While former Marquette forward Jimmy Butler stole the show on day one, the second day of the Portsmouth Invitational was a far better showcase of talent and competition.
-Official Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Website
-Day One Recap
While two of our top prospects, Gilbert Brown to Vernon Macklin, performed well in the second day of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a variety of relatively unheralded low- and mid-major conference stars emerged as players to watch, deepening the talent pool and keeping the games fairly competitive.
As has been often been the case, Portsmouth is an excellent venue to watch low- and mid-major talent compete against their high-major counterparts and players such as Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston), Papa Dia (Southern Methodist), John Holland (Boston University), and Bill Clark (Duquesne), in particular, have raised eyebrows with very solid Day Two performances.
With the continued NBA success of Portsmouth alumni such as Wesley Matthews, Chuck Hayes, Anthony Morrow, Landry Fields, and many others, scouts and executives once again have a strong presence here in Portsmouth, catching additional glimpses of known prospects in competitive action while looking for unheralded talent that has flown under-the-radar thus far.
There are 172 NBA scouts and executives credentialed at Portsmouth and the 99-person capacity scouting section was overflowing on the tournament's second day.
NBA GMs Danny Ainge (Boston Celtics), Rick Sund (Atlanta Hawks), Mitch Kupchak (Los Angeles Lakers), Billy King (New Jersey Nets), and Ernie Grunfeld (Washington Wizards) were spotted, but more GMs may be present and/or arriving soon.
Other NBA executives scouting include Hornets Vice President Tim Connelly, Knicks Vice President Glen Grunwald, Wizards Vice President Milt Newton, and many more.
Day Two Evaluations
Gilbert Brown, 6'6, Shooting Guard, Pittsburgh
19 points, 9-16 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-2 FT, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal
While Gilbert Brown was a roleplayer throughout most of his career at Pittsburgh, he is coming into his own as a prospect here at Portsmouth. With scouts on hand from almost every NBA team, Brown delivered an impressive performance in an emphatic victory.
Brown did just about everything on the offensive end that scouts expect in an NBA wing prospect, scoring in transition, off of cuts, off of the dribble from the mid-range, and by slashing to the basket. While he struggled to create his own shot during his senior season, he looks far more comfortable putting the ball on the floor where he is able to use his quick first step and explosiveness to his advantage.
He also made good decisions, only taking one questionable shot and deferring to his teammates when necessary despite being the best scoring option on the floor. He has looked both assertive and unselfish thus far, and he must continue to show scouts that he can be an effective role player at the next level.
Brown's defense was notable, as is often the case, and he guarded just about every position on the floor. He was extremely physical and scrappy inside despite his lack of size. He played very well on the perimeter, as well, as his lateral quickness allows him to stay in front of most guards here.
For these reasons, potential match-ups against John Holland, Bill Clark, and Corey Fisher in Day Three's nightcap are intriguing, as Brown will get to showcase his abilities on both sides of the ball against better competition. Brown is currently projected in the late second round pick, but continued success at Portsmouth could potentially boost his draft stock.
-Brad Wanamaker had another solid game here, highlighted by a great stretch with under a minute remaining in the game where he hit a pull-up jumper to pull his team within three points; stole the subsequent inbounds pass and hit a contested floater to cut the lead to one; then hit another pull-up jumper the next time down the floor to give his team the lead. He ultimately missed a potential game-winning buzzer beater, but the overall display was impressive.
Looking at the game as a whole, Wanamaker did a very good job playing team defense and doing all the little things scouts look for in role players. He was once again non-descript offensively, except for the final sequences of the game. His underwhelming athletic abilities are exposed occasionally on both ends of the floor, but he continually wills his way to positive contributions with his hustle and basketball IQ.
-Matthew Bryan-Amaning continues to be extremely aggressive on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive end, bringing a highly-intense effort that he wasn't always known for at Washington. Bryan-Amaning is doing a great job showing what he's capable of when he puts his full athletic tools to work defensively, netting seven combined blocks and steals in this game.
