basketball-generic

For the 6th straight year I was back in Portsmouth, VA for the 65th annual Portsmouth Invitational Basketball Tournament commonly known as the PIT. The Tournament takes place over 4 days and features the nations top 64 senior’s who play games in front of NBA scouts, GM’s, and a host of international coaches and scouts. Below I have given my All-Tournament team which as always is no reflection of what they did during the season as this was based solely on their play here this week.

My MVP for the tournament was Damyean Dotson, a 6’5″ guard from the University of Houston. He was one of the most consistent players all week and showed he could score the ball in a variety of ways. 

All-Tourney Team

PG- London Perrantes, G, 6’2″, UVA

Every year Virginia players seem to do very well at the PIT and it was no exception this year as London showed he was the best pure PG in attendance. He made great reads out of the PnR and made quick on time passes. He got the ball up court quickly and took care of the ball not turning it over. Could find himself making an NBA team as an un-drafted FA.

SG- Matt Jones, G, 6’5″, Duke

Matt was solid all week and showed he could not only knock down the NBA 3 but also score off the bounce. He played the passing lanes and was under control. Has great size for the off guard and could find himself  in the G-League this season.

F- JaCorey Wiliams, F, 6’8″, Middle Tenn. State

The C-USA POY showed a great motor and solid athleticism. He led the PIT in scoring with just over 20 ppg. Loved his length and ability to defend multiple positions.

F- Tyler Cavanaugh, F, 6’9″, George Washington

Stretch 4 man who can also score with his back to the basket. Very strong player. Grew more and more confident as the week went on and ended up finishing 2nd in scoring with over 19 ppg.

F- Jacob Wiley, F, 6’7″, Eastern Washington

Loved the way he competed and played both ends. Best energy in the tournament. Runs the floor like a deer and was all over the offensive boards. Always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Honorable Mention

Erik McCree, 6’8″, F, LA Tech

Zach LeDay, 6’7″, F, VA Tech

Dallas Moore, 6’1″, G, North Florida

Jimmy Hall, 6’8″, F, Kent State

Derrick White, 6’5″, G, Colorado

basketball-generic

Rhode Island won 3 games in a row capped off by surviving a late run and beating 2 seed VCU 70-63 in the championship game Sunday to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament and finish its season 24-9. The game was a perfect way to end what was a great tournament from start to finish.

The A10 Tournament was an amazing event this year and Pittsburgh did a terrific job of hosting the event after it had been in Brooklyn, NY for prior years. The tournament featured several OT games, was very well attended, and was well organized and put together. I can see the league getting 3 teams into the NCAA Tournament this year with VCU, Dayton, and Rhode Island all earning bids. Several other teams should be considered for the NIT as well such as Richmond, George Mason, and St. Bonaventure, who were all 20 win teams. The A10 continued to show why they are the most underrated conference in the country by featuring pro prospects and well coached teams.

 

It was very hard to pick the All-Tournament team and even harder to scale down the honorable mention team as there were a lot of big time performances, players, and plays. The teams and selections below are based solely on tournament play and not regular season awards or statistics.

 

MVP- E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island)

 

G-Jack Gibbs, Davidson, SR

Did everything possible to keep his team in it this week in Pittsburgh including a 34 point incredible performance to knock off #1 seed Dayton in the 2nd game. Led the tournament in scoring with 23 ppg in Davidson 3 games. Tough and aggressive scoring guard who will light it up from behind the arc and attack the rim drawing fouls.

G-EC Matthews, Rhode Island, JR

Shifty scoring guard with good size who was the best player on the championship team which is why I chose him for MVP after scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in the championship game. He shot the ball very well, helped on the glass, and got to the painted area and was able to finish. Matthews is a player that NBA will want to monitor.

G- JeQuan Lewis, VCU, SR

Was the most consistent player for his team all weekend. He made big plays, shot the the ball well, and was a ball hawk defensively. Lewis showed why he was a 1st team All-Conference selection all week with his play on both ends.

