The Way It Is At the PIT
Posted Apr 6 2007 10:23AM
PORTSMOUTH, VA, April 6, 2007 — Three-time Grammy winner and Newport News native Bruce Hornsby made the rounds at the PIT Thursday. There was no sign of his backup band, “The Range.”
Range was noticeably missing from the day’s nightcap, as Norfolk Naval Shipyard shot 1-for-14 from three-point range and 33 percent for the game, losing to Norfolk Sports Club, 81-61.
Gonzaga’s Derek Raivio and Winthrop’s Torrell Martin each shot 1-for-10, while Purdue’s Carl Landry, one of the better prospects in camp, made only 5-of-15 from the field on his way to 14 points.
Landry did add 10 rebounds, but missed several open looks from 17-feet, a distance from which he’ll need to improve his accuracy if he hopes to leave a lasting impression this week. Not that Landry hasn’t already been seen a ton the past few years at Purdue. But, his ability to make those shots could be the difference between a career as a role player in the NBA or a star overseas.
Landry certainly benefits from the fact that he’s a terrific kid with solid character. Look no further than Houston’s Chuck Hayes or New York’s Malik Rose to find players who’ve managed to stick in the NBA, despite not having supreme size or talent. When filling out rosters, NBA GM’s don’t always think in terms of talent, or developing yet another young player. They tend to think of chemistry, spirited practice sessions and clubhouse influence.
Landry is more skilled than a guy like Hayes, who functions as a glue guy for the Houston Rockets. He’ll no doubt receive huge offers from European teams who covet his skilled low post game. Depending on how he performs this summer and whether he senses legit interest from the NBA, Landry will have an interesting decision to make on whether to stick around in the NBA Development League or cash in overseas.
Iowa’s Adam Haluska led Norfolk Sports Club with 20 points. That he failed to register an assist came as no surprise. As soon as he catches a pass on the wing, Haluska has one thing in mind, which is to score in anyway possible. He’s helped by the fact that he’s a very good athlete and plays with great intensity. He’ll need to show a little more versatility this week to enhance his resume.
Virginia State’s Avis Wyatt made a decent first impression, finishing with 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Listed at 6-11, Wyatt can’t weigh more than 215 pounds soaking wet and prefers to play on the perimeter.
Balance was the name of the game in the evening session’s opener, as Cherry, Bekaert & Holland had six players in double figures, on its way to defeating Sales Systems, 82-77 in the day’s most well-played and entertaining game.
UNLV’s Kevin Kruger hit two big threes late in the second half to help Cherry, Bekaert & Holland pull away. Fresh off a run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, playing for his father, former NBA coach Lon Kruger, Kevin finished with 13 points and four assists, and did a nice job running the show. His NBA prospects appear slim, but Kruger should make a living playing basketball somewhere.
As a team, Cherry, Bekaert & Holland dished out 20 assists, led by seven from Southern Illinois’ Jamaal Tatum. Also fresh off an exciting run in the NCAA Tournament, where his team lost to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen, Tatum made all four of his shots from the field, finishing with 13 points. There’s no denying he plays with energy. Where he fits in the NBA scheme of things is up for debate.
Detroit’s Ryvon Coville turned in a solid performance, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Former Detroit coach Don Sicko, who now does scouting work for Marty Blake & Associates, has seen Coville several times this season, and thinks he could eventually develop into an NBA player. For now, Coville will likely chase the dream in the D-League or overseas.
Purdue’s David Teague led Sales Systems with 18 points, while Stephane Lasme of UMass – the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year -- finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Lasme, who averaged an eye-popping 5.1 blocks this past season, is an intriguing prospect, given his length, motor and athletic ability. Listed at 6-8, but probably much closer to 6-6 ½, he makes plays. You have to imagine he’ll get the chance to play against better competition in Orlando should he continue his strong play this week.
Creighton’s Nate Funk made a nice first impression, despite shooting 3-for-9 from the floor and only scoring seven plays. What he lacks in size and athleticism, he makes up with smarts. He made several nice plays and was always in the flow of the action.
Though he didn’t figure much in the action, finishing with six points and three rebounds, Syracuse’s Darryl Watkins was a hot topic of conversation on Scout Row. A big-time prospect coming out of high school, Watkins never reached his potential at Syracuse. His size (6-11) and shot-blocking ability will keep his name in the second-round discussion over the next few months. Size matters in the NBA.
In the first game of the day, Beach Barton Ford got 20 points and eight assists from California’s Ayinde Ubaka on its way to defeating Tidewater Sealants, 90-83. A strong senior campaign, capped off with an impressive showing in the Pac-10 tournament has firmly planted Ubaka on the NBA radar screen. At 6-4 with solid range, Ubaka has some point guard skills. A strong showing this week should lead to another chance to impress in Orlando.
Beach Barton also got 19 points from Towson’s Gary Neal and 17 from Hofstra’s Loren Stokes. Neither is an NBA prospect at this stage, but both appear on their way to lucrative careers overseas, given their ability to score.
Loyola’s Blake Schilb rebounded nicely from a quiet showing in Tuesday’s opener, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Tidewater.
Schilb is clearly one of the more skilled players in the camp. Though he lacks NBA athleticism, he shows a good understanding of how to play the game. The fact that he’s 6-7 and can handle the ball keeps his name in the NBA discussion.
San Diego State’s Mohamed Abukar added 15 points on 7-for-14 shooting. Listed at 6-10, Abukar is strictly a perimeter player at this point, but has a very nice stroke. He’ll need to add strength to convince scouts he has a future in the NBA.