The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament has been a steppingstone for many basketball players.
The annual tournament, which showcases 64 college seniors, has seen countless participants over the years go on to play professionally either in the NBA, G League or overseas.
Among the PIT players who enhanced their chances to become pros include Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks, along with former Marquette University standouts Jimmy Butler, Wes Matthews and Steve Novak.
This year’s PIT will include another player with Wisconsin ties: Sandy Cohen III of UW-Green Bay. The athletic wing was recently invited to the PIT, which runs April 17-20 in Portsmouth, Va.
Cohen, a 6-foot-6 wing, is having an outstanding season: He leads the Phoenix in scoring at 17.6 points per game and rebounds at 6.4 per outing. He is shooting 47 percent from the field.
Cohen is an athletic – he has a 40-inch vertical – and versatile performer.
“Some guys are defenders; some guys are shooters,’’ said Murphy Jon Murphy, Cohen’s high school coach at Seymour, Wis. “This kid is just a player. He can guard bigs and he can guard a point guard.
“I think he has a big upside and that’s what intrigues them (pro scouts).’’
Cohen was a consensus Top 100 player coming out of Seymour High School and chose to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee. He instantly stepped into the starting lineup for the Golden Eagles.
In his sophomore season at Marquette, Cohen scored a career-high 24 points against a Jose State. He then transferred to UW-Green Bay in December of 2016.
This season, Cohen has led the Phoenix to a 19-16 record and helped them advance to the quarterfinals of the CIT quarterfinals. The Phoenix will play Cal State – Bakersfield on Friday night in Green Bay.
Former UW-Green Bay standout Alfonzo McKinnie is currently a backup small forward for the two-time reigning Golden State Warriors.
Last year, all 64 participants in the PIT went on to play professionally.
–– Photo courtesy of UW-Green Bay