By Wayne Otto
College Sports Journal
PORTSMOUTH, VA. — Portsmouth Sports Club tops the Norfolk Sports Club 88-76.
Cherry, Bekart & Holland bests K&D Rounds Landscaping 85-73.
Roger Brown’s nipped Sales System LTD 74-71 in ovetime.
Portsmouth Partnership beat Mike Duman Auto Sales 85-79.
No, this is not basketball results from the local newspaper reporting the local rec league or YMCA league weekly scores. Not at all. These are the first round game scores from the prestigious PIT — the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.
The 60th annual edition of the PIT features the top collegiate seniors in the country in a showcase setting to exhibit their basketball wares against quality opposition in hopes of securing a professional basketball contract in either the NBA or the NBDL or obtaining a contract with a foreign team in one of the FIBA sanctioned leagues.
This annual event invites 64 of the top collegiate seniors in the country and divides them into 8 teams. Each team will play three games over a four day period with the championship in primetime on Saturday night.
Here it doesn’t matter if you played collegiately at Kentucky, UCLA, Duke, Kansas or Oakland, South Dakota, Campbell or High Point, everybody has the same chance.
What matters is that you can play the game of basketball at a high level, good enough for consideration to secure a job playing professionally.
The stands are filled each game at the Churchland High School gym along with over 100 NBA scouts and player personnel executives. In addition to that, over 150 foreign teams send representatives to scout and there are well over 100 basketball agents in attendance.
After each game there is an agent feeding frenzy with all the players in an attempt sign them for representation at the next level, hopefully in the NBA. Probably 10 to 15 of these players will be drafted in the June 28 NBA draft, with the rest signing NBA free agent contracts or negotiating overseas deals.
The PIT holds the distinction as the only 5 on 5 post season evaluation event for the NBA scouts to observe. The NBA draft camp in Chicago in June now only has timed drills for its participants and no actual basketball competition, so the PIT can play a player into or out of NBA consideration.
“I want to use the PIT as my final springboard to the NBA” said Oral Roberts University forward Dominique Morrison. “If you play well in this event it will give you NBA opportunities.”
Morrison was the 2012 Summit League Player of the Year and finished as the 12th-leading
scorer in NCAA Division I with a 19.8 scoring average.
The NBA is the main underwriter of the event, but the local community really takes pride in supporting the event with attendance and sponsorships. The NBA also supplies former players to assist the local coaches during the games and practices.
The tournament uses a hybrid set of rules to insure the games are played so the players will be properly evaluated without the total shock of the professional rules.
Most the players come from the NCAA Division I level, but there are four invitees from Division II and one player from Division III.
Through the years, players like NBA greats Rick Barry and John Lucas have graced the PIT hardwood. In the last few years current NBA players like Vernon Macklin, Landry Fields, Ish Smith, Wes Matthews, Carl Landry, Cartier Martin, Jose Barera, C.J. Watson, Chuck Hayes,
Ronnie Price, Daryl Ivey, Willie Green, John Salmons are a few of the players that starred at the PIT.
This year’s crop of talent includes the nation’s leading scorer Reggie Hamilton (Oakland), Xavier Gibson (Florida State), Herb Pope (Seton Hall), Kyle Fogg (Arizona), Terrence Henry (Ole Miss), Kim English (Missouri), Ashton Gibbs (Pittburgh), Yancey Gates (Cincinnati), JaMychal Green (Alabama), Bradford Burgess (Virginia Commonwealth), Erving Walker (Florida), Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State), Alex Young (IUPUI), Dominique Morrison (Oral
Roberts), Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin), Darryl Bryant (West Virginia) and many more past collegiate stars and future professional players.
James Blackburn of www.basketballelite.com compiled a scouting report
on each player at the PIT.
Game 1: Portsmouth Sports Club vs. Norfolk Sports Club
Portsmouth Sports Club wins 88-76
Henry Sims (Georgetown, 6-10, C)
Looked comfortable and calm on the FT line- soft touch. Has the ability to step out and hit the 18’ midrange shot. Good size and good timing when blocking shots. Struggled this game early on but showed good footwork and post moves including a running hook and a good slide
dribble, but struggled to score because of lack of quickness and athleticism — factors that will hurt his draft stock. Played better in the second half. Will be safe fire first round pick- a player of his size and skills will find a place to contribute.
