2007 Portsmouth Draft Camp Player Evaluations
By Matthew Maurer
In the past few seasons a handful of players have parlayed success at the Portsmouth Invitational into being first round picks. Jason Maxiell and John Salmons are two of them. While this camp has become more of a camp for European teams to evaluate American players, the top performers here receive an invite to the Orlando Predraft camp. An impressive performance there will put them in great position to get drafted. Here is a look at the notable performances of the 2007 Portsmouth Draft Camp.
De’Angelo Alexander - Excelled in the shooting category where he drilled five 3-point shots. Defensively he played the passing lanes and ran down the court on one occasion for a nice lay-up in transition. Interestingly enough, despite showing the ability to score, he struggled some when trying to create off the dribble. Despite his impressive shooting performances, I’m not sold on him being a pure shooter. In my mind he’s much more of a scorer. From an NBA standpoint, there is a lot to like: good body strength, scoring mentality and above average perimeter defense. Based on his play, Alexander should have a legit shot to receive an invite to Orlando.
Avis Wyatt – When talking to NBA scouts around Portsmouth, a number of them used the word "intriguing" to describe Wyatt’s game. After all it’s not every day that you see a ridiculously athletic player with actual mid range shooting range from 18-20 feet. Wyatt does have some strength related issues that he will have to work on as he struggled to finish after contact. Only playing two games, Wyatt injured his ankle and was not able to participate in the third game. But I think Wyatt’s intrigue will enable him to get an invitation to Orlando.
Adam Haluska – One thing is for sure if the NBA doesn’t want him, Europe does. Was generally ranked by most overseas scouts that I talked to as the most ready and sought after prospect at camp. What intrigued many was his ability to absorb contact and convert off the dribble from mid-range. Haluska seemed to struggle with his outside jumper from behind the three point arc. Intelligent and crafty scorer who will make big money overseas at least and should hear his name called on draft night.
Jamaal Tatum – Applied excellent perimeter defense on any point guard that he was matched up on. Offensively Tatum made some key shots off the dribble. The questions about him not being a point guard where clearly answered as he controlled the tempo and created scoring opportunities for his teammates. Tatum was viewed by some as the best point guard in the camp due to his consistency and defense. Did over penetrate at times but to his credit did an excellent job.
Dashaun Wood - The surprise of the camp as he came in as a virtual unknown. Was without question the second best point guard prospect at the P.I.T. A jitterbug guard who has Mike Conley speed and shot the ball decently well from the outside. Controlled the tempo well, constantly pushing the ball but lacks the natural court vision of top point guards. Creates when driving to the basket and then dishing off, but isn’t a great post passer. Size will definitely hurt him as he looks about 5-9 upon appearance. But Wood surely helped his basketball career with his performance at Portsmouth. There is a lot to like but still a lot to question. Caught a big buzz with everyone in camp mainly because few knew about him.
Russell Carter – Was one of the most impressive players at the camp. Carter owns a great compact and mechanically sound jump shot. He was definitely in a groove and was basically scoring at will. Even more impressive was that he did everything in the flow of the offense, something that he failed to do consistently this year at Notre Dame. On the downside he’s got short arms, looks about 6-3 and struggled to dribble the ball when defensive pressure was applied. Has earned himself a spot in Orlando where he could play himself into being a second round draft pick.
Zabian Dowdell - Dowdell was solid in terms of creating offense for himself. The problem is NBA teams are looking at him to be a point guard. Dowdell did little to dispel the notion that he is more 2-guard than point guard. Often he had problems creating and running the offense. Created some impressive finishes to the basket and displayed the body control to make it look easy. One of the camps most exciting match-ups was when Dowdell played head to head with Ubaka. Teams will be intrigued by his ability to play both guard positions. With all that said, he may not excel in the NBA at either position as his court vision and height will likely inhibit him.
Stephane Lasme – Was easily the second best power forward prospect at camp. Once Lasme got the ball, his execution in the paint was extremely quick and impressive. His range is limited, but defensively Lasme either blocked or redirected anything and everything that was in his area. Baring a serious melt down in Orlando, Lasme should find himself in the second round of the NBA draft.
Ayinde Ubaka – Ubaka did little to hurt himself and actually showed a decent ability to create for teammates. The big floor general paced the tempo offensively and didn’t over shoot the ball. He was able to get others involved in the offense and showed the first step explosiveness to get past most defenders and the quick laser shot scouts like about him. What remains to be seen is if Ubaka is a true point guard or a combo guard. Was considered by most scouts we talked to (myself included) as the third best point guard in camp behind Tatum and Wood.
