By Rob Reheuser, for NBA.com
Posted Apr 10 2011 4:15PM
The term due diligence is part of NBA scouting vernacular.
Some teams preach it. Others have seven scouts still watching games on the last day of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.
The San Antonio Spurs have won 50-plus games in 12 straight seasons for a host of reasons. This is one of them.
For those who skipped town early, it was more of the same from Marquette's Jimmy Butler, who captured MVP honors after leading K&D Rounds Landscaping to a 110-93 win over Cherry, Bekaert & Holland in the championship game.
Butler scored 19 points on 5-for-7 shooting, made all eight of his free throw attempts and added six assists and five rebounds for good measure. In three games, Butler averaged 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists, shot 62 percent from the field, didn't miss a free throw (18-for-18), took what the defense gave him, defended hard and had a great rapport with his teammates.
In short, he played like Jimmy Butler. Check the Marquette game tapes from this season for proof. He's not a wow factor player. He's just a player. If the NBA Draft -- which takes place on June 23 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. -- is still about finding players, Butler stands a good chance to be drafted.
Old Dominion's Frank Hassell, the designated local hero this week given the school's proximity to the PIT, had a strong final game for K&D Rounds Landscaping, finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Hassell led the tournament in rebounding (11.7 rpg) and cheers from the crowd. He's huge (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) and doesn't mind throwing his body around, which is enough to earn him some looks and a paycheck next season somewhere, but doesn't have enough in the arsenal for the NBA at this stage of his career.
You could throw San Diego State's Malcolm Thomas in an NBA game tomorrow and probably get something out of him. Whether it's blocking a shot, running the floor, extending plays with his activity and athleticism or making an occasional face-up jumpshot, the 6-foot-9 Thomas has a wide range of skills to draw from. After two strong outings, Thomas finished up with seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the championship game.
Dwight Hardy of St. John's led all scorers with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting, again showing the ability to get in the lane and finish. Primarily a scorer, Hardy handled the point well this week, finishing third at the PIT in assists (5.3 apg). He's not the kind of player who comes in the front door to the NBA these days, but he has some tools and a nice overall feel for the game, especially offensively.
West Virginia's Casey Mitchell came in the front door of Churchland High School and was making shots from the lobby. Not really, but close. Mitchell finished with a tournament-high 30 points on 13-for-21 shooting to lead Portsmouth Partnership to a 95-87 win over Portsmouth Sports Club in the third place game.
He also got to the rim fairly regularly in this game, although that had something to do with the lack of defense being played on him by Duquesne's Bill Clark, himself a shooter who's slightly allergic to defense. Still, it's hard to ignore how well Mitchell shot the ball this week, leading the tournament in scoring (23.3 ppg) on 54 percent shooting.
Constantly in trouble and in Bob Huggins' doghouse at West Virginia, Mitchell clearly has some character issues he needs to work out before an NBA team really thinks about investing in his future. His ability to put the ball in the basket will earn him a nice living somewhere next season.
UAB's Jamarr Sanders finished up a decent week with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. At the PIT, you can set your watch by the field having some powerfully-built, though slightly undersized two-guards who attack the basket. One of the last players to receive an invitation, the 6-foot-4 Sanders made the most of his opportunity, averaging 13.3 points and 4.7 rebounds for the tourney.
Both Mitchell and Sanders clearly benefited from being on the same team as Mickey McConnell of St. Mary's. Though he lacks the size (6-0), strength and foot speed to play in the NBA, McConnell is a true point guard who thinks pass first at all times. He led the PIT in assists (7.7 apg), and his teammates clearly fed off his energy and unselfishness.
Florida's Vernon Macklin, Boston University's John Holland and Duquesne's Clark each scored 17 points for Portsmouth Sports Club.
Macklin's size and pedigree are enough to get him some looks in the late second round. He turns 25 in September, so you have to wonder what type of upside he has. His activity level on the defensive side of the ball is not anywhere it needs to be at this point.
Holland has a great basketball body (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and plays with a lot of energy. He's also a little out of control at times and doesn't have a consistent perimeter stroke. Clark is a shooter who got hot this week and rode the wave.
Florida's Alex Tyus probably couldn't hit the Chesapeake Bay from the shore. The release on his jumpshot is a four-car pileup on Interstate 64. That said, Tyus raised the level of play this week with his boundless energy. Nothing really new for those who've watched Florida the last few years. Tyus plays really, really hard.
He closed with 16 points, mostly on dunks and put-backs, as Norfolk Sports Club defeated Roger Brown's, 94-72.
USC's Alex Stepheson led Norfolk Sports Club with 18 points and 10 rebounds, his best performance of the week. Prior to Saturday it had been a very non-descript tournament for the 6-foot-10 Stepheson, who has a terrific basketball frame, but lacks the requisite skills and polish in the post to be considered seriously for the NBA at this stage of his development.
Tulsa's Justin Hurtt led Roger Brown's with 16 points. Like Sanders from UAB, Hurtt is a bit of an undersized two who's at his best when he's on the attack and using his athleticism. He made a few spot up three-pointers this week, but appears to be just adequate from the perimeter.
Charleston's Andrew Goudelock wrapped up a very solid camp with an uncharacteristically poor shooting game, going 5-for-15 from the field and finishing with 14 points. He also committed five turnovers and only had one assist. Still, there's a lot to like about a player with his shooting ability. He averaged 20.7 points and went 13-for-22 from behind the arc over three games.
In the battle of the winless teams, Washington's Matthew Bryan-Amaning scored 19 points and Kansas State's Curtis Kelly added 16 points and 10 rebounds as Sales Systems Ltd got off the schneid with 95-58 victory over Mike Duman Auto Sales.
The 6-foot-9 Bryan-Amaning followed his break through senior season with a solid performance at the PIT, averaging 17.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. He was able to score in the post with a variety of herky-jerky moves that kept defenders off balance. A very good athlete with a ridiculous wingspan, Bryan-Amaning has a few things NBA scouts tend to look for. He definitely earned a few bucks this week.
As a group, the players on Mike Duman Auto Sales just never clicked, getting beat soundly in all three games. Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney had his best game, finishing with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting. He mostly struggled trying to run the point, over-dribbling and not seeing the floor.
Washington's Justin Holiday had some decent moments to wrap up a fairly quiet camp. Holiday is not the type of player who's ever going to stand out in this setting unless he gets on a good team, and that clearly wasn't the case.
An elite defender at the college level, Holiday had nine points and four rebounds in his final outing. Though he's super thin (178 pounds) and would need to add substantial weight before ever dreaming of impacting an NBA game, Holiday is intriguing as a quick-footed defender who can make an open jumpshot.
Everybody can be feathery, just ask Victor Oladipo.
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