Norfolk State hero Kyle O’Quinn wins MVP at Portsmouth Invitational

Leave a comment

After his team’s enormous upset of second-seeded Missouri in the NCAA tournament, Kyle O’Quinn gave one of the most heartfelt post-game interviews you’ll see.

The kid who got just one scholarship offer, from Norfolk State, earned his moment in the spotlight with 26 points and 14 rebounds against Missouri and, if this past week was any indication, he’s not done yet.

At the Portsmouth Invitational, an annual exposure tournament for college seniors, O’Quinn won the MVP award, going for eight points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks in a championship game loss on Saturday.

O’Quinn is vying for a spot in the NBA and is projected to go in the late second round, according to DraftExpress.

If he continues to build muscle and tone up, as well as develop his skills, he has the size at 6-10, 240 pounds, to perhaps be a contributor at the NBA level.

The Queens, N.Y., native averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in his senior year at Norfolk State.

The Portsmouth Invitational is flooded with NBA and European scouts who are looking for talent to fill their rosters. Temple guard Juan Fernandez signed a deal with an Italian club after playing at Portsmouth this week, a deal reportedly worth somewhere in the “high six figures.”

If O’Quinn is not drafted, he should have options overseas or perhaps in the NBA D-League. He is signed with agent Alberto Ebanks, who also represents former Tennessee forward Scotty Hopson and former Cincinnati one-and-doner Lance Stephenson.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.