I arrived at Portsmouth a little later than I expected due to some travel problems and will begin to provide comprehensive coverage of the event starting tomorrow, but did want to at least give some updates from what I learned today from watching and talking to a couple of people that were there.
First off, the semi-bad news is a few players have pulled out of the tournament, but maybe not as much or the ones that some of us expected. Some of these guys are players that I personally really wanted to see in such a competitive environment away from their teams, but decided to pull out for one reason or another. Some are undoubtedly making huge mistakes, but we'll have to wait until the Chicago list comes out before we can really decide. A few weren't really prospects anyway except possibly in their heads so losing them isn't such a big deal. This list of pull-outs includes players such as Daniel Ewing
(Duke), Eddie Basden
(Charlotte), Will Bynum
(Georgia Tech), BJ Elder (Georgia Tech), Larry O'Bannon (Louisville), Ellis Myles (Louisville), Chevon Troutman
(Pitt) and Rawle Marshall
is an especially surprising name to see on the pull out list. Unless he is injured (we'll find out tomorrow) there is absolutely no excuse for him not to be here. As a 5-9 SG that doesn't even start for his college team, he would not have made most top 100 lists of seniors to invite, so for him to withdraw has to be some kind of sick joke.
BJ Elder I believe is also making a huge mistake. He is a fringe prospect as it is as a 6-3 SG with limited athleticism, slashing ability, defense, and streaky shot. He should be here without a doubt. Chevon Troutman
is another tweener pull out as a 6-7 PF, and although I absolutely love him as a college player, I have to wonder what in the world is going through his head.
Ditto for Sharrod Ford
who really could have used the extra exposure and will have to now leave his NBA draft future up to the NBA teams who make the lists for Chicago instead of taking his career in his own hands and showing that he is deserving.
Larry O'Bannon can maybe say that he is tired and worn out from the Final Four run his team made and which he was such a huge part of, but Jackie Manuel
and Jawad Williams
are here while he isn't, and they went one game further and won the national championship. He'll be crossing his fingers for Chicago, but there are much more intriguing prospects and he could end up regretting this decision unless he is injured. Same goes for his teammate Ellis Myles.
Of course, the good news is that many talented players HAVE decided to show up. These players include Jawad Williams
(UNC), Taylor Coppenrath
(Vermont), Aaron Miles
(Kansas), Jason Maxiell
(Cincinnati), Alan Anderson
(Michigan State), D'Or Fischer
(West Virginia), Omar Thomas
(UTEP), Fili Rivera (UTEP), Terrence Leather (South Florida) Quemont Greer
(DePaul) and MANY others. Everyone I spoke with seemed to be very excited about the field, and just hope the kids will get the jitters out and play to their maximum ability. One scout I spoke with thinks that getting 8-10 players that don't want to be here and replacing them with players that are dying for exposure is a perfect thing to do for the chemistry of the teams. He thinks it always gives the other star players a better chance to stand out.
The new players that have been invited: Willie Jenkins (Tennessee Tech), Luqman Jaaber (Virginia Union), Tyrone Salley (West Virginia), Andre Owens
(Houston), Doron Perkins (Santa Clara), Nate Daniels (Mountain State), Guillaume Yango (Pacific) and Seamus Boxley from Portland State. Perkins is someone to look out for from what I've seen this year in the WCC.
Some early information from day 1:
was arguably the most impressive player yet, playing with amazing intensity. Scoring, rebounding, dunking everything he could get his hands on, blocking shots (sometimes into the fifth row where the scouts were sitting), just doing everything. His stock just got a nice boost.
didn't do anything to really separate himself as a player worthy of an NBA draft pick. He was dominated by Jason Maxiell
, especially on the glass where he just could not box him out.
performed well, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds, after started off poorly with only 4 points on 1-5 shooting in the first half.
-Unfortunately for both Mendez and Maxiell, their teams both lost, so they will not be around much longer for us to see again.
-Little known David Logan
(of the Division II college Indianapolis) also played very well, finishing with 20 points and 7 assists in 24 minutes. He began by playing fairly selfish for a 6'1 point guard, but ending up playing a very complete game. He was one of the fastest players on the court today, and helped his time to an excellent 109-102 overtime win. Jared Homan
was also part of this win, and had a very nice game himself with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The boxscores can be found on Portsmouth's official website: http://www.portsmouthinvitational.com/
If you would like to watch and judge for yourself who the most impressive players were at the Portsmouth invitational tournament, go to http://accurecruit.com. They have all the games online for viewing. The quality of this service is outstanding, you get a crystal clear picture from the best angle possible. These are the same DVD's that NBA teams will be watching when they sit down to evaluate the tournament. There are also many other games online to view, including Martell Webster, Andray Blatche and many others. We'll be using this service extensively in the next couple of months as well, as they are constantly adding games to their database.