All-Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Second-Team

All-Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Second-Team
Apr 16, 2008, 03:57 am
Patrick Ewing Jr., 6'9”, Senior, Small Forward, Georgetown
5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2.5 steals, 1 turnover, 44.4% FG, 50% 3P, 60% FT, 20.5 minutes

Joey Whelan

Georgetown's Patrick Ewing Jr. was one of the players we were most looking forward to seeing at the Portsmouth Invitational; unfortunately his time on the court was cut short due to an ankle injury suffered midway through his second game. While the injury may have limited his playing time and skewed his numbers, the senior was still able to create plenty of intrigue during his game and a half of action.

Ewing is a very interesting prospect, though maybe a little beyond the “tweener” label; he doesn't have a completely set position either. At 6'9” 238 pounds, he is a little undersized to be a frontcourt player in the NBA, but his solid frame and length could allow him to still be successful at this position. Ewing isn't an off the charts type of athlete, but he does have pretty good speed and quickness for a player of his size. His explosiveness seems to be somewhat hit or miss at times, as he seems to have more success when he can set his feet under him for split second as opposed to taking off while moving at full speed.

Offensively it is very hard to categorize Ewing as he gets his points in a variety of ways, not really showing to be more effective in one area than any other. He does look to spot up a fair amount on the perimeter where he primarily is a catch and shoot type player. While he can connect from beyond the arc if left open, he doesn't attempt shots from this range too often or with much success. Ewing is a much better shooter from mid-range than he is from the outside, although he still isn't a consistent threat from outside the paint due to his slow, inconsistent release.

When Ewing puts the ball on the floor there are usually mixed results. At times he will make remarkably fluid plays while driving to the basket, executing agile moves that belie his physical build. However, he is often held back by his below average ball handling skills that prevent him from being a bigger threat to drive from the outside. From what we saw during the season and at Portsmouth, it is clear that Ewing is uncomfortable when he is forced to change direction too often, when given a straight path to the rim though, he does become a scoring threat. Again though, he seems to lose a bit of his explosiveness when he is in full stride, his touch around the hoop needs to improve as well.

Where Ewing has shown the most success offensively has come off the ball. He shows a tremendous knowledge of where and when to cut in order for teammates to feed him around the basket. Ewing doesn't simply rely on his teammates to move the ball in order for him to be effective, he reads defenses very well and knows where the holes are. It isn't uncommon to see him beyond the arc on the weak side then dive to the lane in perfect position to receive a pass and convert an easy shot opportunity.

Ewing doesn't post up too often on the offensive end, but when he does we have seen some flashes of potential. He typically relies on a baby hook shot to the middle, but his touch with this shot still needs to be refined somewhat. From time to time Ewing will execute some impressive finesse moves, incorporating head and ball fakes. However, as is often the case with raw offensive players, he will rely on his quickness against slower defenders to get his shot off on the block.

Defensively Ewing stepped up his play at Portsmouth. While his numbers during the regular season were solid, he had an added aggressiveness during his time on the floor last week. His off the ball instincts certainly carry over to this end of the floor, where he was able to come away with several blocks and steals as a help defender. Ewing certainly has the leaping ability to alter shots in his immediate area and his length allows him to effectively play passing lanes. The biggest concern right now is his lateral quickness. From what we've seen it doesn't appear that Ewing would be able to keep up with many perimeter players in the NBA, but he does have the toughness that would allow him to hang in the paint.

At the end of the day, unless he absolutely blows scouts away with individual workouts, Ewing isn't likely to get drafted by an NBA team. With that said though, scouts like him enough that it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that he could find his way onto someone's roster in the future. His combination of size, athleticism and ever increasing versatility make him an appealing prospect. Clearly Ewing is going to wind up playing basketball somewhere after the summer, the question now is will it be overseas or in the D-League?

