Portsmouth Invitational 2008 -- Day 4 Recap
Posted Apr 14 2008 6:13PM
Something in the Tidewater in Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH, Va., April 13, 2008 -- The fix was in. Or so it seemed.
Three star players from the Atlantic 10. Two selfless frontcourt performers. A combo guard willing to blend in. A pesky two with Bobby Knight experience on his resume.
And, oh yeah, the eventual tournament MVP.
About the only outcome hanging in the balance this week at the PIT was which player would be singled out for MVP honors.
That distinction went to Ohio Stateís Jamar Butler, though it easily could have gone to St. Josephís Pat Calathes, Templeís Mark Tyndale or Xavierís Josh Duncan.
Tyndale had to settle for the A.I. Award, named after Allen Iverson and given to the campís Most Inspirational Performer, and there was no disputing this particular vote.
Tyndale capped an excellent tourney with seven points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks, as Tidewater Sealants defeated Portsmouth Sports Club in the championship game, 103-80.
From the opening whistle of the tournament, it was clear there would be no curbing Tyndaleís enthusiasm and energy. He was all over the place, and his teammates followed suit.
Though heís not overly skilled and lacks range on his jumpshot, Tyndale is a lock-down defender with excellent strength and court awareness. Finishing in the top three in the MVP voting figures to be a good sign for his chances of moving on to Orlando.
Whereas Tyndale set the tone for how hard the team played, Calathes brought an air of unselfishness from the get go, making several spectacular passes in the very first game of the tournament. It proved contagious, as Tidewater registered 29 assists in that first game, and never looked back.
For Calathes, Portsmouth proved to be a bit of a coming out party, as scouts were buzzing about his ball-handling skills and playmaking ability at 6-10. Heís a mortal lock to make it to Orlando, and will definitely generate some interest on draft night.
Duncan, fresh off a run to the Elite Eight with Xavier, basically picked up where he left off, knocking down open jumpers, rebounding at a decent clip and playing good, solid team basketball. Heís a player that continues to grow on you the more you see him play. He garnered several MVP votes, and will certainly move on to Orlando for another chance to impress.
As for Butler, his hot shooting really captured the attention of fans and scouts alike. Having led the Big Ten in assists this season, his ability to run an offense was not in question. Knocking down jumpers at such a high clip definitely helped his case for NBA consideration. Next stop is Orlando.
Illinois Shawn Pruitt, Texas A&Mís Joseph Jones, Baylorís Aaron Bruce and Texas Techís Martin Zeno rounded out the Tidewater team.
UNC-Greensboroís Kyle Lines turned paced Portsmouth Sports Club with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Over his last two games, Hines shot a staggering 18-for-21 from the field, while filling out the stat sheet in every way. How his game translates at the next level, given his height (6-5) and lack of guard-type skills, is a legit question mark, but thereís no denying how athletic he is and how hard he plays.
In the third place game, Butlerís Mike Green tallied 16 points and five rebounds, as K&D Roundís Landscaping edged Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 82-81.
Though he played a little out of control at times, Green has the makings of a future backup point guard in the NBA. A terrific rebounder from the guard position, Green is athletic enough to get his own shot and plays within the team concept. Comparisons to Mike Wilks, whoís managed to hang around the NBA for several years, were heard from several scouts.
Drexelís Frank Elegar paced Norfolk Naval Shipyard with 19 points and a single game-high eight blocks, while UMassí Gary Forbes dished 13 assists.
A late replacement, Elegar had a very nice tournament, scoring near the basket, rebounding in traffic and blocking shots. After an up-and-down senior season, he appears to be rounding into form at the right time. He has a chance to play in Orlando.
Forbes was clearly in a playmaking mode, passing up many open shots to make plays for others. Heís shown he can score at the college level. His ability to be a playmaker only enhances his chances of making a roster
The most exciting game of the day saw Sales Systems outlast Norfolk Sports Club in overtime, 97-93.
New Mexico Stateís Justin Hawkins led Sales with 20 points, while Ohio Stateís Othello Hunter added 12 point and 13 rebounds.
It was a strong finish for Hunter, who some felt didnít deserve an invitation based on a pretty ordinary senior campaign. He wound up leading the camp in rebounding (12.0 rpg) and finishing second in field goal percentage (68 percent).
Tennesseeís Chris Lofton led all scorers with 25 points, but it might have been too little, too late, as many general managers and scouts didnít hang around for the Saturday games. Lofton still appears to searching for his shooting touch, but still showed a knack for hitting tough shots in the clutch. Heís a long shot for Orlando, and will have to hope his overall body of work in college will count more than this past season.
In the dayís opening game, Cherry, Baekert & Holland was down to only six healthy players, but still managed to defeat Holiday Inn Portsmouth, 94-80. Niagraís Charron Fisher led all scorers with 27 points, while Wisconsinís Brian Butch added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Butch has his detractors, but he shot the ball well enough to earn an invite to Orlando. Though heís very perimeter oriented, his ability to face the basket and knock down shots at 6-11 gives him a chance at the next level.
George Masonís Will Thomas led Holiday Inn Portsmouth with 21 points. Thomas is a long shot to play in the NBA, but his polished inside repertoire should translate very well overseas.