The 59th annual Portsmouth Invitational tipped off amidst many questions of who was and wasn’t showing up. After the first set of games some of the answers become more clear and apparent. The regular contingent of NBA personnel is almost as strong as in the years passed, unfortunately the talent on hand is depleted to say the least. Of the 2nd tier seniors who were on the original player list, only a small number actually showed up. For some of the guys whose teams made deep tournament runs, the absence can surely be excused, but for others, whose seasons ended much quicker, they have very little reasoning behind not showing up.
Now, with all that being said, there is no doubt that there is talent present at this year’s camp, and it will be interesting to see who emerges as the next Portsmouth to the NBA sleeper.
Portsmouth Partnership 80 vs Norfolk Sports Club 75
Starting out as most opening day games do, both teams struggled to find their groove early and needed the majority of the game before they were able to get into any sort of rhythm. The game was close throughout, but in the end, Portsmouth was able to hang on to its lead and earn a spot in the first semi final. They were led by [player: Casey Mitchell] of West Virginia (23 pts, 9-15 fg, 3-5 3pt), who got his outside shot going and was able to showcase his range from deep. He also showed a knack for getting into the lane where his strong body allowed him to finish against contact. [player: Mike Davis] from Illinios (14 pts, 11 rebs) had a solid performance, getting a lot of easy looks around the basket by using his length and athleticism. He is a smooth athlete and runs the floor hard, as a result he can be very effective without having plays run for him. [player: Diante Garrett] from Iowa St. (12 pts, 3 ast) showed a nice repertoire of moves off the dribble and was able to get into the lane and create shots for himself and teammates. He has good quickness and nice length but needs to show that his skinny frame can take the beating against stronger guards. [player: Delroy James] of Rhode Island (15 pts, 6 rebs) led the way for his Norfolk team. A lefty combo forward, he was able to mix it up playing part of the game inside and the other on the perimeter. He plays with a lot of energy and is able to use his strong body to make things happen around the basket. [player: Talor Battle] from Penn St. (13 pts, 8 rebs, 4 ast, 5 to) showed his ability to score the ball, but for him this is the setting in which he needs to prove that he can run a team. He was able to create opportunities for teammates on a number of occasions, but with that came a high number of turnovers as well. [player: Alex Tyus] of Florida (10 pts, 8 rebs) had his athleticism on full display with a variety of strong finishes and rebounds that were well out of his area, but showing more of a back to the basket skill-set will help his cause out over the next few days.
K&D Rounds Landscaping 78 vs Sales Systems Ltd 74
Not a much better played game in terms of shooting numbers than the first one, but this one also went down to the wire before K&D was able to pull out a win. [player: Jimmy Butler] from Marquette (19 pts, 4 rebs, 4 asts) contributed in a number of categories and along the way showed a very smooth and efficient midrange game. He is able to elevate with ease, and shoots a very well balanced and in rhythm pull up jumper. His handle can get sloppy at times, and he does not look overly comfortable making counter moves off the dribble. Syracuse’s [player: Rick Jackson] (13 pts, 5 rebs) did some damage around the basket thanks to his strength, but the lack of size and explosiveness make it difficult for him to score overtop of the taller defenders in one on one post up situations. [player: Vlad Moldoveanu] from American U. (13pts, 5 rebs, 3-5 3pts) certainly had a bit of the “who is that” effect, but he proved that when given an open look from the outside, he will make you pay. For Sales System, [player: Matthew Bryan Amaning] of Washington (16 pts, 8 rebs, 2 blks) had a solid game, displaying his length and athleticism around the basket and in the open court. He struggled a bit catching the ball and making moves in a crowd, but his activity around the basket and in transition still allowed him to do some nice things. George Mason’s [player: Cam Long] (10 pts, 7 rebs, 2-4 3pts) didn’t have the best shooting night, but he showed his versatile scoring ability by making shots from the outside and finishing plays around the hoop. He has a very well rounded game and has shown flashes of being that one guy who may be warranting a lot more looks coming out of this camp. [player: Brad Wannamaker] from Pitt (9 pts, 11 rebs) put in his typical workmanlike outing. Nothing about his game stands out dramatically, but he does all the little things that contribute to successful teams.
Check back tomorrow for a more in-depth look at the top prospects.