His offense has been a bit of a mixed bag, however. He is doing a good job going to work quickly whenever he gets the ball in the post, but he's somewhat over-reliant on that area of his game and is prone to forcing the issue rather than playing more team-oriented basketball. In addition, though his jump shot is not very effective, he has gone to it multiple times here, and he would likely need to develop it further to make a career in the NBA.
-Alex Tyus once again showcased his athleticism in an energy-laden performance to the tune of 15 points on 6-12 FG, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. He is getting many of his points around the basket and in transition, by seeking out offensive rebounds and by running the floor. This continued scrappiness allows him to compensate for his lack of a highly refined floor game.
He put the ball on the floor a couple of times, as well, though the results were less than favorable and he has neither the ball handling ability nor the footwork to be effective away from the basket. He also attempted a pair of spot-up mid-range jump shots, showcasing his hitched mechanics and lack of shooting touch.
Tyus is playing solid defense, though, bodying up bigger players and showing the versatility to step out and guard his man on the perimeter. His lack of size will limit him at the next level, but his quickness, explosiveness, and timing are assets that stand out in this setting and will serve him well in the future.
-Corey Fisher had an up-and-down performance in his first game. He looked exceptional running the pick-and-roll, exhibiting outstanding vision, patience, and passing ability, while being his team's primary distributor (10 assists) in a 20-point rout of a talented opponent. On the other, Fisher relied too much on his pull-up jumper, forcing the issue at times and hitting just 3-for-10 from the field.
For a player who often shared the distributing load at Villanova, continuing to excel running his team's offense on his own could help Fisher's stock, but showing better shot selection wouldn't hurt either.
-John Holland had an eye-opening debut at Portsmouth, building on his post-season momentum and continuing to rebound from a disappointing senior season. The former Boston University wing had 23 points on 8-12 FG, 2-5 3FG, and 5-5 FT with seven rebounds, and two steals. Holland showed impressive versatility on offense, hitting pull-up perimeter jumpers, slashing to the basket, and scoring in the paint. He moved impressively off of the ball and put himself in the position to receive the ball around the basket.
Holland's defense was solid, as well, and he played with solid energy throughout. Continued focus in this area, in particular, is essential if he wants to convince scouts that he is a legitimate prospect.
His size, scoring ability, and versatility are all intriguing and, though he is still an under-the-radar prospect at this stage, his progress is well worth monitoring.
-One of the prospects we have the highest expectations for on the offensive end,Andrew Goudelock had a fine first outing for his team. He started the game looking to set up his teammates and did a nice job using the threat of his jump shot to open up lanes to drive and kick. When he did start shooting the ball, he knocked down a barrage of three pointers. Inexplicably left open on a number of occasions, Goudelock made the defense pay for its mistakes, knocking down 5 of the 8 three pointers he attempted.
Goudelock's jump shot is a thing of beauty, and it accounted for most of his production today. He converted a pair of floaters from the midrange, but wasn't overly aggressive with his shot selection and finished the game shooting 7-12. Arguably the most explosive scorer in attendance, Goudelock gave scouts a glimpse of his offensive repertoire, and it will be interesting to see if he can score more regularly inside the arc as the week moves on.
-Malcolm Delaney turned in an up-and-down performance, doing a nice job distorting the defensive in the two-man game, but struggling to convert the opportunities he created. He knocked down a number of deep threes, but was not nearly as proficient when he ventured inside the arc. He threw a number of questionable passes as well, seemingly trying to do a bit too much at times. Finishing with 12 point, 6 assists, and 3 turnovers, we'll be keeping an eye on Delaney as the week goes on.
-Portsmouth native Vernon Macklin got off to a somewhat slow start early against Gary McGhee, but finished a number of emphatic dunks over defenders and managed to knock down a few hook shots with his right hand and a nice spinning lay in with his left in the second half to finish the game with 19 points on 9-18 shooting.
Staying active on the glass, Macklin pulled down 12 rebounds, which a good sign considering Macklin didn't always dominate the glass as a senior at Florida. A hometown hero of sorts, Macklin asserted himself on both ends of the floor to the delight of the crowd and certainly stood out amongst his peers.
