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SWE's Porter commits to Radford

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SouthWest Edgecombe's Keishon Porter, right, drives around Northern Nash's Darquez Flowers during a game last season at the Nash County Christmas tournament. Porter on Tuesday committed to Radford University to play basketball.

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By PATRICK MASON
Sports Writer

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

SouthWest Edgecombe senior Keishon Porter has been the focus of many defensive game plans during the football season as opponents try to limit the impact the 6-foot-5 receiver can have on a game.

But all of that attention and focus will come to an end whenever it is the Cougars wrap up their season as Porter will shift his focus and future plans to basketball.

What started out as a goal to play hoops in college became reality on Tuesday when Porter announced his commitment to play basketball next season for Division I Radford University

Porter, wearing a red Radford long sleeve shirt and hat, announced his decision during a ceremony in the SWE gymnasium that was attended by friends, teammates, family members and coaches.

He is the first boys’ basketball player to come out of SWE to sign with a Division I program. Longtime girls’ coach Sandra Langley had sent several girls onto D-I programs, but Porter is the first boys player to do so.

“As soon as I came on the visit I felt like I was at home,” Porter said of his visit to the school in Virginia. “They gave me a nice welcome, the coaches were good, the athletes were welcoming, and all around it felt like a good program.”

Porter said that he felt the urge to commit once his visit ended, but opted to take some time to hear pitches from a number of other programs that showed interest in the versatile forward/guard combo. He had offers from Texas A&M, Hofstra, Hampton, UNC Pembroke and UNC Greensbro.

While those schools tried to land Porter, none put in as much work as Radford. Members of the Highlanders coaching staff came out to Edgecombe County an estimated four or fives times to watch Porter play, including showing up for a pre-game prep rally and staying for a January game against Tarboro.

“They really showed me love and that went a long way,” Porter said.

Porter said the coaches expect him to play right away when he arrives on campus, and he’s excited to get to work for a Highlanders team that went 22-11 last season with a 12-4 mark in the Big South Conference. Two of those wins came against basketball powers Texas and Notre Dame.

The Highlanders also have a former player in the NBA in Boston Celtics guard/forward Javonte Green, who signed a two-year deal with the team in the offseason. Green scored 15 points in a preseason win on Sunday, a performance that didn’t go unnoticed by Porter.

“I watched him play with the Celtics and he was 7-for-7 and scored 15 points,” Porter said. “I feel like (Radford) builds your confidence, and I have a if he can do it anybody can do it kind of mindset.

“(Radford) had some big wins, too, like Texas and Notre Dame. I just wanted to be somewhere where it’s a house full of dogs trying to eat.”

Porter averaged 19.3 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game over 23 games last season for SWE. He was held to single digits in points just twice all season, including a seven-point performance against 3-A power Northern Nash and eight against Southwest Onslow.

Porter scored at least 22 points in each of the Cougars' first five games. It was the start of what would be a breakout season. Porter went on to score 445 points, coming off a sophomore season where he scored 172.

The senior needs 383 points to score 1,000 for his career.

The Cougars open their basketball season on Dec. 3 at home against North Lenoir.

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