Keeping ’Score’ at the PIT
Posted Apr 5 2007 9:38AM
PORTSMOUTH, VA, April 5, 2007 — At first glance, Russell Carter looks as if he should be pursuing a career as a linebacker in the NFL. On second thought, make that tight end. They get to score more often.
Carter, who led Notre Dame in scoring (17.1 ppg) on his way to earning All-Big East First Team honors, is relentless at the offensive end of the floor, displaying a combination of range and slashing ability that led one scout to speculate at his being the top prospect in this year’s camp.
Such exploits, however, have a tendency to come at the expense of the other players on his team. In Wednesday night’s opener of the 2007 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Carter scored 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting, to go with five assists and three steals as Holiday Inn Portsmouth defeated Tidewater Sealants, 110-71.
Carter also committed four turnovers, took several bad shots and frequently missed open teammates, earning him scattered groans from the end zone of general managers and scouts.
Not that Carter was alone in this respect. His teammate, De’Angelo Alexander (Charlotte) shot and clawed his way to a game-high 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including 5-for-9 from behind the arc. He also failed to register an assist.
It’s an annual dilemma for some of the nation’s top seniors here at the PIT -- Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to subjugate one’s game for the sake of evaluation, or to suffer the slings and arrows of criticism for playing to one’s strengths.
Carter and Alexander can score the ball. They look to attack the game offensively. Unfortunately, they’re both 6-4 and lack some of the ball skills needed to play shooting guard in the NBA.
Holiday Inn’s primary ball-handler, Wright’s State’s Dashaun Wood, did a much better job of balancing the need to score and distribute, finishing with 18 points and nine assists, with only two turnovers. He also added six rebounds and three steals. He’s small (5-11), but has a good overall feel for the game and a definite nose for the basket. He’s the type of player who could shine this week and increase his profile with European scouts in attendance. Last year, Keydren Clark of St. Peter’s captured tournament MVP honors. He’s currently leading the Greek A-1 league in scoring.
Creighton’s Anthony Tolliver led Holiday Inn with eight rebounds, to go with 14 points, three blocks and two steals. While some question his skill level and touch, Tolliver was extremely active with a live body. Performances like tonight can only increase his chances of perhaps securing a summer league invite.
There wasn’t much that went right for Tidewater, which seemed beaten from the opening tap. Virgina Tech’s Zabian Dowdell led the Sealants with 22 points. Winthrop’s Craig Bradshaw added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Dowdell has the confidence and physical makeup to compete at the next level. What he lacks is an identity. At 6-3, he’s neither point guard nor shooting guard. He has the ability to get into the lane and make plays, but not enough of those plays seem to be for others, as evidenced by his one assist Wednesday night. He’s a combo guard in every sense of the word. To make the NBA as such, you often have to be exceptional at some aspect of the game.
Bradshaw comes as advertised. He’s a big guy who appears more comfortable facing the basket. Despite a low release on his jumpshot, he does have some range and is mobile.
It was a tough first outing for Loyola’s Blake Schilb, one of the more recognizable faces in the crowd, given the fact he played in the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp last year. He managed only two points on 1-for-5 shooting. Unlike Carter and Alexander, Schilb does not possess the gunner mentality and strives to function within the team concept. Unfortunately, the team in general laid a complete egg.
The second game of the evening was a lot more competitive, as the Portsmouth Sports Club got 14 points and 13 rebounds from Kansas State’s Cartier, edging Beach Barton Ford 74-70.
It was by no means a signature performance by Martin, who shot only 5-for-20 from the field. But, he was also snatched a game-high 13 rebounds and added two steals. Martin reportedly began the season in Bob Huggins’ doghouse at Kansas State, but worked his way back into favor with a strong senior campaign. At 6-7, Martin has range and scoring ability. He’s the type of player who, if not drafted, should strongly consider the NBA Development League, as he does possess the makings of an NBA player.
Caleb Green of Oral Roberts added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Portsmouth Sports Club. Green is the type of player for who the D-League might not be the best option. He’s a four, but lacks the size and physical makeup commonly associated with NBA power forwards. He might be better served beginning the earning process of his playing years right away overseas.
Virginia Tech’s Jamon Gordon turned in a nice performance, tallying six points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Like his backcourt mate at Virginia Tech, Zabian Dowdell, Gordon is by no means a point guard. But, he really gets after it.
Boston College’s Sean Marshall led Beach Barton with 22 points. Not much new to report here. Marshall is a fiery competitor who can make a few shots here and there. He struggles as a ball-handler and playmaker.
Maryland’s Ekene Ibekwe finished with seven rebounds and four blocks for Beach Barton. While his defense is clearly ahead of his offense at this point, Ibekwe has good size (6-9 in bare feet) and a freakish wingspan, the type of raw materials that could develop with some time in the D-League.