F- Hassan Martin, Rhode Island, SR

The A10 Defensive Player of the Year was dominant all week rebounding the ball, protecting the paint, and scoring efficiently around the rim. He got some big blocks and big scores in the championship game and was just a man amongst boys. The lefty does a nice job of banging on the block and getting to his left hook.

F- Peyton Aldridge, Davidson, JR

Peyton was a stat stuffer all week rebounding the ball on both ends and scoring it at an efficient clip. He averaged 20 ppg and 9.7 rpg in the 3 games Davidson played. He is one of the best inside/outside threats in the conference by being a reliable back to the basket scorer who can also hit the open 3. Plays hard and runs the floor.

 

Honorable Mention

Jared Terrell, G, Rhode Island, JR

Samir Doughty, G, VCU, FR

Tyler Cavanaugh, F, George Washington, SR

DeMonte Buckingham, G, Richmond, FR

Marquise Moore, G, George Mason, SR

Jaylen Adams, G, St. Bonnies, JR

ShawnDre’ Jones, G, Richmond, SR

 

Game Recap

Dayton entered this ESPN televised game 22-5 on the season and undefeated in the month of February. Their perfect month continued after beating Davidson 89-82 in OT.  

Davidson used their inside play, shooting, and the home crowd to keep them in it. Dayton tried to make it a running game and used their athleticism. This one was back and forth from the start and both teams attacked the basket early and often resulting in a lot of whistles. Both teams ended up in the bonus early and 28 FT’s were shot in the 1st half. Davidson really struggled defending Dayton’s motion pick and roll attack while Dayton struggled to guard Davidson patient half court offense.  Davidson lead most the 1st half behind 19 points from Peyton Aldridge but it was Dayton who used a flurry of baskets to take the 46-45 lead at the half.

The 2nd half was back and forth with neither team able to really take a big lead or take control. Both teams struggled with turnovers. Davidson was finally able to make a run and their lead got as high as 11 with 7:58 left before FT’s by Charles Cooke ended Dayton’s drought.  This prompted a 17-5 run for Dayton to tie it up and then Scoochie Smith scored 11 points in OT to help Dayton get the win.


Scouting Reports

Davidson

Peyton Aldrige, F, JR, 6-8

Peyton Aldridge had it going early tonight and it continued all game. He was hitting 3’s, scoring on the block, rebounding, and blocking shots. He looks better and better every game. He finished with 27 points and 7 rebounds.  

 Jack Gibbs, G, SR, 6-0

Struggled early on but finished strong and played well most of the game. Played solid defense tonight and made plays. Wa able to get the rim area practically at will to draw fouls. Finished with 27 points. 

Dayton

Charles Cooke, G, R-SR, 6-5

Leads team in scoring at over 16 per contest and finished with 17 tonight. . Super long and athletic. Can put the ball down and get to the rim w/ 1 dribble and finish. Has a great looking stroke and can hit the 3 ball with consistency. High motor guy who defends. 

Kendall Pollard, F, SR, 6-6

Really solid body that he uses to get deep position on the block where he can score with either hand. Has some Draymond Green in him but doesnt shoot the 3. Handles the ball decently well for his size. 

Scoochie Smith, G, SR, 6-2

Leads team in assists per game and is 3rd in scoring. Can turn the corner off the pick and roll and is an excellent passer. Showed his scoring ability in the OT period by scoring 11 points. 

Xeyrius Williams, F, SO, 6-8

One of the best potential filled prospects on the court. Has really good length. Runs the floor hard. Showed he could hit the set open 3.

 

Game Scouted: Charlotte vs WKU

Charlotte wins

Jon Davis, G, 6’3”, SO

Stats

37 min, 6-11 FG, 3- 6 3 pt, 8-9 FT, 2 reb, 6 assists, 4 steals , 2 TO’s, 23 points

Strengths

Heady PG who keeps his head and eyes up when handling the ball. Gets the ball up the floor with the pass to the man open up ahead. Makes plays for others. Can get to the rim and create. Can hit the set 3- fundamentally sound stroke. Can create his own shot. Showed a nice step back move. Does a great job of utilizing the pump fake on the perimeter to set up the 3 or the drive.

