Bringing the Funk at the PIT
Posted Apr 9 2007 8:09PM
PORTSMOUTH, VA, April 7, 2007 —There wasn’t much noise inside Churchland High School as play got underway Friday afternoon at the PIT. But there was plenty of Funk.
Creighton’s Nate Funk made beautiful music, finishing with 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting as Sales Systems defeated Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 73-57. Afterwards, scouts could be heard singing his praises.
Whereas many prospects come to Portsmouth hoping to shed certain labels, Funk is your basic “what you see is what you get” performer. He’s not that tall (6-3) or overly athletic. He can handle or play off the ball. Essentially, he’s just a pretty solid all-around player who doesn’t function beyond his limitations.
He’ll need to continue his solid play to earn a subsequent invite to Orlando, where he can be evaluated against better players in an NBA environment.
Purdue’s David Teague added 14 points for Sales Systems, after scoring 18 in his first outing. He certainly isn’t bashful when it comes to looking for his offense. Teague needs to focus on shot selection and adding weight to his slender frame to keep his name in future NBA discussions.
Purdue’s Carl Landry and Rashaun Freeman of UMass each scored 11 points for Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
Landry knocked down several face-up jumpshots in the first half, a shot he’ll absolutely need to make with consistency to have a chance to play in the NBA. Freeman plays much closer to the basket, but lacks the size and athleticism to really be dominant.
In the day’s most entertaining and well-played game, six players for Holiday Inn Portsmouth scored in double figures en route to a 93-85 win over Portsmouth Sports Club.
Wright State’s Dashaun Wood spearheaded the attack with 15 points and nine assists, giving him eight assists in two games.
Wood came into camp with the reputation as a scorer, which is true to some extent, though Wright State needed him to score this season to be competitive. What he’s shown over two games here is that he can definitely create and distribute, while keeping the defense honest with his ability to score. At this point, you have to figure he’s earned his way to Orlando for another round of evaluation.
Notre Dame’s Russell Carter had another solid game, finishing with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. His reputation as a guy who looks to score is well-founded. He also has a terrific body and plays with energy. Though his ticket to Orlando was probably punched a long time ago, Carter has done nothing to really hurt his pro chances so far this week.
Creighton’s Anthony Tolliver had another strong game for Holiday Inn, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Though not the most skilled guy in the bunch, Tolliver is around the ball and has enough athleticism to make some plays. He began the week as a longshot for Orlando. That isn’t the case anymore.
Northern Illinois’ James Hughes had a terrific showing in his second game, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. At this point, he’s a stiffer version of Mikki Moore, standing 6-11 and weighing 210 pounds. But he played much harder than he did in his first game. He’s on the outside looking in, in terms of being drafted, but you have to imagine based on size alone he’ll play for somebody this summer.
Kansas State’s Cartier Martin led Portsmouth Sports Club with 18 points, while Delaware State’s Jasha Bluntt added 17 points.
Martin’s ability to put the ball in the basket doesn’t come as a surprise. It’s been the other areas of his game that have impressed this week. In two games, he has 19 rebounds and four steals, and has played pretty good defense. The list for Orlando is considered by position, and given the dearth of “threes” this year, it’s hard to imagine Martin not making the trip.
Bluntt is not as much of a certainty, though given his height – listed at 6-6 but measured at 6-4 – perhaps he can be evaluated as a two. Bluntt was 3-for-7 from behind the arc and made several athletic plays.
Though his effectiveness hasn’t been there in terms of scoring the ball, Virginia Tech’s Jamon Gordon has had a decent showing in other areas, distributing the ball and being an absolute pest on the defensive end. He’s not a jaw-dropping athlete and lacks a true position, but could earn a paycheck playing somewhere next year.
In the nightcap, five players scored in double figures, led by Maryland’s Mike Jones with 21 points, as Cherry, Bekaert & Holland defeated Norfolk Sports Club, 96-86.
After a quiet performance in his first outing, Jones showed flashes of why he’s remained on the NBA radar screen, despite never quite reaching his potential at Maryland.
Jones probably has the prettiest stroke in all of college basketball, and he’s a good enough athlete to do some other things. He just often leaves you wanting more.
A players who left nothing on the table was Detroit’s Ryvon Coville, as he finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds for Cherry, Bekaert & Holland. It was the second consecutive solid performance for Coville, who came into camp as somewhat of an unknown. Unlike some of the fours in camp, who drift out to perimeter, Coville knows where his bread is buttered, and he’s turned many heads this week. Where he figures in the Orlando discussion will likely hinge on which underclassmen toss their names in this year’s draft.
Temple’s Dustin Salisbery had another solid performance, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Like Coville, he came into camp as somewhat of an unknown, but has shows good athleticism and a pretty versatile package of skills.
Southern Illinois’ Jamaal Tatum finished with a game-high 11 assists. Though he doesn’t really play like a point guard, he’s managed to create scoring opportunities for others with his ability to penetrate. His boundless energy has been a real positive so far this week.
DePaul’s Sammy Mejia paced Norfolk Sports Club with 18 points, while Iowa’s Adam Haluska added 16 points.
Mejia is an interesting player given his size (6-6) and skill level. He’s not an athlete per se, but he’s an effective scorer. He’s another player who might consider the D-League before entertaining offers from Europe.
Haluska suffers from a bad case of tunnel vision in that he basically looks to score every time he touches the ball. Through two games, he has just one assist. The caveat is that he’s able to get some things done, given his ability to shoot and attack the basket.
Conversely, Arkansas-Little Rock’s Rashad Jones-Jennings fills out the stat sheet in every way imaginable, finishing with 14 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Though not gifted offensively, Jones-Jennings is constantly around the ball. He reminds some of a poor man’s Paul Millsap.