The 63rd annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament was held from April 8th to April 11th. The PIT offers borderline NBA players a unique forum in which to showcase skills which they may not be able to display for the college team whom they play for. This is due to many reasons such as not being able to play a position that they may be better suited for because of the particular needs of their team. We witnessed many shooting guards being thrust into the position of having to run an offense and many power forwards having to play the three. This allows a smaller shooting guard or power forward to display skills which may benefit the player when he is being evaluated by scouts. Many players choose not to take advantage of this opportunity and the questions that scouts may have concerning their skill set are left unanswered. We believe that many circumstances dictate whether a particular player ends up playing in the NBA or having a successful career overseas. The following is a list of players who participated at the PIT who we believe helped enhance their chances .
Treveon Graham (VCU 6’5 ½”, 225 lbs.)
Graham was perhaps the most impressive player at the PIT and we forecast him to end up playing in the league at some point and possibly getting drafted. Graham has a powerful body and good length. He possesses a 6’10 ½” wingspan (+6). He is not an explosive leaper or exceptionally quick. However, his ability to shoot the three with consistency and a good first step allows him to get to the basket and his strength aids him in finishing.
He has a very quick, fluid release. He shot 38% from three point territory during the season on five attempts per game. He can make threes off the dribble, spotting up, or off movement. He must improve his ball handling skills. He is also a straight line penetrator to the basket. He got to the line 5.6 times per game and shot 69%. Graham is a very good rebounder who averaged 6.8 per game including 2.2 on the offensive end. He is a good defender who can guard three positions. He must become a better distributor although that was not his role at VCU. He does not turn the ball over very often.
We were informed that he interviewed well and is a hardworking, good kid. These qualities usually result in improvement and improve his chances to end up sticking with an NBA team.
Richaun Holmes (Bowling Green) 6’9 ½”, 204 lbs.
Every year a player comes to the PIT under the radar and impresses. That player this year was Holmes. Holmes must get stronger to compete against fours at the next level. However, he has a 7’1 ½’ wingspan (+5) and has very good with and without step leaping ability. He is very quick off his feet and moves very well laterally on the defensive end. This makes him an elite shot blocker and he also alters many shots. He has a very good second leap which allows him to be an effective athletic rebounder.
He does not force shots which resulted in his shooting 56% at Bowling Green and over 60% at the PIT. He has three point range. Holmes only attempted 41 shots from beyond the arc or 1.4 per game but made 42%. He has a high release and is consistent from 12-20 feet. He does not put the ball on the floor very well. We believe that with an effective face up game Holmes has a chance to be an NBA player and if he can develop a consistent three point shot he will have a successful career. He has the ability to play and be successful in a high level league overseas.
Darrun Hilliard (Villanova) 6’6 ½”, 197 lbs.
Hilliard did not put up good statistics at the PIT. His numbers were skewed by the fact that he had a terrible shooting performance in his final game. Hilliard is a versatile lefty with good length (+3.5”). He possesses a good first step who can finish at the rim and spot up or hit a three off the dribble. He also interviewed well and is generally considered an articulate, good kid. Perhaps his greatest strength is that he has a true position. He is a two guard with good size. This could get him drafted.
Levi Randolph (Alabama) 6’5 ¾”, 195 lbs.
Randolph has good quickness and size. He also is a true shooting guard. He is crafty and changes speeds well to get to the basket. He also has the quickness to create his own shot. He must improve his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. He will be 23 years old in October. This can be a negative with many NBA franchises but he is considered a mature kid.
DJ Newbill (Penn State) 6’3 ¾”, 214 pounds
A good athlete but not an elite athlete. He is your classic tweener. He can score in a variety of ways. He averaged 20.7 points per game. Newbill has the athletic ability and craftiness to get to the hoop and the strength to finish. He can create space off the dribble to get off good looks from distance as evidenced by his 37% shooting on five attempts per game. He is a cerebral player. Newbill showed impeccable timing using screens and on pick and rolls. He averaged 3.1 assists for Penn State but also turned the ball over 2.6 times. He did not show that he possessed point guard skills at the PIT but could be a secondary point guard in the NBA.
Cady Lalanne (Massachusetts) 6’9 ½, 241 lbs.
