Prospects finish up strong at Portsmouth Invitational
POSTED: Apr 14, 2013 8:27 PM ET
It seemed harmless at the time, BYU's Brandon Davies accidentally scoring for the other team when a ball that was up for grabs in the paint bounced off the back of his shoulder and fell through the basket.
That's just how hot Davies was.
When Roger Brown's began slicing into a lead for K&D Round's Landscaping that had ballooned to 19 points midway through the second half, you briefly wondered if a near perfect Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for Davies would be spoiled by such an inadvertent faux pas.
Though the lead at one point shrunk to six points, Davies, with a little help from Arizona's Mark Lyons, made sure Roger Brown's got no closer, as K&D Round's went on to capture the championship of the 2013 PIT. Davies finished with a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds, his third outstanding game of the tournament, and was named MVP in a landslide vote. Lyons, the only other player in the field to garner more than one MVP vote, added 20 points.
An informal poll conducted among a small gathering of scouts who were asked to fill out their MVP ballots with about four minutes left in the game yielded only one name -- and for good reason. Davies averaged 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds; he shot 68 percent from the field (25-for-37); and his team won the tournament. It was one of the more emphatic slam dunk MVP votes in recent PIT history.
But, it was also the way he did it. He scored with quick and decisive moves in the post. He grabbed key rebounds. Perhaps the best part of his game was his unselfishness, as he routinely drew defenders in the lane and dumped the ball to his teammates for easy scores. Davies brought the full arsenal to Portsmouth, and left town having greatly enhanced his draft status. Even if he struck out on draft night, as it's never the 60 best players who get picked, Davies tossed up a body of work this week that won't soon be forgotten by NBA teams already looking at options for summer league and training camp.
And that's the point that consistently gets missed amid all the nonsense with agents telling guys not to play at the PIT. Too many guys think it's about protecting their status as a late second round pick, when it's really an ongoing process of embracing competition and stating your case to be considered for a roster spot. The game tapes and scouting reports from the regular season will always tell a good chunk of the tale. But, a chance to play against peers in front of general managers and scouts is a wonderful opportunity too many players are missing out on.
After a 2-for-10 showing in his first game of the tourney and a pedestrian outing in his second tilt, Lyons saved his best for last, making critical shots when his team needed them most, which was often the case this past season at Arizona. Lyons is a stretch for the NBA at this point as a small shooting guard with average athleticism, but he plays with a chip on his shoulder, which will serve him well moving forward.
Though he was much more active in this game than the previous two, Kansas' Elijah Johnson only finished with five points on 2-for-7 shooting, while committing six turnovers for K&D Round's. Johnson is a bit of an enigma to scouts. They love the physical profile and athleticism. They're not so enamored with what can only be described as a less than cerebral approach to the game at times. No NBA team would trust him with minutes at the point right now. Someone could take a flier on his athletic potential, and hope the other parts of his game developed.
LaSalle's Ramon Galloway led Roger Brown's with 15 points and six assists, but committed another six turnovers, giving him 20 in three games. Despite the turnovers, Galloway had a solid camp, averaging 13.0 points and 5.7 assists, earning praise from scouts for his energy, versatility and playmaking ability. He all but assured himself of some high level workouts against the top point guards and combo guards in this year's draft.
Wichita State's Carl Hall had another solid game for Roger Brown's, finishing with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting. One of the last players to be invited this year -- and one who was pretty busy in the days leading up to the PIT, representing the Shockers in the Final Four, Hall showed no signs of weariness. Quite the opposite, as he brought tremendous energy to the floor. He's undersized to play in the post in the NBA, but you can't discount a guy who competes as hard as he does.
In the third place game, Clemson's Devin Booker scored 22 points, and Miami's Durand Scott added 19 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals in one of the most impressive individual performances of the tournament, as Cherry Bekaert defeated Portsmouth Partnership 94-89.
The buzz surrounding Scott early in his college career has tapered off a bit, but that might no longer be the case after this week. Scott, with his above average athleticism and boundless defensive energy is an interesting player to keep an eye on. The biggest question that gets asked about combo guards in this day age is who they will guard. In Scott's case, the answer is anybody. And that player would be in for a long day.
