Portis signs with Emory University

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

BEULAH  — Lonzie Portis, IV. made his dream a reality on Thursday afternoon when he signed to play men’s basketball at Emory University.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Portis said. “It’s crazy, I’ve always wanted to, but now that I’ve put pen to paper and I’m actually going, it’s a great feeling.”

Portis’ love for Emory began three years ago when he attended a six-week summer camp at the campus.

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“When I saw the campus, it was just awesome,” Lonzie Portis, III., Portis’ father, said.  “He had the same reaction. He loved the campus, he loved the culture, the atmosphere. Ever since then, he’s wanted to go, even though there were other schools that have come up, but it’s always been the top of mind for him. For him to actually get what he asked for, it’s great.”

Emory University was ranked the 21st best university in America on this year’s U.S. News Best Colleges list.

Portis had a 4.2 GPA before his last semester began and he scored a 30 on his ACT. He attended an academic camp in Massachusetts last summer with other gifted students from around the country.

“Work hard,” Portis said. “Don’t go to class and sleep. Don’t go to class and do nothing. Go to class, do your work, listen to the teacher and, if you need to, study. Everybody knows what they need to do to get a better grade. If you know you have a B and you want an A, just work harder. Put in the work, and the results will come.”

The senior’s work habits were instilled in him at an early age. Portis didn’t even play organized basketball until he was in the fourth grade.

“I absolutely could not be prouder of him,” Marissa Portis, Portis’ mother, said. “I think we all tout the phrase ‘student-athlete,’ but he was definitely a student first, and an athlete next … He’s always been that way, he’s always been logic over emotion. He’s always been a thinker. He wakes up, he thinks about things, weighs the options and then he proceeds accordingly. It’s always been that way.”

Portis comes from a long line of Beulah athletes in his bloodline.

“The Portis family is as much as Beulah High School as these colors,” Beulah athletic director Richard Brown said during Thursday’s signing while backing up and pointing to the yellow-and-black Beulah Bobcat backdrop. “I had the opportunity to teach and coach a few of the family members back there in the years I’ve been here, and you kept that Portis legacy at Beulah High School going. We hope that family continues to stay in this community and continues to send family members through because I know in terms of the ones that I’ve taught and coached is they’re one of the best people I’ve ever been around.”

A 20 point per game scorer, Portis has left a blueprint for students on and off the court.

“This is what building a program is all about,” Beulah head basketball coach Curtis Noble said. “You’re on the court and you’re working hard, but when kids can actually see their own go to the next level, it gives them something to look forward to and this  couldn’t have happened at a better time right now.”

Portis, a first-team All-Valley boys basketball and football selection this past academic year, said the message he wants to send to his classmates after his signing is simple.

“It’s good to show the younger kids and people around this community that just because you’re from around here, you grew up in this area, you can still go do stuff,” he said. “You can still be something. I think a lot of people think that, especially in Beulah that if you  grow up here, you can’t be much, but it goes to show that with hard work, you can do anything.”

Portis plans to run his own business and play professional basketball after finishing his time at Emory.