Tournament

Charleston Classic All Tournament Team

By James Blackburn

For the 5th straight year I was able to head to down to beautiful Charleston, SC to cover the Charleston Classic college basketball tournament.  Although the field of talent was not quite as good as the past few years, there was still a number of pro prospects here and some teams to watch out for as the season progresses. Temple, from the American Conference, defeated Clemson (ACC) in the championship team. Temple has size, athleticism, and several pro prospects– dont be surprised to see this team having a real shot at playing in March at the end of the year.

Here is my All-Tournament Team as well as Honorable Mentions from this years tournament below.

*List was made based on tournament performance alone

 

DeSean Murray, F, 6’3”, JR, Auburn

Workhorse in every sense of the word. Plays extremely hard, battles for rebounds, and goes for loose balls. Best offensive rebounder here. The Presbyterian College transfer 3 pt shooting has improved still needs to continue to improve in this area. To his credit he knows his role and doesn’t play outside his capabilities. Plays much bigger than his height. Solid European prospect.

Trey Porter, F, 6’10”, JR, ODU

Was consistent throughout the tournament and played big inside for Old Dominion. Pretty good athlete who plays with a high motor. Has really improved over the years at ODU. Stronger than he looks. Can score with his back to the basket, but needs to continue to improve his left hand. Is a good European prospect because of his ability to score and rebound the ball. G-League teams should also track him.

Obi Enechionyia, F, 6’10”, SR, Temple

One of the top pro prospects here at the Charleston Classic. Stretch 4 who can really shoot the ball from deep. Solid rebounder who can also protect the rim a bit. Not a bad athlete. Needs to improve motor. Skilled. Should be considered for the P.I.T. this year. Will have a shot to land on an NBA team because of his size and ability to shoot the basketball.

Quinton Rose, G, 6’8”, SO, Temple

Versatile and athletic wing who reminds me of Daniel Hamilton, a 2-way player for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Handles the ball very well for his size and can get to the paint where he can shoot the midrange or make plays for others. Shifty. Has a chance to be a pretty good defender, just needs to be in consistent effort on this end. His 3 point shooting needs to become more consistent but he can hit the corner 3 at this point and shot it well from deep in game 2. A player that NBA teams need to watch if they haven’t seen him already.

Donte Grantham, F, 6’8”, SR, Clemson

Talented and athletic forward. Tweener between the 4 and the 3. His 3 pt shot looks better this year and more consistent. Can handle the ball pretty well and can defend multiple positions. Needs to stay aggressive this season as his team will be relying on him heavily.

Darrell Davis, G, 6’5”, SR, Dayton

Confident scoring point guard who led the team in scoring in this tournament. Has a quick first step and can shoot the 3 ball. Showed the ability to get to the rim where he can finish with either hand. Solid European prospect and could find himself receiving a PIT invite if he has a big year in the A-10.

Shelton Mitchell, G, 6’3”, JR, Clemson

Best pure PG in the tournament in my opinion. Terrific playmaker who gets easy shots for his teammates. His a minor hitch in his shot but showed he could knock down the midrange pull-up as well as the 3. Terrific ball handler who can create space for himself. Changes speeds well and is a poised. Very quick 1st step and can finish at the rim.  Moves his feet defensively. Has a shot to be a 2-way NBA player if not better.

 

 

Honorable Mention

Jordan Dartis, G, 6’3”, JR, Ohio

Good shooter who can score it off the bounce as well.

Gavin Block, G, 6’7”, JR, Ohio

High IQ stretch 4 who plays hard and rebounds.

Kostas Anteokunmpo, F, 6’10”, FR, Dayton

Versatile player with a high motor. Terrific defender. High upside because of length and athleticism.

Eli Pemberton, G, 6’5”, SO, Hofstra

Talented and smooth player who can score it all all 3 levels.

 

basketball-generic

By James Blackburn 

Final Score: 108-81 Davidson wins

I was able to catch my first Davidson game of the season last night to see them face off against visiting CAA foe UNC Wilmington. Each team has a star in their front-court. Peyton Alridge for Davidson and Devontae Cacok for Wilmington. Both players had big games statistically and will be relied on heavily this season for their respective clubs. Reports for both players are below. NBA scouts who have not had a chance to see either play yet should make it a priority to this season and both players are future pro’s at least at the high level European level.

On a side note, Davidson has a stud freshman guard in Kellan Grady. He has great size, is aggressive, and can finish in traffic. He will be talked about more as the season progresses.

