Saving the Best for Last at PIT
Posted Apr 10 2006 2:44PM
Barea leaves scouts with a positive impression
PORTSMOUTH, Va., April 9 -- Jose Juan Barea had just shattered the single-game and single-tournament assist records at the PIT, dishing out 18 assists for Beach Barton Ford in a 118-100 victory over Norfolk Sports Club, giving him 41 assists in three games.
A reporter soon approached, and asked Barea what his immediate future held, to which he replied: 'I'm going to Disney World.'
That last paragraph is pure fiction. But, as we know, there's truth in jest. The fact is, many of the top performers at this year's PIT are hoping to secure an invite to the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in June, which moves to the Disney Complex in Orlando, Fla.
It's hard to envision a scenario in which Barea doesn't make the trip. He did everything but drive the bus back and forth from the player hotel over three games, averaging 14.0 points, 13.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds.
Though his height (5-10) and outside shooting ability raise questions, Barea makes the players around him better, and never stops competing. In a draft that's short on point guards, Barea should get a strong look in the second round.
The primary beneficiary of Barea's unselfishness was Cincinnati's Eric Hicks, who had one of the best single games of the tournament, finishing with 27 points and 17 rebounds. Not bad, considering he wasn't even supposed to be playing.
After losing his first two games, thus being eliminated from the tournament, Hicks informed the committee that if anyone were to get injured, he'd be ready to sub in. When Hartford's Kenny Adeleke, after two strong games, injured his shoulder, Hicks got his chance and made the most of it.
The reviews on Hicks this week were somewhat mixed. No one questions his ability to impact a game with his physical style of play. Keeping him away from the rim would be a chore for any player on the planet Earth. Some feel he'd make a terrific energy player in the NBA right now. Others feel his overall game could use more seasoning, either in the D-League or overseas.
Connecticut's Rashad Anderson and Maryland's Travis Garrison also rode the Barea gravy train, finishing with 20 points and 17 points, respectively.
Anderson came as advertised this week. Give him a little space, and he'll knock down shots. What impressed scouts was his ability to create that space for himself on several occasions. He's clearly a bit one-dimensional, but designated shooters have found their way into the NBA over the years.
Garrison was somewhat of a revelation. After a very pedestrian senior season at Maryland, Garrison had three strong games here, averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds.
At a chiseled 6-8, 235, Garrison showed decent inside-out skills. He simply made all the plays he needed to make this week. He's the type of player who, with proper coaching, could turn into something. Where that leaves his draft prospects is anybody's guess. The second round of the NBA Draft is not always about picking the most deserving players, or those with the most upside. Oftentimes, it's about choosing a player that can be stashed overseas, or taking a flyer on a player no one really knows about, including the team making the selection.
In the consolation game, Marquette's Steve Novak finally caught fire, making seven three-pointers and finishing with 25 points as MD Designs defeated Norfolk Naval Shipyard 86-80.
Like Anderson, Novak is a hired gun. The fact that he's 6-10 (in shoes) makes him more attractive to those making personnel decisions. His weight (216) could be an issue. Novak has narrow shoulders and a very thin upper body. It's hard to see him battling in the trenches of the NBA without additional weight. That said, he has something you can't teach, and the chances of him being selected in the second round are pretty high.
Stanford's Chris Hernandez added 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting for MD Designs, capping off a tournament in which he averaged 14.0 points on 75 percent shooting.
The problem for Hernandez is that he only had eight assists in three games. He'd have to improve his playmaking skills to find a home in the NBA anytime soon.
Carl Krauser led Norfolk Naval with 20 points. For a player who seems like he's been around forever, and has been scouted to death by NBA teams, in addition to playing in Chicago last year, Krauser managed to help his stock this week.
He made a conscience effort to distribute the ball, averaging 7.3 assists, and showed solid leadership skills. What you always get with Krauser is effort and intensity. When it's channeled in the right direction, he becomes a much more intriguing player.
In the championship game, seven of eight players scored in double figures as the Portsmouth Sports Club defeated Holiday Inn Portsmouth 104-88.
Keydren Clark took home MVP honors, leading the tournament in scoring (19.3 ppg), not a huge surprise considering he ranked third in the nation behind Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick.
Given his size (5-10) and lack of point guard skills, Clark's professional career will likely begin overseas. There's no disputing his ability to score, but at that size, he'll need to add some other dimensions to his game.
Solomon Jones finished up the tourney on a strong note, tallying 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Though he'll need to add weight to his slender frame, Jones has solid instincts around the basket and very good lift. Most scouts felt it would be a surprise if Jones wound up going undrafted.
Though he had a somewhat quiet week in terms of production, Oklahoma's Terrell Everett was efficient and didn't try to stand out on a team with the most NBA prospects. He picked his spots and showed decent playmaking skills and solid athleticism. The NBA loves drafting big, athletic point guards, and Everett (6-4) fits that description.