PORTSMOUTH, Va., April 7 -- There was no public address for the first 13 minutes of Game 1 – someone apparently misplaced the microphone – though the pregame noise in the VIP section spoke volumes.

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Larry Bird and Kevin McHale engaged in conversation; the King, Jerry West, holding court with Sonics GM Rick Sund; John Paxson and B.J. Armstrong seated side-by-side, as if it were 1991 on the Bulls bench at Chicago Stadium.

This was the scene opening night at Churchland High School in Portsmouth, Va., site of the 52nd annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, with executives and scouts from all 30 teams mining for gold, or perhaps a diamond in the rough.

Only time will tell whether some of this year’s invitees emerge as “draftable” or worthy of a tryout this summer. Of the 58 players selected in the 2003 NBA Draft, seven made the rounds at Portsmouth – Philadelphia’s Willie Greene, Indiana’s James Jones, Atlanta's Travis Hansen, Miami's Jerome Beasley, and Boston’s Brandon Hunter along with Tommy Smith, who was drafted by Chicago and is spending this season overseas, and Derrick Zimmerman, who was waived by Golden State before the start of the season. With a large number of high school seniors and international players in the mix on draft night, these players have their work cut out for them.

In the tournament opener, Seton Hall’s Andre Barrett and Pittsburgh’s Julius Page, Big East rivals for four seasons, found themselves sharing the starting backcourt for Beach Barton Ford against the Portsmouth Sports Club.

If he were five inches taller, Barrett (5-9) likely wouldn't be here. He'd be slotted in the first round and wouldn't have to bring his tenacious defense, superior quickness and great court sense to Portsmouth. As he did throughout his career and especially this season in leading Seton Hall to the NCAA Tournament, Barrett played an excellent floor game with 11 points, eight assists and four steals as Beach Barton Ford ran away from the Portsmouth Sports Club 90-76. With the success of players like Earl Boykins and T.J. Ford, size is becoming less of an issue and Barrett could benefit.

Colorado’s Michel Morandais led Beach Barton with 17 points, while Texas’ Brian Boddicker, one of four Longhorns scheduled to play here this week, added 16 points on 4-for-7 shooting from three-point range. Because of his team’s depth, Boddicker was never called upon to play big minutes at Texas. In this game he showed that if able to get his feet set, he can be proficient from behind the arc. He reminds some scouts of Matt Bullard – not quite as tall (6-9), but a little more mobile.

The player who did the most to distinguish himself in Game 1 was Georgia State’s Nate Williams, who played for the losing team. Williams finished with a game-high 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting. Though he’ll need to add weight to his slender frame, and could log a few more hours in the weight room, Williams was active around the basket, showed decent post-up skills and ran the floor well for a player his size (6-10). His defense needs work.

In the second game, Jaeson Maravich, an NAIA All-American at William Carey and son of the late Pete Maravich, made all three of his three-point attempts and finished with 16 points as the Tidewater Sealants defeated Holiday Inn Portsmouth 80-74. Though not what you’d call a “picture” shooter, Maravich has an extremely quick release to go with a quick first step.The crowd took great delight in watching the son of a legend put his stamp on Portsmouth. Four other members of Tidewater reached double figures, including Virginia Tech’s Bryant Matthews (11), one of the highly regarded players in camp. Though he clearly needs work on his outside shooting, Bryant has great leaping ability and likes to attack the basket. He also plays the game with a big smile on his face, a refreshing site to many in attendance.

Charlotte's Demon Brown led Holiday Inn with 16 points, including 4-for-8 from three-point range. Louisville’s Luke Whitehead had 12 points, while Tom Timmermans of Notre Dame added 11.

Notes: The winners of Wednesday night’s games play each other Friday night in the semifinals. The losers play Thursday afternoon in a consolation game … Larry Bird stood around after the last game and signed autographs for 20 minutes ... Georgetown’s Gerald Riley will replace Michigan’s Bernard Robinson, who pulled out of the tournament at the last minute.