Peyton Aldridge, F, SR, 6’8”, 225 lbs

Stats- 15-24 FG, 4-10 3pt, 5 reb, 2 assists, 37 points

Strengths

Showing off his inside /outside skill set right out of the gate by scoring on a post up and then a 18’ jumper. Takes his time scoring in the post and can score it over either shoulder. Can get space away from his defender with a nice fade away jumper.

Very reliable 3 pt set shooter. When he gets his feet set and shoots it, he shoots it as well as any big in the country. Cant give him an inch of space.

Very effective and efficient. Gets to his spots and scores it.

Runs the floor really hard and is an underrated athlete.

Weaknesses

Limited vertical athleticism. Needs to improve defensively. Lacks the strength still to be a solid interior defender. Opponents are able to get deep position on him too easily. Needs to become a better rebounder. Is not soft but needs to add some toughness.

Overview

Peyton had it rolling tonight and could of had 40 points, but one of his last 3’s got waived off because of a moving screen. Definite future pro and will be a Portsmouth invite for certain. He will have his chance for the NBA and depending on how he does in summer league he could possibly become a 2-way guy but I see him as being more of a high level European prospect. If he can add another 10 pounds of muscle and become a little bit better on the boards he has a chance.

Devontae Cacok, F, JR, 6’7”, 240 lbs

Stats- 9-15 FG, 17 reb, 2 assists, 1 block, 22 points

Strengths

Pro level body with good strength and athleticism.Terrific rebounder who boxes out and meets the ball at rim level. Love his motor and activity. Could make a living just with his rebounding ability. Best rebounder in the country for his size.

Showed he could score with back to basket. Has a right hook over his left shoulder and a good drop step move.

Great at catching lobs– finishes inside. Good hands.

Runs rim to rim. Holds his ground in the post and holds post position.

FT stroke didn’t look bad at all— good arc, could use more rotation. Solid at the line.

Did a pretty good job of recognizing the double teams and passing out of it. Underrated passer.

Weaknesses

Not comfortable on the perimeter on either end. Didn’t show ability to shoot outside the paint or put it on the floor and drive. To his credit he knows his limitations and sticks to what he does best which is play with energy and score in the post.

A bit limited offensively and still raw to some degree.

Overview

A player who loves the game and plays his role and does it as well as anyone in the country. G-League prospect who would be better off going over to Europe where he could play at a high level almost immediately. His rebounding, energy, and athleticism will translate to any level.

 

Deacon

Deacon

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Wake Forest vs Queens

I was able to attend Wakes first exhibition game of the season against D2 nationally ranked Queens from Charlotte. Two highly touted freshman and one grad transfer played significant minutes and will all 3 be counted on heavily for the Deacs this season. Wake was able to narrowly escape Queens upset bid with a score of 76-74.

Olivier Sarr, 7’0″, C, FR

Wake Forest was fortunate to land the 4 star French prospect who was labeled one of the top international prospects by multiple recruiting services and had his share of offers. First thing you notice about Sarr is his length and size. Lanky but runs the floor like a deer. Can hedge ball screens pretty well and is fluid. Needs to add strength and is still a bit raw at this stage, but Coach Manning has a great track record when it comes to developing bigs, so Sarr should improve weekly especially with more game experience. High upside with size and his athleticism which is what NBA teams love with him. I can see him getting into foul trouble especially in ACC play. Showed some flashes last night in limited minutes and finished with 4 pts and 3 boards. 

Chaundee Brown, 6’5″, G, FR

Brown is Wake’s highest ranked recruit since 2008 and after watching him play 27 minutes last night I can see why. Absolutely loved his composure and court presence. Great body, strong and athletic. Plays hard and doesnt play outside his strength. Defends and can guard multiple positions- I can see this eventually being one of his biggest calling cards as a lockdown defender. Shot is a little slow and his 3- point shot needs to improve- did hit one 3 in the second half. Showcased the ability to score off the bounce and in transition. Definitely a player NBA teams need to add to their list if he isn’t on it already. Would not be surprised if he made the leap to the pros before his 4 years was up.  Finished with 9 points, 2 rebounds, and a block. 

Terrence Thompson, 6’7″, F, GR

Thompson is a grad transfer after playing the previous 2 years at Marshall. Thompson is going to be asked to fill a big hole after the departures of John Collins and Dinos Mitoglou, 2 big men who are now pro’s. Gritty player who fights inside and is a traffic rebounder. Plays hard on both ends. Underrated hands. Not a good outside shooter, did attempt one 3 (which he missed), and needs to improve his FT shooting. His calling card is going to bring toughness, rebounding, and some scoring out of pick and rolls (Which the Deacs run at a high rate). Would like to see if he could score with his back to the basket, which he was not able to showcase much in this game per lack of post ups. Low to mid level European prospect.

 

 

 

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.