Better to Give Than Receive in Portsmouth
Posted Apr 9 2004 4:20PM
Portsmouth Invitational Tournament 2004
PORTSMOUTH, Va., April 9 -- The embargo on smallish point guards has been lifted in recent years with players like Earl Boykins and T.J. Ford proving that short people do have reason to live in the NBA. Smallish two guards have had a little more difficulty gaining acceptance.
After two games at Portsmouth, the jury is still out. There's no denying Flores (6-1) is a gifted offensive player, capable of getting his own shot at will. That said, he's registered only four assists, while having the ball in his hands a large majority of the time.
Flores scored 15 points in a losing cause in Thursday's consolation bracket game, as Holiday Inn Portsmouth, behind 18 points from Luke Whitehead and 16 apiece for Brandon Mouton and Tom Timmermans, defeated Portsmouth Sports Club 89-85.
Mouton, one of four players from Texas, is one of the most highly regarded players in camp. Though a bit on the short side (6-5) for a two these days, scouts praise his toughness and athletic ability and feel there could be a spot for him in the second round of this year's draft.
Georgia State's Nate Williams, who scored 24 points for the Portsmouth Sports Club in their opener Wednesday night, followed up with 14 points.
The evening session got under way with Sales Systems taking on the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and from the opening tip, the game was a study in contrasts. Norfolk Naval was committed to pushing the tempo and sharing the ball. Sales Systems took the one-pass-shot approach. When the smoke cleared, Norfolk Naval registered 27 assists, compared with 11 for Sales and posted a 104-71 victory.
USC's Desmon Farmer led the way with a game-high eight assists to go with 15 points. Seven of eight players for Norfolk Naval reached double figures, led by 19 points from Kentucky's Erik Daniels. Antonio Burks of Memphis State, the Conference USA Player of the Year, had scouts buzzing with his blinding end-to-end quickness. He finished with 13 points.
Missouri-Kansas City's Michael Watson, another small two, led Sales with 16 points on 18 shot attempts to go with two assists. Like Flores, Watson has the ability to get his own shot when he wants. On too many possessions, he failed to get into his team's offense set, opting for his own shot. DePaul's Delonte Holland added 14 points, though he shot 6-for-23 from the field.
The evening's nightcap between MD Designs and the Norfolk Sports Club featured some of the tournament's more intriguing prospects. The player who grabbed the most attention was Western Michigan's Mike Williams, who scored 22 points on a variety of smooth offensive moves, leading MD Designs to a 94-80 victory.
Williams, the Player of the Year in the Mid-American Conference who helped lead Western Michigan to the NCAA Tournament, isn't a player to classify. He's 6-9, and can operate with his back to the basket for facing. He plays like a versatile four. The problem is he weighs about 190 pounds soaking wet, and would have difficulty defending large power forwards in the NBA. The good news is he appears quick enough to play small forward. GMs and scouts were impressed.
His teammate on MD, Ricky Minard, also turned a few heads. Minard has been on the radar for some time, having put his name last year's draft before pulling out before the deadline. He participated in last year's Chicago Pre-Draft Camp.
The 6-5 guard from Morehead State made 10 of 11 shots and finished with a game-high 24 points. The book on Minard is that for such an athletic player, he has a tendency to settle for a somewhat streaky outside shot. In this game, Minard attacked the rim and was able to finish after contact.
Norfolk Sports Club didn't share the ball quite as much, but a few players stood out. Iowa State's Jackson Vroman, a 6-11 center with good mobility, scored 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including a few emphatic dunks over Ohio State's Velimir Radinovic. Vroman had scouts talking about his tenacity and willingness to mix it up. The early reports are he could earn a trip to the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp.
Temple's David Hawkins is another interesting prospect. Hawkins checks in at about 220 pounds, standing 6-4. Some teams like him as a big point guard, while others wonder if he has the height to play shooting guard in the NBA. He finished with 13 points and a team-high four assists.
Notes: Today's action gets under way at 3 p.m. with a consolation bracket game. The winners from Wednesday and Thursday play at 7 and 9 … Georgetown's Gerald Riley, who replaced Michigan's Bernard Robinson, scored 12 points … Larry Bird has taken autograph seekers in shifts, signing some during the break between games and then after the last game.