The 2013 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament offered NBA and NetScouts Basketball’s scouts a chance to evaluate many players who may have a chance to contribute to their team’s success in the future. It is and always has been a unique event in that players are required to adjust their games to their new teammates for three games. Their performance can have a profound effect on their future.
The general consensus was that the overall talent pool was not equal to past years. The amount of borderline NBA players who chose not to participate was mind boggling. I have heard all the reasons why certain players do not take this opportunity to showcase their talents. I found none of the arguments convincing other than pre-event injuries. It is my belief that the fact that certain payers declined invitations brings into question what they can possibly be hiding. This was confirmed by the many scouts who I have had the pleasure to work with throughout the season and over the years. It appeared that every NBA team was represented and through various conversations, it was the overwhelming opinion that unless a player is a guaranteed first round pick, then they should showcase their talents.
Most scouts attend a minimum of 100 games throughout the season. This, combined with the fact that the ability to review players on tape has increased considerably through technological advances, gives scouts a fairly good idea what a player’s strengths and weaknesses are in the particular system and with the teammates they play with. Showcases like the PIT force a player out of their comfort zone and into a position where they must adjust to new situations and the added pressure of having their performance go a long way towards determining their future. In my opinion, players who choose not to compete are making a mistake.
I would like to commend all players who did compete. The following is a list of PIT participants who I feel are the players with the best chance to compete at the highest level. The order in which players are listed is not an indication of who has the greatest chance.
1) Jamelle Hagins – Delaware
Hagins has always been considered a top notch rebounder and he did nothing to dispel this. In spite of the fact that he played on a team which lacked a strong front court compared to the teams that they competed against, he showed great effort and was a force in the paint. He understands the fundamentals of rebounding and combined with his strength, length, and athleticism, he proved he can excel in an area that usually translates well to the next level.
He also displayed a dependable mid-range jump shot. He does not have the quickest release but has a dependable shot when his feet are set and he is spotting up. He also has good footwork and can finish in a variety of ways around the basket. I believe that he would improve his offensive game if he utilized ball fakes more when facing up. He is strong enough and has adequate quickness laterally to guard most 4’s. He is also a good on ball and weakside shot blocker. He has become a dependable free throw shooter which is indicative of a good work ethic and maybe an indication that he can extend his range and become a consistent face up player.
He measures out to 6’7 ¾ ” without sneakers and has a wingspan of 7’1”. His standing reach is 9’0”. He is also a strong 230 pounds.
2) Brandon Davies – Brigham Young
Davies was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 PIT. He was teamed in the front court with Mouphtaou Yarou and Keith Clanton. This allowed Davies to play the face up four and he excelled in his natural position. Davies is a very efficient player who plays well in transition and was dependable from the 12’-18’ range. Davies does not have three point range at this point in his career.
He also distributed the ball well from the high and low post. The PIT gave Davies a chance to play on the perimeter and only occasionally in the post. He does not possess a great base and often does not display great balance when posting up. He is capable of taking advantage of size mismatches, as his footwork is adequate when he can set up strong. He benefited from playing on the most well rounded team in the event. He showed he could run the court well, has a good motor, and he can finish in transition. He played very good defense in the semi-finals against Hagins. He is a good post defender and has good lateral quickness for a four. He shot 67% from the field and averaged 19.7 points and 9.33 rebounds in three games.
Davies must get stronger and his game would be enhanced if he could extend his range out to the 3 pt. line. Davies has a 7’2” wingspan and a standing reach of 9’ ½”. He measured out at 6’8 ½” without sneakers.
3) James Ennis – Long Beach State
He did not put up big numbers in the PIT. However, he was arguably the best athlete on the floor. He has excellent leaping ability which is said to be in the 40” vertical range. Ennis was very good finishing in transition. He also showed he could step out and hit the three. He has a nice high release point and shot 35% from distance for Long Beach State. He is a good on ball defender with the quickness and anticipation to get in the passing lanes and be disruptive. His athleticism also allows him to be a good weakside shot blocker for his size.
Ennis has a good first step and can finish at the basket. His size advantage over most 2’s and some 3’s allows him to see the court and distribute the ball although his decision making could stand improvement. He also must improve his ball handling in half court sets. Ennis measured out at 6’5 ¾” and had a 6’11 ½” wingspan and a standing reach of 8’9”. He was the Big West Player of the Year.