Othello Hunter, 6-8, Power Forward, Ohio State
15.7 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 68% FG, 69% FT, 27 minutes

Jonathan Givony

A big hole opened up last summer in Ohio State's frontcourt when Greg Oden unsurprisingly decided to leave for the NBA, one that many Buckeye fans were hoping would partially be filled by the emergence of senior Othello Hunter, a junior college transfer who showed some promise in a backup role as Ohio State advanced all the way to the NCAA championship game. Hunter made some small, important strides in his final year of college basketball, but was still fairly inconsistent and only managed to average around 10 points and 6 rebounds per game. He did have a very strong showing in his final collegiate game, putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds in the NIT Championship game in Madison Square Garden, knocking down some perimeter jumpers (even a 3-pointer), and helping his team to victory along the way.

Hunter continued to build off the positive momentum he established towards the end of the season, putting up three straight double-doubles in Portsmouth and grabbing a monster 12 boards per game in just 27 minutes. Although only 6-8 ½ in shoes and 219 pounds, Hunter has a 7-2 ¾ wingspan which helps him out tremendously as a rebounder, shot-blocker and finisher in transition. The tremendous extension he gets around the basket is vital for him to compensate for his underdeveloped frame, and in this setting, there weren't any real bulky big men to box him out and keep him away from the paint and off the glass. Hunter's offensively production is mostly limited to scoring off offensive rebounds, cutting to the basket, running the floor in transition, and making quick one-dribble moves in the post before his defender can react. He is fairly explosive getting off his feet, especially with his second bounce, and thus can get all kinds of opportunistic baskets for his team when combined with his length just by being in the right place at the right time. He will occasionally stray outside and attempt an ugly looking flat-footed mid-range jumper, but doesn't get very consistent results with it at this point. Hunter can't really create offense for himself in the post either, as he struggles to establish position inside and his footwork is very underdeveloped. His hands are also just average, and we indeed saw him bobble some strong passes that were thrown right at him.

Defensively, Hunter has very good tools to work with, as his length and athleticism are of great assistance in terms of contesting shots, but his lack of bulk is a real hindrance, as any power forward with any kind of meat on his bones will immediately try to post him up. His lack of experience shows here at times as well, as he doesn't always do a great job recognizing situations on the floor, and often either gives up excessive space to his man or is late on defensive rotations. Hunter is a fairly effective shot-blocker at the collegiate level, showing pretty good timing and the physical tools needed to make his presence felt in the paint, although he is a bit susceptible to biting on pump-fakes. He can also step out a bit and hedge screens thanks to his quick feet, which is an important thing in today's basketball.

All in all, Hunter is a player that will continue to get looks throughout the pre-draft process, starting in Orlando, and continuing in private workouts, as there just aren't that many power forwards out there with his combination of length and athleticism. As someone who only started playing basketball about six years ago, his learning curve should be considered a lot steeper than your typical college senior. If he can find a way to add another 15-20 pounds to his frame, polish up his jump-shot a bit and maintain his focus a little better, he might be able to find himself a spot in the NBA at some point.

Josh Duncan, 6'9” Power Forward, Senior, Xavier
14.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 3.0 turnovers, 47% FG, 40% 3P, 77.8% FT, 26.7 minutes

Joey Whelan

We last wrote about Josh Duncan just a couple of weeks ago shortly after he had helped spark Xavier to an Elite Eight run in the NCAA Tournament. The power forward received praise for his ever increasing versatility and aggressiveness on the offensive end of the ball. While it is rare to see any player make major strides in just a few weeks time we did notice some slight improvements in certain aspects of his game, while he also reverted back to some habits that he was showing prior to his impressive stretch in the NCAA Tournament.

Duncan's offense continued to be a combination of spotting up on the perimeter and relying on his raw strength in the post. We did notice that Duncan took a slight step backwards during the week in terms of his ability to attack the basket off the dribble, something that initially grabbed our attention about him. He was less aggressive off the dribble, a lot of this may stem from the makeup of his team though, as the Tidewater Sealants featured a lot of perimeter players. However, on the occasions that Duncan did put the ball on the floor he experienced limited success, often being stripped by defenders or finding that he was unable to create good looks for himself.

With that said, we did notice a change in Duncan's shooting form. While during the season he had an awkward push shot that involved him contorting his body as he released, his stroke looked a lot more fluid during his three games in Portsmouth. While there was almost no effect on his shooting percentage from this range, he did seem more inclined to fire away from the outside, as one third of his shots came from beyond the arc.