Carl Landry - Landry not only solidified a spot on our mock but was also the best power forward and probably top overall prospect in camp. Lasme vs. Landry was probably the top match up as both neutralized each other's physical abilities. Lasme had trouble with Landry’s strength and Landry with Lasme’s length. Landry displayed a smooth 18 foot jumper and boxed out well. Landry will get an invite to Orlando and could even play himself into first round consideration.
James Hughes - Hughes surprisingly played hard and most importantly aggressive. Something that dogged him for a good majority of the season at Northern Illinois. His post defense was solid and most importantly he got a chance to show the shot blocking that has been his draft calling card. He also showed nice touch from 5-8 feet from the basket. Hughes work is not over as he must continue to show a team he is worthy of a second round pick.
Jahsha Bluntt - Had some nice moments but really stood out by being able to show some versatility in playing the point guard at times and setting up teammates. Listed at 6-6, on appearance he looks to be more like 6-4 to 6-4 1/2 . He understands the game but there are worries as to weather he can play consistently at a fast pace on offense. At Delaware State the offense is very methodic, as often players don’t shoot until the shot clock is below the eight second mark. Bluntt played extremely well and was a solid guard giving some credence to getting him into Orlando. If there is anything Bluntt needs to work on it’s his lack of ability to take players off the dribble.
Ryvon Covile – Rugged big man who possesses a good shooting touch around the basket and perimeter jumper, along with a great name. Finished well around the basket and possesses a strong body to absorb contact and finish. Surprised many with his skills and ability to score at will. He's a tough player who didn’t back down from any player he faced in camp. He likely earned an invite to Orlando.
Cartier Martin – The problem with Martin for most of the camp was his inability to keep playing at a high level. Often you would see flashes such as a nice lay-up between defenders, a turnaround jumper, athleticism and aggressiveness that are a premium for a 6-7 forward. After that he left you wondering about focus and his ability to play at a consistently high level. It wouldn’t come as a shock if Martin gets an invite to Orlando, the question is which Martin comes to camp and plays?
Rashaun Freeman – Many were shocked to see Freeman with such a chiseled physique, including his college coach Travis Ford. Early in the year, Freeman was a little under-toned physically. At Portsmouth his post footwork and quickness intrigued many scouts (especially from International teams) in the stands. Though limited offensively, Freeman’s toughness and ability to score around the basket could make him an Orlando alternate.
Warren Carter - Showed flashes during the camp including consistently hitting his 16 foot jumper. Despite this, he was relatively quiet. He will have to do more if he wants to make it. Carter has the skills but there are some big question marks. For instance, what position will he play and most importantly has his potential peaked as a player/body wise? At the moment he’s a NBDL candidate with a remote shot of getting drafted.
Loren Stokes - Stokes had some nice moments driving to the basket and scrapping for loose passes thrown into his area. He needed to show everyone that he can lead a team offensively and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Everyone knows he can score, but few know if he can be a true combo guard that can shift between guard spots. The one thing Stokes has going is that he can score at will and generate instant offense for a team lacking scoring punch. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in Orlando.
Gary Neal – Despite Neal’s huge numbers at Towson, he struggled to get his offense going here. He settled for outside jumpers and didn’t play with a ton of intensity. Has a solid body. Showed the ability to score in a variety of ways. Perimeter shooting went through periods of inconsistency. Overseas may hold his future as foreign teams were salivating at Neal’s potential and ability.
Sean Marshall - Easily one of the most active players in the camp. Played with confidence and hustled to get every point he scored. Hit a couple of impressive shots from the perimeter off the dribble. Still hasn’t proven that he can score consistently from the perimeter. Helped himself considerably and could challenge to get an invite to Orlando.
Anthony Tolliver – I actually came away a little impressed with Tolliver as he never backed down despite being shorter and lighter than his opponents. Tolliver has a lot of physical gifts. Great hands and an NBA body to absorb contact and convert. Definitely a candidate for the NBDL. Rebounding while not bad should be better when you consider his athletic gifts.
Dan Nwaelele - His coach Jeff Bzdelik once told the Denver Post that Nwaelele was better than Kyle Korver and Voshon Lenard. I don’t know about that but I will say that there are similarities. Nwaelele is a solid shooter when his feet are set and can actually convert after taking a couple of dribbles from mid-range. Nwaelele had some moments showing the athletic ability to finish with flair in transition.
