Looking into the P.I.T
Posted Apr 5 2005 12:16PM
The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament enters its 53rd year
PORTSMOUTH, Va., April 5 -- To be or not to be.
That is the Shakespearian dilemma playing out on stage this week in Portsmouth, Virginia, as 64 of the nation’s top college seniors take part in the 53rd annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, the first official stop on the NBA’s pre-draft circuit.
But, as the playwright once wrote, “All that glitters is not gold.”
A stunning individual performance may enlighten critics to an aspect of a player’s game not seen in previous viewings, but the folks making the casting decisions may not be interested in a player stealing the show.
In 2004, Colorado’s Michel Morandais and USC’s Desmon Farmer were clearly two of the best players in camp from an individual standpoint. When the curtain closed on draft night, Royal Ivey of Texas (Atlanta) and Mississippi’s Justin Reed (Boston), two of the least talked about players that week (neither earned an invite to Chicago), were drafted in the second round and eventually stuck with their respective teams, while Morandais and Farmer were left to ponder what went wrong.
Last year, there were point guards who scored more points and dished out more assists than Seton Hall’s Andre Barrett. But there weren’t any who consistently looked to run the offense and make plays for others. Barrett, who went undrafted, spent much of this season with Houston before recently being picked up by Orlando.
This figures to be an interesting theme to track this week. Here’s a look at some of the bigger name players who could be affected.
Alan Anderson, Michigan State: Anderson thrust himself into the draft picture with a solid, if not spectacular senior season at Michigan State. He excels in the transition game and flourished in Tom Izzo’s high-energy system. He has decent range on his jumpshot. His passing and ball-handling skills need work. Reminds some of Shandon Anderson, in that, he operates well within a defined system.
Chuck Hayes, Kentucky: One of the most beloved players in Kentucky basketball history. Tubby Smith has said that Hayes embodies everything he wants his program to be. If he were 6-10, we’re probably talking about a 12-year pro. Hayes checks in at 6-6 and could be tempted to show things more commonly associated with wing players, though his strengths come around the basket and playing within a team concept.
Over the last four seasons, the PIT has sent 26 players to the NBA. Among these are key NBA role players like Ronald Murray and Reggie Evans of the Seattle SuperSonics, Rasual Butler of the Miami Heat and John Salmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. Nine players who performed in the 2004 PIT are in the NBA today: Royal Ivey(Atlanta), Andre Barrett (Orlando), Justin Reed (Boston), Jackson Vroman (New Orleans), Erik Daniels (Sacramento), Luis Flores (Denver), John Edwards (Indiana), Tony Bobbitt (L.A. Lakers) and Antonio Burks (Memphis).
James Thomas, who was named the 2005 NBDL Player of the Year, has had two 10-day contracts with Portland and one with Cleveland. Ricky Minard (48th, Sacramento), Marcus Douthit (56th, LA Lakers), and Rashad Wright (59th, Indiana) played in the 2004 PIT and were drafted by NBA teams.
Action gets underway Wednesday evening and continues through Saturday. At stake for many of the participants is a subsequent invite to the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp which takes place June 7-10. With so many underclassmen expected to declare for the draft, earning a trip to Chicago will be more difficult than in recent years.
Rob Reheuser will be reporting from Portsmouth all week. The NBA Draft 2005 is June 28 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York.