Erving Walker (Florida, 5-8, G)
Very good on ball defender. Does a good job of feeding the ball to the post. Lightning quick with and with out the ball. Keeps his dribble alive and uses picks- solid passer who always has his eyes up. Turnover prone. Showed the ability to get to the painted area where he can finish with a floater. Walker is an interesting case as far as his NBAstock goes. His PG skills are still a work in prospect and not yet NBA ready in my opinion and his size is an issue. He is a good 3 point shooter and very quick in the open court. He finished up a terrific four-year career at Florida by being named to the SEC All-Conference team. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team took a chance on him late in the second round because of the value the NBA places on guards that
can get to the rim. If he doesn’t get drafted, I see him as a good fit with a D-League team.
Braydon Hobbs (Bellarmine, 6-5, G)
Division II player of the year. Pretty good lateral quickness and on ball defender — contests shots. Communicates on the floor and is unselfish. Will be a solid overseas player, but does not have the physical tools or skills necessary to play the NBA level.
Agustus Gilchrist (South Florida, 6-10, F)
Very athletic, active on the offensive boards. Did a good job of contesting perimeter shots. Finishes with dunks- capable of finishing with contact. Very solid and strong upper body. Body and athleticism are NBA ready but he is still a bit raw offensively. Has a hitch in his shot where he hesitates on the way up but is surprisingly accurate at least from the free throw line. May earn a few individual workouts with teams with a solid showing, but that is where his NBA timeline will most likely end.
Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State, 6-10, F)
Surprisingly the most impressive player on the floor early on. Great rebounder on both ends, secures board and chins it. Solid frame that is NBA ready. Good shot blocker both in the paint and on the perimeter. Impressive and underrated passer, hits cutters and throws good outlets to start the break. Uses strength to push players off black and keeps players from establishing deep position on him. Struggles to defend quicker players past 15 feet, but does contest and block shots but stays too tall and doesn’t get low and move feet laterally. Showed the ability to put the ball on the floor for a couple of dribbles and kick to open man. Efficient around rim with either hand including a high hook shot that is very reliable- showed an array of post moves throughout games — always kept defenders guessing. Strong finisher-a big athlete who plays extremely hard and runs the floor. Plays hard in stretches, but then, because of lack of great conditioning, will get beat down floor a couple of possessions in a row to rest. Shouldn’t be a big deal at next level, as he will most likely come off bench to provide brief sparks. Has the ability to play the PF position at the next level. Showed the ability to reverse pivot and hit the 12-foot jumper with a hand in face. Good FT shooter- soft hands. Caught a rocket pass from Erving Walker on the break, gathered himself and finished with a two-hand, strong dunk. Playing with a lot of confidence in this game. He really impressed in all facets this game. He is definitely worthy of a training camp invite and possibly a roster spot at the next level.
Mitchell Watt (Buffalo, 6-10, F)
All over the floor today. Excellent shot blocker and rebounder. Has the ability to score in a variety of ways. Can finish above the rim with authority. Was the MAC Player of the Year this year after an impressive senior year.
Game 2: Cherry Bekaert & Holland vs. K & D Rounds Landscaping
Cherry Bekaert & Holland wins 85-73
Greg Mangano (Yale, 6-10, F)
Good pick and pop player — a big guy who can hit the three is attractive to NBA teams. Good rotation and arc on perimeter shot. Can hit the trey with consistency. Has a quick release for big man. More of a perimeter guy then a banger inside, shied away from contact on both ends. Needs to do a better job securing rebounds — allowed guards to take ball away from him several times. Would like to see him be more of a rebounding threat and scorer inside. Good outside shooter, but settles for it instead of going inside. Did not see any post moves from him today. Will like to see a more consistent game from start to finish next game. Did a Sleeper Report on him earlier in the year when Yale played Wake Forest
Darryl Bryant (West Virginia, 6-2, G)
Out of control and loses balance easily. Showed the ability to split the defenders in P/R situations and get to rim and finish over defenders. Tough player. Needs to improve his shooting ability.
Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin, 6-1, G)
Poised. Plays the game under control. Struggled offensively early on to get it going. Zack Rosen from Penn did a terrific job defending him. Jordan struggled to get to the rim and when he did he had a hard time finishing. Lack of speed and size was evident- will limit his pro
chances. Good footwork coming off screens for shots. Looked tired from ball pressure late in first half. Really forced some shots when he felt it was his time to shoot. Came out in the second half looking more comfortable offensively knocking down a pull up jumper and a
floater in traffic. This up-tempo game does not suite him, as he likes a slow-down game- he looked tired and winded. Will gets some individual workouts, but he is most likely headed overseas to play. More of an undersized 2 then a playmaking point guard. His inability to get to
the paint and break man down off dribble will hurt his NBA chances.