Active defender who looks to make plays off the ball. Understands help position D. Had a big play in the 2nd half where he got a steal and then made a perfect pass for the alley-oop dunk. Finished tonight with 4 steals and he had several more deflections- is an excellent defender.

Has good athleticism and quickness. Can get to the paint and get to the FT line. Changes speeds pretty well. At his best in transition. Unselfish player. Good body control- can finish in various ways at the rim too.

Weaknesses

3 point shot is a little slow. He also has a tendency to back out of his shot a little early at times too. Over Dribbles the ball at times and is a bit turnover prone.

Overview

Leader on the floor vocally and by example. Is level headed and doesnt let the game affect his body language. Leads the team with 20 ppg. What I like about him this year is that he lets the game come to him and he doesnt force as much. He gets others involved and looked like a PG tonight who can score and not just another combo guard. He is having a great sophomore campaign and is a player that should definitely be on NBA teams radar if he isnt already.

 

Game Scouted: Wake Forest vs Pittsburg

Wake Forest wins 63-59

John Collins, F, 6’10”, 235 lbs, SO

Stats- 28 min, 10-16 FG, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 TO, 22 points

Strengths

Offensively John has shown improvement from a year ago and is now a highly reliable post scoring option. Has has great touch around the basket and can score in a variety of ways. He scores the ball with an array of moves including dunks, hooks/running hooks, drop steps, and facing up. He is incredibly efficient scoring the basketball and is #1 in the country in PER (Player Efficiency Rating). One of his big jumps from last year to this year is his ability to shoot the short corner jumper and midrange shot consistently. The short corner shot from 12’ to 15’ has become one of his sweet spots. He has solid mechanics and is shooting with confidence this season. While he is still a roll man at this stage in PnR sets, I could see him doing more short rolls and some pops as he continues to stretch his range.

Collins is a terrific athlete who can run and jump with just about anyone in the country. Has a great motor and stays active on both ends. He runs the floor very well on both ends and his 2nd jump is tremendous. He loves to dunk the ball with 2 hands as well and doesnt struggle to finish above the rim.

Seals off inside nicely and seems to have a better understanding this season on how to score from various points on the floor and from different angles. He has great hands and can catch and finish inside very effectively. He also has underrated body control.

Has develop into a nice shot blocker getting most of these from the weakside. He has really good timing and can get off the floor high and quick and catches most players off guard. He is getting better and better figuring out if he should leave his man to go for the block or stay with his man and rebound. The foul trouble from last year has not been as much of a problem this year as he has gained muscle and also done a better job of staying straight up and not reaching in.

He is a great rebounder on both ends. He attacks defensive boards and uses his energy, athleticism, and quick 2nd jump to go after offensive boards as well. He rebounds outside his area.

Weaknesses

Needs to continue to improve his feel especially on the perimeter. While his left hand has gotten better this year he still needs to improve it and get more confidence in it. Was pulled away from the basket tonight defensively guarding Michael Young of Pitt tonight. Didnt do a bad job at all- he contested shots but needs to be more consistent staying low in defensive stance- does a nice job of moving his feet for a player of his size- quick/active feet.  He needs to continue to add some weight to his frame particularly in his lower body which will come with age.

Overview

John continued his amazing month of play with another big one tonight with a double-double. He had some huge plays down the stretch including a tip in to give Wake the lead with 18 seconds left. John has now scored 20 points in every game since January 18th and his play as of late has been exceptional. He was coming off of a career high of 31 points against Duke last game.  I love his body language- even with some poor foul calls against him and not getting the ball as much as he should, he doesnt hang his head, complain, or sulk.  He is a player with a very high ceiling and he is still very young, at just 19 years old. His improvement from last year to this season shows how hard of worker he is and he checks all the boxes off the court. His stock has been rising all season on mock drafts and is now listed as a top 20 pick on most websites/ draft experts. I can see John going as high as top 11 especially if he continues his hot play. His draft position will only improve after workouts and once teams interview him.

