Portsmouth Invitational Reportedly Canceled Ahead of 2020 NBA Draft

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IMarch 13, 2020

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is seen on the big screen in an empty Sprint Center as he talks to the media after canceling the remaining NCAA college basketball games in the Big 12 Conference tournament due to concerns about the coronavirus Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The 2020 Portsmouth Invitational—one of the marquee opportunities for college basketball players to impress pro scouts—has been canceled.

According to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, the April tournament has been nixed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: One of the NBA Draft's best scouting events -- the Portsmouth Invitational in April -- has been canceled due to coronavirus outbreak. PIT has been showcase event for top seniors over the last 67 years; such as John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Jimmy Butler.

The Portsmouth Invitational has seen a number of college seniors earn a shot in the NBA after displaying their skills in the showcase. In 2019, 63 out of the 64 athletes who participated were given at least one NBA tryout, while another 55 were invited to play in the NBA's Summer League. 

The 2020 tournament was scheduled to take place from April 15-18 at Churchland High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. Among the notable alumni who have gone onto successful NBA careers after playing for scouts in Portsmouth are Jimmy Butler, John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Richaun Holmes, Jeremy Lin, Kyle O'Quinn, DeMarre Carroll, Derek Fisher, Tim Hardaway and Rick Barry, among many others. 

To qualify for the tournament, players must have remained NCAA-eligible through the end of the season before a player-selection committee sends out invitations to the men's basketball office at each player's respective school. 

News of the cancelation comes as the NBA season remains suspended and the NCAA has canceled the 2020 Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments. 

The NBA remains committed to resuming the season as soon as it's safe to do so, yet it remains unknown how the time off will impact the NBA draft. Currently, the draft is slated to be held June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

At the same time, the NCAA is considering eligibility relief for student-athletes to ensure they do not lose a year of eligibility due to the virus. So far, only spring sport athletes will receive the relief. The NCAA is still considering whether to do the same with men's and women's basketball players among other winter sport athletes. 

As of Friday, there are 2,033 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, leading to 47 deaths, per CNN.