Cameron Moore (UAB, 6-10, F)
Agile and fluid. His length really makes him a solid versatile defender. He collected several steals and was active throughout. A bit tentative offensively. Runs the floor with long strides. Needs to improve ball handling, especially his left hand. Needs to add about 15-20 pounds of muscle to bang with power forwards at the NBA level. Has a frame that should allow this to happen. Can finish above the rim and is a highlight dunker. Low shooting release, but solid form on jump shot. Good body control in air. Disappears for stretches. Did a Sleeper Report on him earlier in the year when UAB played Southern Mississippi
Zack Rosen (Penn, 6-1, G)
Excellent on-ball defender with quick hands and does a great job pressuring the ball from end line to end line. Had a couple of on-ball blocks as well. Good considering size. In the opponents shirt defensively — best on ball defense seen today. Lefty, who sees the floor
and will hit the open guy. Floor general and vocal leader — was not afraid to tell teammates where to be. Extension of coach on the floor. Gathered guys together at the free throw line during dead ball situations. Didn’t look for own offense much, was mainly concerned with getting team in sets and starting the offense. Did show a nice head fake and ability to shoot over taller defenders. Accurate and reliable set shooter. Not as explosive going to his right. When he went right went back to his left for scoring move. Has a future as a coach after an overseas career. Reminds me a bit of Jaycee Carroll who played for Utah State and for the Boston Celtics Summer League team a couple of years ago.
Game 1: Norfolk Sports Club vs. K & D Landscaping
Norfolk Sports Club wins 80-67
Agustus Gilchrist (South Florida, 6-10, F)
Did a good job defending the post-stayed straight up and didn’t allow any room for offense to operate-stood his ground. Strong, but looked uncomfortable on the perimeter on both ends. Off-balance defensively on perimeter. He was able to get to the free throw line again today and for the most part looked comfortable and was able to convert despite a hitch and a pause in his release. Otherwise, he kept the elbow in and had good arc and rotation on ball. Had several tip dunks and athletically is one of the top guys represented here. Good rebounder.
Mitchell Watt (Buffalo, 6-10, F)
Has an NBA-ready build, with a frame that will allow him to add about 15-20 pounds of muscle. Able to use either hand in post. Nimble and fluid movement. Has a quick first step off the reverse pivot. Showed the ability to hit the open, set three today. Smart shot blocker with great timing and knows what spots to get to. Influences shots he doesn’t block. Efficient in the post. Somehow he fouled out in a game where they were really letting guys play. His play here this week warrants at least a summer league invite and possibly a roster spot in training camp.
Cameron Moore (Alabama-Birmingham, 6-10, F)
Solid shooting form from the midrange and in. Quiet in the first half offensively. Soft touch. Long. Uses length to block shots. Stronger then he looks.
Rakim Sanders (Fairfield, 6-5, F)
Strong upper bodied player who competes on both ends. Attacks the rim with force and can finish through and with contact. Secures rebounds and is solid on the glass. Tenacious defender that plays bigger then 6-5. Showed the ability to move his feet laterally and guard quicker players his size on perimeter and bang with taller players down on the block. At this point, he is more of an undersized power forward, which, with his size, hurts his chances to play at the next level. To his credit though he
displayed the ability to guard a small forward, which would be his position at the next level. Plays extremely hard and hustles. Very athletic and plays above the rim. Didn’t see him take any perimeter shots. He is mainly a slasher from the perimeter. Needs to improve his handles. Utilizes pump fakes. Although his NBA chances are slim, his solid play today more then likely earned him a few individual workouts and a hefty overseas contract.
Game 2: Sales Systems, Ltd. Vs. Roger Brown’s Restaurant
Roger Browns Restaurant wins 74-71
Herb Pope (Seton Hall, 6-8, F)
Wide-bodied player who crashes the offensive boards. Does a lot of things well — rebounds, unselfish, attacks the rim, defends and blocks shots, and has a decent handle for size. Lets the game come to him and doesn’t force the issue, or shots. Sold footwork in on the block and is a reliable scorer in one on one situations. Rolled his ankle midway through the second half and did not return. One of the top ranked
players in the nation several years ago- was able to play his way this
season onto the All-Conference Big East team . Will have more chances
to improve NBA chances in the future as he will have his schedule
booked full of individual workouts. Will most likely find his way on a
roster as an undrafted free agent.
Chris Johnson (Dayton, 6-6, F)
Long lefty who can hit the three and the midrange jumper. Has very good rotation on shots and gets high elevation. Needs to improve consistency, due to his elevation on the jumper, and his shot has a tendency to be a little flat. Defends and understands help-side situations. Is active and a solid athlete. Good rebounder for a guard and boxes out on shots.