Game Scouted: Akron vs Kent State

Kent State wins 70-67

Isaiah Johnson, C, 6’10”, 290 lbs, SR

Stats- 5-8 FG, 8-11 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 18 TP

Strengths

Big bodied back to the basket center. Takes up a lot of space. Uses his body to create space on the block. Has good patience in the post. Great footwork. Showed a nice change of pace move and up and under move inside early. Can really score the ball in the post– has an array of moves. Does a nice job of using head fakes.Excellent feel for the game. Soft hands. Great passer out of the post- finds the open man.

Holds his ground on the post defensively and gets deep position offensively.

Has a soft touch. Better athlete than given credit for. Not a bad defender at all- defends w/out fouling and is tough to score over. Good rebounder on both ends.

Weaknesses

Not a great FT shooter but looks like he has good form- I dont think he takes his time.

Doesnt run the floor well at all but moves fluidly in the half court. Would be better if he lost some weight– it would help him run better. Doenst play above the rim.

Overall

Highlight efficient true post player who can score and rebound very well. Would struggle in an uptempo system. Should be a player that is considered for the PIT. Game is best suited for a slower/half court oriented European league.

Game Scouted: Davidson vs George Washington

Davidson wins 74-63

Peyton Aldridge, F, 6’8”, 225 lbs, JR

Stats- 40 minutes, 11-23 FG, 3-5 3 pt, 2-2 FT, 8 reb, 2 assists, 3 steals, 27 pts

Strengths

Tremendous footwork on the block. Showcased a variety of moves where he displayed good patience, change of speeds, ability to slide dribble, and showed he could finish with either hand. Really good hook shot with either hand.

Has a good shooting stroke and can extend the court out to 3. Showed he could shoot it off the dribble. Can easily create his own dribble.

Runs the floor well at both ends. Good rebounder who attacks boards with 2 hands on both sides of the ball. Keeps rebounds alive by tipping the ball when he cant secure it. Can lead the break with the dribble after rebounding it.

Hedges screens pretty well defensively. Hedges out with hands high.

Weaknesses

Lacks some explosion.  Could stand to gain about 15-20 more pounds which would help him hold his ground on the block and finish better too. He gets bumped off of driving lanes at times as well. Solid post defender but not a rim protecter. 

Overall

Talks on the court and is a leader on both ends directing traffic. Is in great shape- can play extended minutes without showing lapses. Plays hard in those minutes.

Matched up tonight against GW’s Tyler Cavanaugh and won the matchup. 

Peyton is a player who has been on NBA radars since his freshman year. He will have to continue to get stronger and keep showing he can play the stretch 4 to move up with NBA teams. Bigs like him who rebound and can shoot the ball are valuable. I can see him possibly making a training camp with a good summer league performance after his senior year.

 

Game Scouted: Furman vs Chattanooga

Furman wins 60-56

Kris Acox, 6’6″, 215 lbs, F, SR

Stats- 34 minutes, 4-7 FG, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assists, 8 pts

Strengths

Kris is a big time athlete with good explosion and a high motor. Very strong. Really active rebounder on both ends. Attacks rebounds at the highest point on the defensive end and uses the swim move to attack the offensive boards. Has really good quickness for a guy his size. Can finish with either hand inside.Goes a nice job of getting deep position in the post where he uses his quickness to go by bigger defenders. Gets his body low and attacks. Comfortable facing the basket. Efficient on dump downs- can catch and finish strong. Does a nice job of using the rim as protection.

Capable of rebounding the ball and leading the break with the dribble.

Defends ball screens really well. Hedges hard and recovers back to his man. Does a nice job of ¾ fronting the low post.

Weaknesses

TO prone at times- he gets caught on the baseline and doesnt have anywhere to go. Struggled with the length that Tuoyo posed tonight defensively.