While his massive build may have you think otherwise, Duncan still looked more comfortable facing the basket than he did with his back to it. His post game isn't horrible, showing signs of a drop step and developing baby hook, but he still relies more on brute force than skill or finesse to get the job done inside. While this may have worked in college and at Portsmouth, at 6'9” and lacking anything more than a slightly above average vertical, Duncan will need to further refine his back-to-the-basket game in order to be a scoring threat here at the next level. We also noticed that he tends to force the issue when he is double teamed on the block, which was often the case. Rather than recognizing that help defense coming over and looking to kick out or skip a pass over the top of the defense, Duncan would typically try to power his way through and force up a shot. While he did earn some trips to the foul line with his aggressive play, these plays often resulted in turnovers.

What we did get a glimpse of that we hadn't seen in the past was Duncan's ability to handle the ball in the open floor. Most of the time it was nothing more than grabbing a rebound and taking the ball across mid-court before deferring to a point guard, but on a couple of occasions when he saw a lane to the basket, Duncan showed some surprising agility. On one particular play in his first game of the week, Duncan took a rebound coast-to-coast, finishing with a left-handed finger roll in traffic. These are the types of flashes that will raise eyebrows and make spectators take notice. We did hear from a few scouts that they liked Duncan's strong build and his hard work inside, but they certainly won't complain if he continues to develop his open floor abilities.

Defensively Duncan was fairly consistent during the week with what we saw of him during the season. His strength allows him to hold good position on the block when opponents post him up, but his lack of explosiveness from a stand still allows taller players to shoot over him relatively easily. Even players like Will Thomas, not noted for his leaping ability, were able to get pretty good looks inside against Duncan. When he was forced out to the perimeter though, Duncan looked pretty comfortable defending here. He continued to do a nice job of hedging out on screens, but needs to do a better job of recovering to his own man. While his lateral quickness isn't great, his wide frame helps him to keep from getting beat off the dribble on a regular basis by quicker players. However, his level of speed will likely dictate that he spend more time inside that on the perimeter at the next level.

Duncan certainly helped himself a little at Portsmouth; while his averages dipped from his fantastic play in the NCAA Tournament, they were still higher than his regular season numbers. By no means has he played himself onto any draft boards, but he has likely earned himself an invitation to Orlando for the pre draft camp. This will be a huge test for Duncan as players there will be bigger and more athletic than the ones he saw this week.

Frank Elegar, 6'10, Power Forward, Senior, Drexel
22.7 minutes, 14.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 17-28 FG, 8-12 FT

Joseph Treutlein

Frank Elegar is someone we hadn't written about prior to Portsmouth, but has long been on our radar screen. That said, he definitely exceeded expectations with his performance, quickly emerging as one of the more intriguing players in the tournament. Elegar possesses very good mobility and fluidity for his size, along with solid explosiveness and quickness, though his most impressive asset is his freakish 7'4 wingspan, which he uses well in all facets of the game.

On the offensive end, Elegar shows nice flashes of post-up and face-up moves, mostly post-up, where he has the makings of a nice finesse game. Not being the thickest player in the world and probably being in need of more upper and lower body strength (lower more so), he isn't really able to establish dominant position or push his opponents around, so he relies on hook shots, turnaround jumpers, and up-and-unders, which he showed flashes of here and throughout his career. He'll occasionally try to mix in some face-up moves off one or two dribbles as well, but he doesn't usually get very far, and that's definitely an area he could improve on. He also doesn't show much of a mid-range jumper, and for the frequency he gets to the free-throw line (second most free throw attempts per possession in our entire database), he could also improve on his 67% from the line.

Elegar does show nice flashes in multiple areas, but his post game could still use some refining and his footwork doesn't always look especially fluid. Because he really lacks go-to shot-creating moves, he can go through spurts where he isn't able to contribute in the scoring column, resulting in inconsistent performances. For example, during a week in early January, he posted 33 points on Delaware, followed it up with 2 points against Northeastern, and then rebounded back with 29 points against Towson.