Lalanne did not live up to expectations this past season for Massachusetts. In fact his performance was disappointing considering the promise he had shown last season in early games against LSU and Brigham Young. Lalanne is a physical specimen at the four. He is very strong and long. He has a wingspan of 7’5” (+8.75). His strength and length makes him an effective rebounder. He averaged 9.5 rebounds per game for Massachusetts and averaged double-doubles in each of his three games at the PIT.
However, he lacks consistency in performance and more importantly in effort. He is not quick off his feet and has average footwork in the post at best. His post moves are not very advanced. Lalanne also is turnover prone as his paltry 10 assists to 80 turnovers attest to. He does not force shots and uses his strength to score in the paint. He shot 55% from the field. Lalanne also averaged 4.5 free throws per game but shot only 64%. He has a face up game which is fairly consistent to fifteen feet. He attempted only eighteen shots from beyond the arc and only made three.
Lalanne is a capable shot blocker mostly of the on ball variety. He has a hard time guarding mobile big men and for his strength he allows low post position too easily. Lalanne will be twenty three on April 22nd.
Marcus Thornton (William & Mary) 6’2 ½”, 187 lbs.
Thornton had been listed as 6’4” so the fact that he measured only 6’2 ½” makes it all the more critical that he can show that he can play the point. He has very good quickness and is fast with the ball in the open court. He changes speeds well utilizing hesitation dribbles and head fakes. Thornton can get to the basket and is crafty enough to finish with either hand. His quickness allows him to create space. He has an effective step back jumper and shot 40% from distance on 7.7 attempts per game. He shoots 83% on 4.6 free throws per game. He’s a very cerebral and unselfish player.
Thornton did show flashes that he could play the point at the PIT averaging four assists per game. He understands defensive spacing and has the length (6’7 ½”, +6) and anticipation to interrupt the passing lanes. He must get stronger and show that he can play the point if he is to have any chance of playing in the NBA. He is talented enough and mature enough to play at a high level overseas in the right situation.
Darion Atkins (Virginia) 6’8”, 201 lbs.
Atkins was the high scorer at the PIT and the third highest rebounder. This was no small accomplishment given the fact that he only averaged 7.6 points and 6.0 rebounds this past season for the Cavaliers. He was also a late addition to the field at the PIT and probably due to his proximity to the event. Everyone who watched Virginia this past season realized that Atkins was an undersized big who anchored a very strong defensive team. He was looked at as the rim protector and the guy who spoke out against his teammates after their third round loss to Michigan State.
Atkins was impressive as a superb defender whose 7’2” wingspan (+7) allowed him to alter shots and finish in the paint. He also displayed some nice footwork and short little hooks in the paint as well as a face up game to 15 feet. He was an effort guy who was able to gather up loose balls and finish in the paint. He does not appear at this time to possess the skill set to thrive overseas and will probably be a D-League guy.
LaDontae Henton (Providence) 6’5”, 213 lbs.
Henton was one of our favorite players to observe this past season. He has a non stop motor and always seems to beat his opponent to the ball. He is a tough kid who maximized his skills despite having to play the four for the majority of his career. The southpaw scored over 2,000 points and pulled down over 1,000 rebounds in his career at Providence.
Henton is a good athlete whose 7’0” wingspan and athleticism allowed him to finish in the paint as well as score on the perimeter. The problem is he is only a 34% shooter from beyond the arc and only averaged .9 assists this past season when he played the three. He is not the type of ball handler who will blow by his opponent in a half court set. Henton just does not have the skill set to play the two in the league. We believe that the toughness and intangibles he brings to the court will result in a successful career overseas.
J.J Avila (Colorado State) 6’6 ½”, 251 lbs.
Avila was the glue guy for Colorado State who did all the little things that helps a team be successful. He is a fine teammate who has the ability to hit the big shot at opportune times. He is always aware of where his teammates are best able to use the ball. Avila can play the point forward and the offense can be run thru him. He is a very cerebral player who does many things well. He has uncanny anticipation at the defensive end of the floor. Avila understands positional rebounding and is effective on the defensive and offensive boards. He is not an outstanding shooter and is not an elite athlete. He is a mature young man who will find a place to thrive overseas.
Other impressive players – Matt Stainbrook (Xavier), Jabril Trawick (Georgetown), D’Angelo Harrison (St. John’s) and Chavaughn Lewis (Marist).
Any international players interested in coming to the USA to play in college, prep school or high school can contact us here. We are looking for interns and sales associates. If you’re interested contact us and forward your resume.