Ekene Ibekwe - Started out with a bang as he had 2 extraordinary blocks. One in particular on Jamon Gordon who went hard to the rim for a dunk as Ibekwe came behind and cuffed the ball. Despite the big plays and the aggression he played with, there where too many moments when he didn’t separate himself and show that he was worthy of being a second round pick.
Rashad Jones-Jennings – Played like a man possessed as he grabbed every rebound in his area and many out of his area. Not a great NBA prospect due to inability to finish around the basket. this is due to his athletic limitations as Jones-Jennings isn’t a super leaper or a tall player. He simply reads where the play will go and uses his body strength and high level of desire to snatch rebounds.
Jarrius Jackson – Played solid but failed to show that he can play the point guard position. Jackson is great at creating for himself but not all that good creating for others.
David Teague – Started the tournament on a hot streak hitting jumpers from the perimeter with ease. Has the potential to become a factor (in Europe) if he can consistently shoot and create off the dribble.
Jason Cain – Cain got the P.I.T. as a replacement for Chris Richard who choose to stay at Florida and party after winning the Gator’s second national championship. Cain played aggressive, made a nice jump hook in the post and played good post defense. While his upside isn’t great, there was little doubt that he belonged. Unlikely to be drafted but could make an solid living overseas.
Caleb Green - Really struggled to get things going looking like a fish out of water. Too often he rushed his shots and was perhaps the one of the most nervous campers. Green finally showed some signs of being a decent project. He needs to play more assertive and not be intimidated by the level of competition. Athletically he wasn’t at the level of his peers. Unless he can catch a team’s eye, Green will more than likely become a candidate for the NBDL.
Justin Doellman - Played extremely effective but not spectacular. Doellman made an impression on the NBA GMs due to his hustle and ability to shoot from the perimeter. Doellman played like he belonged at the camp but questions remain if he'll get into Orlando.
Dontaye Draper – Small point guard who didn’t play bad but struggled to standout as his team had 3 point guards. When he was on the floor he did a good job of applying the pressure and playing the passing lanes. Draper did struggle to shoot effectively from the perimeter.
Kammron Taylor - The Wisconsin Badger who had a solid NCAA tournament shot the ball extremely well off the dribble here and even showed impressive leaping ability on an alley oop dunk. Taylor failed to show that he can play the point guard position though.
Mohammed Abukar - Despite his size, Abukar never used it. Basically he’s resorted to backing down his man, then shooting a fade away jumpshot. He never created off the dribble, nor did he play very intelligently. Really underdeveloped body wise as he doesn’t look like he picked up much weight since high school. Abukar seemed to play with little intensity on both ends of the floor. In his second game Abukar found his shooting touch and most importantly stopped fading away. His long range shooting and mid-range skills were apparent. Though he’s a great catch and shoot player, he lacks in the basics of creating off the dribble. To compound matters he doesn’t have any real back to the basket moves. Defensively there is not a lot to like as Abukar’s doesn’t show the intensity level or the willingness to hustle. Rebounding showed improvement but still finds himself out worked rather often.
Christian Burns – Burns was like a bull in a china shop. He tried to be physical and dominate his defenders every time he touched the ball. The problem is that with the level of players he was facing, he can’t do this like he did at division II. He did show a good nose for the ball and seems to be one of those tough hard nosed type of power forwards. his downside is obviously his average offensive game and at 6-8, his size will hurt him in the NBA. On a side note his athleticism is on par with his peers, fundamentally he is behind the eight ball.
Alan Wiggins – Son of former major leaguer Alan Wiggins. Showed some flashes of being solid in transition due to his decent athleticism but struggled to be a consistent scoring threat. Played like he belonged but didn’t stand out in any area.
Jamar Wilson – Played out of control and showed no signs of being an NBA point guard. Wilson entered the camp with a good deal of hype, which was puzzling. He was often highlighted during the season on national TV broadcasts as a player with a possible NBA future. Instead he struggled in all areas during the camp. A great athlete but lacks the fundamental skill set to play point guard and doesn’t have the size of a shooting guard.
Carl Elliott – Played wild and inconsistent, and most importantly proved that he can’t play the point guard position in the NBA.
Blake Schilb – Didn’t stand out very much and to some degree looked in over his head. Schilb has struggled greatly to get his shot off due to his limited foot speed and athleticism. On the second day he actually played pretty solid and displayed some ability to create if defenders play his drive. While Schilb’s play was improved from day one, that wasn't saying much. Many wonder if his lack of ability to consistently create and limited athleticism limit him from even be a candidate for the NBDL.