Jet Chang (BYU-Hawaii, 6-4, G)
Knock-down shooter with NBA three-point range. Has good elevation on shots and a great release. Is a pure shooter. Showed the ability to hit the one-dribble pull-up as well. Has textbook form and footwork. An underrated defender, who held his own on the defensive end. Did show the ability to create his own shot near the end of the game. Has a smooth stroke. You expect his shot to go in every time. Will have a nice career overseas after being a D-II All-American his senior year.
Kyle Fogg (Arizona, 6-3, G)
Heady point guard, who can score and make plays for others. Controls the tempo.
Uses ball screens effectively and can get to the rim. Very good on-ball defender. Terrific passer who is at his best in P/R situations, which helps his case for the NBA. Showed the ability to turn the corner on multiple occasions this game and get to the painted area. Keeps his dribble until he knows what he wants. Above-average ball
handler even for a point guard. Can use either hand and go either way equally. Has a good change of speed dribble. Needs to improve range and shooting ability as well as his free throw shooting. Struggled to finish once he reached the paint. D-League should be an option, as well as a few 10-days as a possibility in the future. One of the best point guards I've seen this week. Does a lot that will translate to the next level. Was an All-Pac 12 selection this past year.
Wesley Witherspoon (Memphis, 6-9, F)
Smooth, agile, and versatile. Very long and athletic. A highlight reel waiting to happen. Had several nice blocks, including denying a dunk attempt in transition. Solid scorer, who can score both on the perimeter and inside. Has upside. I could see a team possibly giving him an opportunity with a training camp or summer league spot, especially with another solid showing. Nimble enough to possibly play
the small forward position at the next level, but most likely will be a four. Quick enough to defend smaller guards on the perimeter. Solid game tonight. Needs to get stronger, especially in the upper body. This limits his ability to finish. D-League will probably be his best option.
Eric Griffin (Campbell, 6-8, F)
Surprise player so far of the week. Good shooter with a high release. Is able to stretch the floor because of shooting ability. Plays hard and defends, blocks shots and has active hands. Earned the respect of all the opponents by the end of the game. Runs the floor. Draws contact at a high rate and coverts at the line. Played very well this game. If he wasn’t on NBA scouts radar before, he is after this game. Will be a pro somewhere next year and fits the mold of the modern day power forward to a “T”. Was a member of the Big South all-conference team this year after
averaging 15.7 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Game 3: Mike Duman Auto Sales vs. Portsmouth Partnership
Portsmouth Partnership wins 85-79
Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh, 6-2, G)
Excellent ball handler, who has the ability to break man down off the dribble and score. Very quick release- nice midrange stroke. Showed good shot making ability in the half-court set and in transition. Size is going to be an issue at the next level, whether that is the NBA, D-League, or overseas. Most likely will receive multiple individual workout invites with NBA teams, but will probably begin next season in
a D-League uniform.
Yancy Gates (Cincinnati, 6-9, F)
Very good size, but could stand to lose about 10 pounds to get to prime playing weight. Did a good job of shading on screens and then hustling back to his man. Soft hands. Hustled back on defense. Nice looking free throw stroke. For the most part, he is an under the rim type player. Post game consists mostly of him banging and throwing his weight around. Draws fouls and is a load on the low block. Would be a solid, late, second-round pick.
JaMychal Green (Alabama, 6-8, F)
NBA-ready, size-wise and athletically is one of the top prospects here. Versatile defender, who plays hard and competes, diving on the floor for loose balls. Fluid movement. Very good rebounder on both ends. Boxes out and cleans the glass at high rate and is always in good position. Runs the floor and fills the lanes on the break where he finished nearly every time. Strong upper body, who finishes through defenders. Has the ability to step out and knock down the 15-18-foot jump shot. Does an excellent job of clearing out and establishing deep post position. Was
named SEC all-conference after averaging 14 and 7 per game last season. It is doubtful he will get drafted unless he wows in individual workouts, but he has a good chance of landing on an NBA roster as a free agent. Definitely has the skills set to play in the League.
Nick Barbour (High Point, 6-3, G)
Capable of putting up points in a hurry. Is a prolific scorer. Averaged over 20 points per game this past season in the Big South. Quick. Played solid defense today, practically shutting down Kyle Kuric from Louisville, turning Kuric over and forcing him to take bad shots. Good pull-up shooter with a quick release. Lefty. Will never be accused of being gun-shy. Will put up shots in a hurry. Is listed at 6-3, but looks to be on the shorter side. Played both on the ball and off the ball today. Practically automatic from three-point range. Hit almost half of his attempts this season. In order to have a shot at the NBA, scouts want to see his ability to run the point guard position. He has proven that he can play off the ball, but is too small to play the 2 at the next level. Somewhat turnover prone when being the primary ball handler and he must improve his playmaking ability. Has scoring on his mind every time he puts the ball on the floor and/ or turns the corner off ball screens.