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Michigan State senior forward Kenny Goins participating in Portsmouth Invitational

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Michigan State vs Duke Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The heralded Portsmouth Invitational begins today and the Michigan State Spartans will be represented by senior forward Kenny Goins.

The basketball tournament held in Portsmouth, Virginia is a long-running tournament that invites 64 senior college basketball players (eight teams consisting of eight players each) to compete against each other. The four-day, 12-game tournament will be well-attended by NBA scouts, front office executives and representatives. Talent evaluators from Europe will also be there. So, for many of these players — including Kenny G. — this is an audition to play professionally.

Goins will be part of the Portsmouth Sports Club team. He is joined by fellow Big Ten standout player Victor Law of Northwestern (15 PPG, 6.4 RPG), as well as Iowa State’s Marial Shayok (18.7 PPG), Cal State Fullerton’s Kyle Allman (17.5 PPG) and Ole Miss’s Terence Davis, Jr. (15.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG), among others. The team will be coached by Mark Hall, Ethan Walker and former NBA player Ansu Sesay.

While the tournament begins today with two games, The Portsmouth Sports Club doesn’t compete until tomorrow (Thursday). Goins and his squad are set to take on Cherry Bekaert at 7 p.m. Cherry Bekaert features Justin James of Wyoming (22.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.4 APG), Charlotte’s Jon Davis (21.7 PPG), UNC Wilmington’s Devontae Cacok (15.1 PPG, 12.3 RPG) and other talented players.

The winner of that contest faces the winner of the matchup between the Mike Duman Auto Sales team and the Portsmouth Partnership team, and the losers of each game also square off.

The invitational, which started in 1953, has a rich history. Former NBA stars John Stockton, Rick Barry, Earl Monroe, Dave Cowens, Scottie Pippen and others played in the tournament. One of my all-time favorite NBA players, Ben Wallace, also played in Portsmouth, as did Tim Hardaway Sr. and Dennis Rodman. More recently, NBA All-star Jimmy Butler, as well as other solid role players such as Derrick White, Kent Bazemore, Richaun Holmes and DeMarre Carroll have also participated.

The invitational also prides itself on being “more than basketball.” The P.I.T. awards seven $4,000 scholarships to student athletes in Virginia, and donates portions of the tournament’s proceeds to local charities and non-profit organizations in an effort to give back to the community. An annual celebrity luncheon is also held in Portsmouth. This year’s keynote speaker is Bryan Kersey, who supervises men’s basketball officiating for four different conferences.

Perhaps Goins can use this platform to elevate his stock if he dreams of playing at the next level. We’ll be keeping close tabs. Good luck, Kenny!