Jelani Hewitt is among top 64 seniors

Colin Ritsick

Senior guard Jelani Hewitt was invited on Tuesday to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament from April 8-11 in Portsmouth, Va.

What does that mean?

“It’s a big deal. The top 64 seniors in college basketball [are invited], with the exception of the ones that know they’re an automatic first round pick,” head coach Mark Byington said.

Every NBA team will have scouts in attendance and many of the top professional teams from across the globe will be there as well. Byington said that after the PIT, about 10-15 players will be invited to an NBA combine.

“And from there those guys will be able to work their way into the NBA draft,” Byington said.

Hewitt will be playing alongside senior standouts that led their teams well into the NCAA Tournament. Players like Matt Stainbrook of Butler, Pat Connaughton of Notre Dame and Wayne Blackshear of Louisville. Georgia State’s Ryan Harrow is the only other invitee from the Sun Belt.

“If you look at the past, there’s a lot of NBA players right now that played at that event,” Byington said. “There are a lot of guys doing very well playing professionally overseas that played in that event, so it’s a pretty big deal.”

The PIT is a four-day, twelve-game tournament that has sent some big names to the NBA over the years.

Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls, a 2015 NBA All-Star, played in the tournament. Greats like John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Tim Hardaway and Scottie Pippen all played in the PIT as well.

Hewitt was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and a Defensive All-American by