Player Spotlight: Riley Minix

April 18, 2024

By Ed Miller

From Scottie Pippen to Dennis Rodman to Ben Wallace, there’s a long tradition of small college players excelling in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.

Glance at the PIT rosters and Riley Minix of Morehead State does not appear to fall into that small college category. But Minix is small school with an asterisk. He played his first four seasons at Southeastern University, an NAIA school in his native Florida, before bursting onto the mid-major scene last season, as player of the year in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The 6-foot-7 Minix was a bright spot for Sales Systems, Ltd. Thursday night, in a 96-78 loss to Portsmouth Partnership. He scored 16 points and hit 4 of 5 3-pointers, displaying the shooting range and touch that helped get him invited to Portsmouth.

“I didn’t know anything about (The PIT)” he said. “Then towards the end of the season a couple of my teammates and coaches told me about the tournament, and what an honor it was to play.”

Minix described himself as a late bloomer, which is why he went the NAIA route coming out of high school in Vero Beach, Fla. He averaged 25.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and nearly 3.0 assists per game in 2022-23 at Southeastern, before making the jump to Morehead State.

It was a smooth transition, to say the least. Despite the leap in competition, his numbers last year were similar to his NAIA production. He averaged 20.8 points and 9.8 rebounds and led Morehead to an NCAA tournament berth.

“Honestly, going into Division I at Morehead State I said that I was going to do whatever it takes to win,” he said. “We set a goal of going to March Madness, and that’s what we did.”

Minix’s most obvious asset is his shooting range. He’s also got a big frame, at 240 pounds and a high basketball IQ. (He was the NAIA Academic All-American of the year at Southeastern).

He believes his intangibles – his ability to impact the game without the ball, to cut, to communicate – will serve him well as he pursues his NBA dream.

“There’s players at every level – NAIA, Division 2, Division 3, all throughout,” he said. “Basketball is basketball and there are diamonds in the rough everywhere.”

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