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McDonald makes his mark at Portsmouth Invitational

The No. 9 center prospect for the NBA draft, according to, has a nice shooting touch around the basket and good hands for a 6-foot-11, 250-pound man.

The rising prospect averaged 15.9 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game and 1.1 assist per game during the 2002-03 season.

That man happens to be USF senior Will McDonald.

At the first draft camp of the season, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, McDonald got a few people to notice.

McDonald scored 19.3 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game to lead his Holiday Inn team, while tallying five blocks and shooting a team-high 56.8 percent during the tournament.

The Portsmouth Invitational, in its 51st year features 64 of the country’s top seniors. Not one player from the tournament was drafted in both the 2001 and 2002 NBA draft classes.

Five players were drafted in 2000, starting with tourney MVP Mike Smith of Louisiana-Monroe to the Washington Wizards with the 35th pick.

McDonald started the tournament by coming off the bench in a 91-79 victory against MD Designs and tallied game highs with 19 points, 17 rebounds (including four offensive boards) and two blocks in 22 minutes.

McDonald’s night included matching up against Duke center Casey Sanders.

Sanders tallied six points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes.

After his opening-game performance, scouts and critics started to notice. listed McDonald as one of Wednesday’s top performers and among the most impressive of the night.

Chad Ford of said McDonald shocked several scouts with his dominating 19-point, 17-rebound performance.

Ford also reported that one scout said, “Why didn’t Will ever play like that in college?”

McDonald’s quality play continued throughout his next two games, which he started.

In a 94-86 loss to Sales System Ltd., he scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a foul-shortened 35 minutes.

McDonald rounded out the tournament in the third-place game, tallying 21 points and 10 rebounds during a 99-85 loss to the Portsmouth Sports Club.

The quality showing for McDonald could lead to an invite to the Chicago Pre-draft Camp in June.

Bryan Fazio covers USF men’s basketball and can be reached at