April 17, 2024

By Ed Miller

After stops at Kansas and Iowa State, Tristan Enaruna found a home the past two seasons at Cleveland State, where he was a two-time all-Horizon League selection.

Enaruna also looked right at home Wednesday night in the opening game of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, scoring 25 points to lead Jani-King over Portsmouth Sports Club, 85-79.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Utah’s Wasatch Academy, by way of the Netherlands, shot 9 of 14, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range, and had three rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes.

“I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win,” he said.

Jani-King used a 30-point second quarter to go up 11 at halftime, then stretched the margin to 21 late in the third quarter before holding off Portsmouth Sports Club down the stretch.

Big man Joel Soriano of St. John’s led Portsmouth Sports Club with 28 points and 12 rebounds.

Tolu Smith of Mississippi State added 18 points for Jani-King, which advanced to Friday’s semifinals. The winners scored 27 points off 20 turnovers.

Enaruna signed with Kansas out of high school. He averaged just 2.4 points as a freshman and 2.8 as a sophomore before transferring to Iowa State. He started 26 games for the Cyclones in 2021-22 but didn’t find his comfort zone until landing at Cleveland State.

“It was just maturity. I got more mature over the years,” he said. “And I found a great coaching staff that trusted me and put me in a position so I could play.  All credit to them. They put in a lot of effort into making me a better player.”

Enaruna is hoping that improvement will earn him looks from NBA teams.

“I’m not going to come in and get a lot of shots, obviously. I’ve got to come in, play a role, be OK with that, do what I have to do to get minutes on the court, be a good teammate.”

As a native of the Netherlands, international options will also be available to Enaruna. But he’s not ready to go back overseas just yet.

“Right now I’m trying to make the most of my opportunities here in the states.”

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