthinvitational.com.