Clarksville, Ark.-Anthony Porchia said there was no secret to his deadly shooting stroke --- just plain old fashion hard work.
Porchia, who starred for the University of the Ozarks’ basketball program from 1989-93, will be inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame with former soccer standout Marcos Gonzalez in a special ceremony on Feb. 14.
A high-scoring 6-foot-5 forward, Porchia still holds the school record for career 3-pointers (241) and is the program’s No. 2 career scorer (1,671 points).
“It was all about just putting in the work,” said Porchia about his success on the hardwood. “I always wanted to be the one who outworked the other guy. Shooting is one area where you can improve in by just working hard and that’s what I did.”
Porchia made an immediate impact at Ozarks --- earning a spot on the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) All Freshman Team in 1990 ---- and went on to a stellar career as a four-year starter. He was named to the NAIA District 17 team in 1993 and was an All-AIC performer in 1992 and 1993.
Former Ozarks Coach Johnny Johnson said Porchia was a “very talented player who improved his game every year he competed. Anthony had a passion to win but he was also unselfish,” Johnson said. “He could have easily averaged over 20 points a game if he played for any other school in the league, but Anthony wanted to win a championship.”
One of the highlights of Porchia’s career at Ozarks came in his senior year during the 1992-93 season when the Eagles won the District 17 Tournament by defeating arch-rival Arkansas Tech 90-64 and advancing to the NAIA National Tournament on their way to a stellar 23-9 record.
“We had lost to Tech twice that year during the regular season and I remember sitting outside about a week before the District 17 Tournament and talking to my teammates and saying that this was it, our careers were about to be over and we had to make it happen,” Porchia said. “The way we pulled together and refused to lose during that tournament is something that is very special to me.”
Coming out of Stephens, Ark., Porchia was heavily recruited by numerous larger colleges, but felt Ozarks was the right fit for him.
“I had chances to go to larger schools, but something about Ozarks stood out,” he said. “I remember talking to Coach (Lonnie) Qualls during my visit there and seeing this bumper sticker on the wall behind him that said, “Ozarks: A Special Place.” That’s the feeling that I got from the college at the time and even more so after my four years there. It was a special place for me.”
Porchia said he was surprised to get the call informing him he had been chosen for the Sports Hall of Fame.
“It is a pretty amazing feeling to know that you’re going into your school’s hall of fame,” he said. “I had four wonderful years at the school and to be a part of its history is a wonderful honor.”
After leaving Ozarks, Porchia began what is now a 17-year career as a store manager for Wal-Mart. He currently manages the only Wal-Mart in downtown Dallas.
“The lessons I learned as a student and as a basketball player at Ozarks are the same ones I use every day now in my career,” he said. “I learned how to be a part of a team and how to lead that team. The whole concept of team unity is the same.”
Johnson said Porchia was a joy to coach.
“He always took care of business, both on and off the court,” Johnson said. “He is a model of what student athlete at the University of the Ozarks should be.”
Porchia and his wife, Angela, have two sons, Caleb and Joshua.
Courtesy of Larry Isch, Director of Public Relations