Tuesday, April 05, 2005
TUSCALOOSA – Earnest Shelton, an All-Southeastern Conference guard who was a senior on the University of Alabama’s 2005 team, is among the players participating in this week’s Portsmouth Invitational.
The Portsmouth Invitational will be held Wednesday, April 6 through Saturday, April 9 at Portsmouth, Virginia’s Churchland High School. In its 53rd year, the four-day event consists of 11 games. By invitation only, it includes 64 college seniors who will make up eight-player rosters on eight teams. The event is considered an important pre-draft forum as approximately 200 NBA representatives will attend.
He will play on the Sales Systems Lt. team which includes Tennessee’s Brandon Crump, South Carolina’s Carlos Powell, Virginia’s Devin Smith, Texas Tech’s Ronald Ross, San Jose State’s Marquin Chandler, Niagra’s Juan Mendez, and Rider’s Jerry Johnson. Shelton, Mendez, Powell, Chandler, Ross and Johnson were all all-conference players in their respective leagues. Mendez was league Player of the Year. Their team will open play against Holiday Inn Portsmouth in the first game on Wednesday night. That team includes eight all-conference players, Jared Homan of Iowa State, Mustafa Al-Sayyad of Fresno State, David Lucas of Oregon State, Mike Bell of Florida Atlantic, Pat Carroll of St. Joe’s, Darren Brooks of Southern Illinois and Filiberto Rivera of UTEP.
Shelton was a four-year letterman for the Crimson Tide, becoming a full-time starter beginning with his sophomore season in 2003. He ranks 21st all-time in scoring at Alabama with 1,323 career points, a career scoring average of 11.0 points per game. He started in 68 of his 120 Alabama career games, including all 32 in 2005. He averaged 16.4 points and 3.4 rebounds a game in 2005 and has been a key role player in Alabama’s basketball success of late, including the 2004 NCAA Elite 8 run where his play included 22 points against then defending national champions Syracuse in the Sweet 16 and had a junior season where he scored 20 or more points in 11 games. Shelton co-holds the Alabama single-game 3-points record with his coach, Mark Gottfried. Shelton made eight (of 11) 3-point shots in Alabama’s 2005 SEC tournament quarterfinal game against Ole Miss in March. That total tied the SEC tournament record as well.
The Memphis native was a 1st team SEC Coaches All-SEC player as well as 1st team all-district by both the United States Basketball Writers Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He was “Mr. Basketball” in Tennessee his senior year at White Station High School in 2001. Shelton graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in management in December 2004.
Alabama’s last participant in the Portsmouth Invitational was Erwin Dudley who competed in 2003 but had to withdraw after injuring his knee there. Some of the NBA’s biggest names have participated in this pre-draft camp event, including Scottie Pippen and Ben Wallace. There are 59 Portsmouth Invitational alumnus currently either playing or coaching in the NBA.