Michigan Guys - No offense to these guys but I wonder out loud how did they invite Lester Abram, Courtney Sims, and Dion Harris. But not invite Mr. Entertainment Brent Petway? With that said, here is a rundown on the Michigan Gang. Harris I consider him one of the worst campers. Never got into the flow offensively and forced many shots in the game. If it wasn’t for his big school credential and big conference setting in the Big Ten he wouldn’t be here. Sims was the same player he’s been all year, soft and for the most part unmotivated. Obviously his size is a great asset as well as his unique shooting touch around the basket. Mobility is questionable and didn’t get all that wide in the post forcing guards to throw him lobs over his defender as he wasn’t able to maintain position when his back was to the basket. Lastly Abram wasn’t really a factor in any area in the games he played.
Brian Cusworth - His lack of athletic ability didn’t allow him to finish over many of his defenders. Really needs to work on his post footwork and his shooting mechanics as he doesn’t fully extend. Cusworth didn’t apply himself on the defensive end. He ran the court well despite his size and would do well if he can polish a few of his skills and specialize. Chris Dudley style of player but not nearly on that level. Cusworth lacks anything that stands out but should see some summer league or become an NBDL candidate.
Frank Young – He played? One would need to look at the Portsmouth roster to know that Young was even there. Despite his excellent play in the N.I.T. tourney, Young was invisible here. He struggled to create for himself offensively which appeared to cause his confidence and overall play to suffer. Appeared frustrated by his play and surely wont be invited to the Orlando Predraft camp.
Craig Bradshaw - Really played aggressive offensively but struggled to create with his back to the basket. Seemed intent on proving he had three point-range. Still looks uncomfortable converting in the paint. his body movement looked awkward and mechanical. He really struggled to finish after contact occurred often appearing out of his element. Bradshaw played a lot better in the second game by being more aggressive and trying to focus on playing in the paint. Despite some positives, his game appears best suited for Europe.
Blake Ahearn - They gifted shooter tried too hard at times to prove other parts of his game. In many of the games it was common for him to get stripped of the ball trying to take quicker guards off the dribble. When he finally settled down and played to his strengths, he nailed a few three point shots. Confidence looked like it may have wavered as his shooting was clearly off for most of the tournament.
Jamon Gordon – Gordon surprisingly struggled mightily in his play. Offensively he was basically a no show. Defensively there were moments but not enough to warrant serious consideration as a draft pick. His Virginia Tech teammate Zabian Dowdell is ahead of Gordon without a question in NBA team's minds.
Romeo Travis – This late addition didn’t play terribly but clearly struggled to create off the dribble. Despite his small forward body, Travis plays with power forward skills. Didn’t stick out during the tournament and stands little chance to get drafted.
Martin Samarco – Another one of those mid-major players that played decent but not great. Lacks the quickness to penetrate, often he would just stop and pull-up from mid-range. Was solid but not great.
Ibrahim Jaaber – Surprisingly, Jaaber struggled guarding DaShaun Wood several times as he received some nasty crossovers that made the crowd ooh and aaahh. One would think it was Rucker Park not the P.I.T.. Jaaber continued to show the streaky outside shot that plagued him this year. For the most part, he stuck to his strengths by driving to the basket and converting nice lay-ups in traffic.
Valdas Vasylius – Made some impressive perimeter shots. Athletically he struggled when it came to defending his man or taking his man off the dribble. Has the look of an overseas guy do to his offensive polish. From an NBA standpoint, he doesn’t show much potential due to his limited athletic ability.
Justin Cage – Cage really struggled to do anything offensively during the first day of the tournament. His lack of perimeter skills and ability to create off the dribble really showed. On the second day Cage stuck to his strengths and played with the confidence and aggressiveness that the Atlantic-10 saw this year. Played solid but didn’t do enough to separate himself from his peers at camp.
Ivan Harris – Did exactly what everyone thought he was going to do: shoot three point shots and play decent but not great. Harris will struggle to get into the NBA due to his inability to create off the dribble. Despite being a former All American, he never was able to live up to those expectations.
Sammy Mejia – Looked to shoot nearly every time he touched the ball. While his ball handling ability shows some promise his erratic shooting leaves much to be desired. Lacks the speed to have much of a chance.
Unimpressive, but not terrible: