Area Center Chooses A School

Reporter Brian Towey highlights a big man from Connecticut ...

Wayne Portalatin has logged some mileage over the past couple of years, and for his college career, he will head West. The 6-foot-9 center and native of Waterbury, Connecticut, who is doing a post-graduate year at the Patterson School in Lenoir, North Carolina, signed a letter of intent with UTEP on Wednesday.

"After I made my visit I decided it was for me," said Portalatin. "The coaching staff really made me feel comfortable. Coach Barbee, he was a proven winner at Memphis."

Wayne will help fill a need for first-year coach Tony Barbee with his rebounding. He is a space-eater with good hands who is effective on the glass.

"They liked my rebounding," said Portalatin. "They need the rebounding and defense down low. They're real small this year. I'm expecting to come in and play major minutes."

Wayne spent last year at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine. Previously, he had attended Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, as well as Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven, Connecticut.

Portalatin ran with Jeff Bishop's Buffalo-based G.C. Ballers on the AAU circuit.

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