-Bill Clark had a nice coming out party in front of all the scouts in attendance, absolutely lighting it up from long range by hitting his first five three-point attempts, all early in the first half. Clark finished with 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, while also showing some decent hustle in tracking down five rebounds on the game.
A 6'5 wing with a solid body who appears to be a pretty good athlete, Clark will definitely inspire scouts to go back and watch some Duquesne tape if he continues performing like this.
-Justin Holiday had a pretty lackluster showing in his first game at Portsmouth, scoring just 6 points on 3-for-10 shooting, though he did contribute 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Holiday's shot wasn't falling on the offensive end as it hadn't late in the season, and he looked uncomfortable and ineffective on the few times he tried taking his man off the dribble. Holiday did exhibit his usual hustle and was very vocal on defense, but would help himself to perform better on the other end in his final two games here.
-Ravern Johnson had about as one-dimensional a performance as a player can have, which isn't exactly surprising given his clearly-defined skill set. Johnson looked outstanding coming off screens and getting open for jumpers in the halfcourt, hitting 7-for-12 field goals including 3-for-5 from three, showing a high and quick release and excellent mechanics, having no problem getting himself high percentage shots frequently.
Johnson didn't do much beyond hit shots, posting 1's and 0's in every other category on the box score, but he's clearly an extremely talented shooter with solid size and athletic abilities. Showing he can seamlessly step into a foreign situation and find and make shots outside the confines of a set offense should certainly be helpful to Johnson's stock, and given the premium on three-point shooting by many teams in the league, he's definitely someone to keep an eye on.
-Gary McGhee is among the least skilled players here, but his value as a prospect is fairly obvious. For one, the former Pittsburgh center has excellent size for the NBA post, standing 6-11 with a long and rugged 250-pound frame. That said, he is neither a great athlete nor the most mobile big man.
Though he has little trouble holding his own defensively in the post by bodying up his man and denying position, he struggled when his man took him away from the basket as his poor lateral quickness limits his ability to hedge screens.
McGhee's offense is very raw at this point, evident in his extremely limited footwork and his inability to execute anything outside of a basic jump hook and put backs. He finished with 13 points on 6-10 FG with eight rebounds in just 19 minutes of action.
While McGhee's first game was underwhelming, he is still a player to watch given his size and defensive potential.
-Papa Dia is one of the most interesting players in attendance here, but didn't have the best first game, still seemingly getting used to the increased competition level. After a very lackluster first half, he turned things on in the second half a bit, doing some damage in the post with hook shots and turnaround jumpers, but overall looked out of his element. He finished with 12 points and 6 assists, but should do better in the next two games now that he's more acclimated.
-Texas product Gary Johnson had a nice showing playing alongside Gary McGhee, scoring 16 points and pulling in 6 rebounds. The Houston native made a few aggressive plays around the basket, but also showed the ability to step out to the midrange and shoot the ball confidently off the catch. He lacks range on his jump shot, and improved consistency would make him a more versatile offensive threat. Johnson's size is a clear limitation, but he had an efficient offensive performance in a blowout loss today.
-Malcolm Thomas had a terrific showing in his team's blowout victory on Day Two, ending the game with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks on an ultra-efficient 7-9 from the floor. He finished athletically around the rim, rebounded the ball well defensively, made his presence felt rotating over from the weakside to block shots, and showed unique court vision for a big men essentially all the things that he did well during his senior season at San Diego State. While Thomas lacks great size for a power forward, he was very steady today.
-Justin Hurtt showed an impressive offensive skill set in his PIT debut. He scored easily in one-on-one situations, knocked down spot-up three pointers when given space, and found some success when attacking the rim off the pick and roll. Hurtt was a prolific scorer for Tulsa, and he showed why today en route to 16 points on 6-13 shooting. He doesn't have great size for a scoring guard, but is capable of doing some damage with his perimeter stroke and is a solid athlete.