Shooting stroke needs improvement- has a minor hitch, takes it back too far, and its not fluid. Misses are not consistent. FT’s need to get better.

Limited offensively to a degree. Rushes at times.

Overview

Entered the game 2nd on the team with scoring at 12.9 ppg and leads the team in rebounds at 7.4 rpg. Tonight wasnt his best night of the season but he hit the game winning hook with a few seconds left. Plays for the Iceland National Team, which is where he is originally from. 

 

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George Mason came to town to take on Davidson in a Wednesday night A-10 matchup where both teams entered tied with 5-5 conference marks. The Patriots of George Mason were coming off a double digit win vs La Salle and Davidson was coming off a double digit loss vs Rhode Island. The game was close the entire first half but George Mason led most of the way and entered halftime with a 31-29 lead. George Mason is a tough, strong, and hard working team that is very well coached by Dave Paulsen. The Patriots controlled the glass and did the majority of their scoring inside off the bounce. Davidson struggled shooting the ball both from 3 and by missing a lot of shots inside that they would normally make.

The second half was much the same for both teams. Davidson’s defensive intensity picked up and they started getting to the FT line more too. George Mason was able to hit enough shots and stayed in the lead. George Mason did a great job of keeping the crowd out of this one for the most part.

Davidson was able to tie it with a Aldridge 3 with 9:30 left and from there on it was back and forth. In the end the combination of seniors Moore and Jenkins was too much and Mason came out with the 76-69 win.

The officials did a great job this game of letting the guys play and the flow was great.

 

Below are some of the top players from the game.

Davidson

Peyton Aldridge, F, 6’7”, JR

Mobile big who can finish inside on an array of post moves as well as hit the open set 3. Does a great job of defending the rim without fouling and controls the glass.

Jack Gibbs, G, 6’0”, SR

Looked solid all game. Was making plays for himself and teammates and the jump shot looked good. Able to finish inside in various ways. Can get to the paint and finish with contact. 

George Mason

Marquise Moore, G, 6’2”, SR

Very strong guard who is really tough to stop when attacking downhill. Good passer who is unselfish. isBig time rebounder who leads team in this area with over 10 a game. Made some big plays at the end of this one to help secure the win.

Jalen Jenkins, F, 6’7”, R-SR

Big man with a good feel for the game and can score inside with his back to the basket. Showed an array of post moves and the ability to face the basket and to shoot it from 15′.

Jaire Grayer, G, 6’4”, SO

Wing with good size who can shoot the 3 well. Plays really hard, defends, scores, and rebounds. Teams X factor who can do it all.

 

Game Scouted: Wofford vs ETSU

Wofford wins 79-76

Eric Garcia (6’0″, PG, SR)

Stats- 38 min, 10-14 FG, 4-6 3 pt, 4-4 FT, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 TO’s

Strengths

Great game control guard who is an extension of the coach on the floor. Terrific passer who gets the ball to the open man and also can make plays for teammates off the bounce and out of the pick and roll.

Underrated quickness and has a nice change of speed dribble. Can score at the rim in creative ways and angles. Great at using opposite hand to finish on different sides especially his right hand on left side. Crafty.

Big time shooter who can shoot it off the bounce and off the catch. Fundamentally sound stroke with a quick release. Makes big shots.

Competes defensively and really gets into the ball handler and takes away his space.

High IQ guard. Always under control and knows exactly what he wants to do.

Weaknesses

Honestly it’s hard to find many weaknesses in Garcia’s game and nothing is a glaring weakness.

He does struggle to create space at times to get his own shot. 

Size makes him vulnerable to the post up by bigger guards but he is stronger then you would think so this doesnt happen much. 

Overall

He leads the SoCon conference in assists per game and FT% this season. His 4 to 1 assists to TO ratio is the best in the conference and is also number 3 in the country. Eric is coming off a career high 12 assists in a win over UNCG a few weeks back.

Eric would be a valuable piece to add to a team in Europe. Is having a good enough season to garner PIT consideration as well.