Reputations Built and Cemented in Portsmouth
Posted Apr 11 2004 7:27PM
Portsmouth Invitational Tournament 2004
PORTSMOUTH, Va., April 11 -- The players for Norfolk Naval Shipyard were gathered at center court, being saluted for a tournament well done, having pulled away from Beach Barton Ford to capture this year's Portsmouth Invitational Championship Trophy.
Such was the dynamic as the 52nd Portsmouth Invitational Tournament came to close -– a player (Bobbitt) with an established reputation stepping forward, while a player without one until this week (Williams), left through the back door, each carrying the same dream and knowing that Portsmouth could play a part in the dream coming true.
Truth be told, anyone of three players for Norfolk Naval Shipyard could have easily been tagged MVP -- Bobbit, USC's Desmon Farmer and Antonio Burks of Memphis. All three had their moments, with Bobbit stealing the show in the final game, scoring 19 points, while Burks added 16 points and 10 assists. Farmer was the clear front-runner heading into the final game, but suffered a nasty spill early in the first half and played sparingly the rest of the way.
Bobbit averaged 17.0 points and 4.3 assists. Farmer finished at 16.3 points and 4.7 assists, while Burks, who set the tone in each of the three games with his blinding end-to-end quickness, averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 assists.
Colorado's Michel Morandais led Beach Barton with 25 points and finished up as the tournament's leading scorer (20.7 ppg). While some highly regarded seniors opted not to lay it on the line in Portsmouth, Morandais accepted the invitation and enhanced his reputation with NBA decision-makers. He'll likely receive an invitation to play in Chicago and many feel he has an excellent chance to be drafted.
On the eve of the tourney, Gonzaga's Cory Violette misread his itinerary and wound up missing his flight. He nearly missed his chance to impress GMs and scouts, saving his best for his team's final game. Violette had 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Tidewater Sealants scored a 91-88 win over MD Designs to capture third place at the PIT.
With his thick frame and willingness to mix it up, Violette reminds some scouts of Mark Madsen. Though not quite as tall or mean, Violette has a much better touch from outside. Virginia Tech's Bryant Matthews continued to impress with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. One scout for the Houston Rockets, when asked to select the tournament's top prospect, tabbed Matthews, citing his striking athletic ability and all-around upside. Matthews is an engaging kid who has a willingness to learn, a good recipe for success at the next level. He should expect an invitation to Chicago.
Ricky Minard led MD with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting and appeared to cement a return trip to Chicago. Minard tested the waters last season before returning to Morehead State. Though he needs to show more consistency with his outside game, Minard is the type of athlete that usually finds a place in the NBA these days.
In the fifth place game, seven of eight players for Norfolk Sports Club reached double figures, led by 18 points and 10 rebounds from Iowa State's Jackson Vroman, in a 102-79 win over Holiday Inn Portsmouth. Vroman all but punched his ticket to the next round of evaluations in Chicago, averaging 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds for the tournament.