Elegar does contribute in other areas of the game, and he notably upped his rebounds, steals, and blocks per game this season without an increase in minutes, and it's definitely apparent how he uses his physical tools to make an impact in these hustle areas of the game. He tries to pull down rebounds in a crowd, contests shots in the post and on the perimeter, and uses his length in the passing lanes. On the boards, due to his thin frame, he isn't the best boxing out, and he relies too much on his physical tools here, resulting in inconsistent performances in this area as well.

Defensively, Elegar shows nice versatility as a post defender, showing good fundamentals and playing a very active game, using his length to front, poking at the ball from behind when his man has the ball, and using his length to contest shots. He can be backed down due to lack of strength at times, though. On the perimeter, he shows an active stance, but he isn't tested much with his lateral quickness, playing center in college.

All in all, Elegar is definitely someone who teams will be studying closely, as with his physical tools, he can possibly make an impact in the NBA, especially if he can progress in his skill development in one way or another. If he can continue to play with a consistently high motor at Orlando and in summer league, he could possibly earn himself a roster spot this year, and if not, he is someone who we'd keep an eye on for the future if he continues to develop his game.

Jiri Hubalek, 6-11, Center, Iowa State
17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1 block, 51% FG, 8-14 3P, 30 minutes

Jonathan Givony

Seemingly every year there is a player who comes out of nowhere to have a great tournament after being invited at the very last minute. This year, that player was clearly Iowa State's Jiri Hubalek. Hubalek did it right out of the gates too, scoring 18 points in his first half at Portsmouth, and finishing the game with 27 points overall. He shot a fantastic 8-14 from beyond the NBA 3-point line over the three game stretch, and also rebounded the ball fairly well.

Iowa State had a fairly miserable season this year under new coach Greg McDermott, going 14-18 and finishing second to last in the Big 12. Hubalek only averaged 12.4 points per game to go along with 7.3 rebounds in 26 minutes, and did so shooting a fairly pedestrian 46% from the field. The biggest difference we noticed in the recent film we evaluated as opposed to the live games we just took in was how different Hubalek's role in college was compared to the one he just excelled at in Portsmouth. According to Synergy Sports Technology's quantified player report, 49% of his offense came on back to the basket moves in the post at Iowa State, with only 18% coming on spot-up jumpers. From what we could tell, he is a much better shooter than he is a post-up threat, which might help explain why he struggled somewhat this season.

Although he's 6-11 (actually a shade under 7-feet according to the Portsmouth measurements), Hubalek lacks the strength and explosiveness to be a great factor establishing position and finishing in the paint. He doesn't look very comfortable down low, as he doesn't have much in the ways of fluidity or great post-moves to be effective down there. He is much better moving off the ball, catching and finishing around the hoop with his size and decent touch. He can also put the ball on the floor a little and make his way to the rim. Hubalek's stroke looked absolutely fantastic in Portsmouth, with a high release point, a quick trigger, fluid mechanics, and NBA range. It didn't fall for him quite as well during the season, though, just 15-43 (35%) from beyond the arc, so this is something teams will have to look at. Hubalek's shot-selection and overall decision making seems a bit wild at times, his fundamentals and basketball IQ are not quite as strong as you might hope for.

Defensively, Hubalek is going to struggle in the NBA any way you slice it. His footspeed is poor, making it difficult for him to step out and hedge screens or stay in front of quicker post-players taking him off the dribble away from the hoop. He lacks great strength and also doesn't have much in the ways of length or explosiveness to contest shots. The fact that he plays hard and is pretty active helps him out to a certain extent, though.

Already 25 years old, without a great resume coming out of college, its very difficult to envision Hubalek getting much love from NBA teams in terms of being drafted this year, unless he absolutely explodes in the pre-draft camp. The fact that we're even talking about him as a prospect at this point after he almost wasn't invited to Portsmouth shows how well he did for himself, though, and he seems to have earned himself an invite to Orlando with what he showed. He'll get summer league looks and maybe an invite to training camp, but his size and Bosman status in Europe means that he'll surely make a fantastic living regardless of what happens over the next few years.

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