Illinois State's Tyler Brown led all scorers with 27 points, connecting on 7-for-11 from behind the arc. Delaware's Jamelle Hagins added 13 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Brown led the tourney in 3-pointers made (13) and finished third in scoring (19.7 ppg), while shooting 50 percent from the field overall (46 percent from distance). Another late addition to the field, Brown is a guy scouts will have to double back on. Shooters don't grow on trees, and this guy can really fill it when he's hot.
Hagins capped off a terrific camp with another solid performance. He didn't come in with a big reputation, but he left with one after averaging 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds over three games. Though a little undersized, Hagins is a solid athlete who really competes and doesn't stray far from his strengths. Teams will certainly be calling over the next few weeks after this performance.
In the fifth place game, Southern Mississippi's Dwayne Davis put on a shooting display, at one point making five consecutive three-pointers on his way to 29 points for Mike Duman Auto Sales in a 105-94 win over Sales Systems, LTD. Davis, who shot 7-for-12 from three-point range in this game, wound up as the tournament's leading scorer (21.7 ppg). Even though he hoisted 21 shots in his final outing, they were good shots. Davis doesn't totally fit the NBA mold, in that he's not an overly athletic/fluid player, nor is he an elite defender. He's not a stiff athletically, but his measurables are average from an NBA standpoint. But the guy knows how to play, and might be able to carve a niche in the league.
Tennessee State's Robert Covington added 16 points and nine rebounds for Mike Duman, capping off a very solid performance this week. Covington finished fourth in scoring (17.7 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (8.7 rpg). He was slowed a bit by the tape measure, which only had at a shade over 6-foot-6, after being listed at 6-9 by his school. Still, Covington is a solid athlete with a nice stroke who will rebound from the wing. Guys have played long careers in the NBA with those three qualities.
Long Beach State's James Ennis, who had 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Sales Systems, probably left the tournament with the greatest chance of being drafted. The numbers didn't quite match up with other top performers, but Ennis really aced the eye test, and showed flashes of a guy with a pretty serious upside. He's a supreme athlete at 6-foot-7, who's improved as a perimeter shooting while showing a better understanding of how to play this past season. He could get by on athleticism alone at the college level. That won't be enough for the NBA, but if Ennis continues to put the work in, he could have a nice career.
Murray State's Ed Daniel wrapped up a productive camp with 12 points and nine rebounds for Sales Systems. He averaged 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds over three games, and probably played harder than anyone in the field. There's no real mystery surrounding Daniel. He's undersized (6-foot-6) for the post and not very skilled, but he's very athletic and plays his tail off. You can never write those guys off. Just ask Bo Outlaw, Darvin Ham and Reggie Evans to name a few.
In the seventh place game, Ohio's D.J.Cooper and Iona's Lamont Jones each scored 20 points for Norfolk Sports Club in a 94-65 win over Portsmouth Sports Club. Cooper added 10 assists and Jones dished out eight, but those figures were a bit misleading. Both players really over-dribbled, waiting for picks to be set so they could score or dish instead of moving the ball and keeping teammates involved early in possessions. The result was shaky chemistry.
Notre Dame's Jack Cooley grabbed another 12 rebounds for Norfolk Sports Club, and finished as the PIT's top rebounder this year (14.0 rpg). Cooley improved a ton over the course of his college career, going from a guy who averaged 1.0 points and 5.3 minutes as a freshman to one of the top big men in the Big East, averaging 13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds. Not a strong NBA prospect, wherever Cooley plays next year, that team will a solid effort on the glass and a ton of good ball screens.
Detroit's Nick Minnerath led Portsmouth Sports Club 10 points. Washington's Abdul Gaddy added nine points, five assists and three rebounds. Though he never lived up to his reputation as a big-time recruit for the Huskies, Gaddy tries to play the game the right way. He looks to get his teammates involved. He doesn't take bad shots out of the flow of the offense. His below average quickness and athleticism really limit his NBA chances.