4) Tyler Brown – Illinois State
Brown showed he possesses NBA 3 pt. range as he shot 13-of-28 over three games. He can shoot from distance off the dribble, spotting up, and when moving (catch and shoot). His shooting performance was not an aberration as he shot 42.3% in his two years at Illinois State.
He is effective finishing at the basket. He uses his body effectively to ward off defenders. He is an 80% free throw shooter. Brown must learn to distribute the ball more effectively. He tends to turn the ball over by forcing passes and does not have a great feel for distributing the ball to a teammate in areas where they are most effective. Brown is a good rebounding guard. He fits the profile of a good all-around player who does one thing exceptionally well- shoot the ball.
He is 6’1” (without sneakers) and has a 6’5” wingspan so it is important that he improve his playmaking skills.
5) Robert Covington – Tennessee State
Covington is a well-rounded, skilled player who has good size to ultimately develop into a 3 and occasionally play the four. He is 6’6 ¼” with an impressive 7’2” wingspan and 8’10” standing reach. He has a nice high release point and good rotation when shooting from distance or mid-range. He shot 42.2% from 3 point range over his career. Covington is also a very athletic and long quick to the ball rebounder. He must improve his ball handling and decision making. He is good in transition and can finish.
6) Khalif Wyatt – Temple
Wyatt had a disappointing showing at the PIT. However, his body of work makes me believe that he possesses the potential to become an NBA player.
He is not a great athlete but is very strong. He uses his strength to finish at the basket and he changes speeds and direction well. Wyatt also uses screens effectively. He utilizes ball fakes and jab steps to create separation on shots from the perimeter.
He was forced to carry Temple at times this season and he seemed intent on proving that he could set up his teammates and play under control at the PIT. However, he was too passive and his game suffered. He finally started taking the ball to the basket with a good first step in his final outing. He went to the line five times in that game and connected on all five. This was more indicative of his ability to get to the basket and finish during his senior season at Temple. He averaged over seven free throws per game and shot 83.6% from the line. He also has a good feel for the game and can distribute the ball effectively.
Wyatt measured out at 6’2 ½” and 215 lbs. He also has an impressive 6’8 ½” wingspan and a 6’8 ½” standing reach. It did appear that he had slimmed down, but his measured weight was actually five pounds heavier than his listed weight. I believe that he has lost some weight. This shows he is probably preparing himself and working hard after the season. However, one of his greatest assets is his strength.
7) Ian Clark – Belmont
Clark enjoyed a productive week at the PIT. He has a very nice stroke from distance. He was 6-of-18 for 3 games, but he shot 46% for the season. He has a quick and high release point and his shot has very good rotation. He distributed the ball very effectively in his team’s three outings. He had 8 assists and only one turnover. However, he is not a point guard and at this point in his career, does not possess the strength or quickness in half court sets to get to the basket.
Clark is an excellent defensive player. He has good lateral quickness, anticipation, and quick hands. He is a fine on ball defender who does not take foolish risks. He will only attempt a steal if the opportunity presents itself. He is 6’2 ¼” (without sneakers) and has a 6’6 ½” wingspan. However, he only weighs 173 pounds. He must get stronger. He is a longshot to play in the league but he should be an effective player overseas.
8) Ramon Galloway – La Salle
Galloway played the point and struggled with turnovers. He had seventeen assists and twenty turnovers in three games. Many of his passes should have been caught but he also did not display the timing and the court sense that a pure point has when distributing the ball. I do not believe that he is a natural point guard and at 6’1 ¾” (without sneakers), he probably has to be to play in the league. He is a very active player with a great motor. He is also an exceptional athlete. He has good quickness and a good with step and no step leap.
He also struggled with his shooting from distance (3-of-14). However, he had many shots rim out. He shot 41.2% on 6.7 attempts per game during his senior season. He has a low release point but this is offset by the quickness of his release, his ability to beat defenders off the dribble, and very good range.
He is very quick laterally and plays the passing lanes well. He is also an impressive rebounder for his position. He had seventeen rebounds in three outings which is consistent with his average of 4.6 rebounds per game in his two seasons at LaSalle. He has a 6’7 ½” wingspan and a standing reach of 6’6”. He has good length and a good standing reach which somewhat offsets his lack of size.