By James Blackburn
The 62nd annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament recently concluded this past Easter weekend in beautiful Portsmouth, VA. Dozens of European scouts, agents, and teams were on hand to watch the some of the top collegiate seniors in the nation compete in a 3 game tournament. In addition to overseas representatives, nearly every NBA and NBDL had at least one scout and other front office personnel in attendance to scout the talent represented. The event took place at Churchland HS and was open daily to the public. 64 players were split up between 8 teams, whose names were based on local businesses who help sponsor the event.
https://www.portsmouthinvitational.com/2014_TEAM_ROSTERS.htmlTeam Rosters can be found here
Measurements were once again taken measuring players heights, weights, vertical, and wingspan, these results can be found here.
Here are reports on some of the top performers at the event split up by positions.
Tim Frazier (PG, 6’1”, Penn State)
Smart PG who uses ball screens exceptionally well. Showcased a solid floater once he reached lane area. Is excellent in transition and kept dribble alive until he had passing angle or a shot to score. Stronger then he looks and has a nice change of speed. One of the top PG’s here.
Travis Bader (SG, 6’5”, Oakland)
Undoubtedly the top shooter at the event, the NCAA All-Time leader in threes made for a career (504) put on a show throughout the 3 games, knocking down triple after triple. Terrific form and release and got good elevation as well. Moved well without the ball but struggled to score with pressure. Limited on the defensive end but showed a willingness to give 100% hustle and energy on this end. Played his way onto an NBA Summer League roster spot in my mind.
David Stockton (PG, 5’11”, Gonzaga)
One of the top pure PG’s at the event and was able to run his team very well. Excellent passer in both half-court and in transition. Found his teammates and was able to create easy shots for others. Size is a major issue as he is vulnerable to the post up and struggled to finish inside. Didn’t even look to score half the time instead opting out for the pass. Did show some craftiness finishing with the off hand on several drives and moved his feet well on the perimeter. Needs to improve shooting, especially from the NBA 3 pt line. The HOF John Stockton was in attendance to watch his son the entire event. Should carve out a nice career in Europe.
Tyler Johnson (G, 6’4”, Fresno State)
This was the first time seeing Johnson and I came away impressed. In the running’s for top overall athlete in the tournament. Plays hard and does numerous things well on the court. Understands defensive rotations and is unafraid.
Markel Starks (PG, 6’1”, Georgetown)
Big time shot maker and shot taker who possess great confidence in his abilities. Great ball handler who was able to get to the paint at will. Can hit the NBA 3 and has a good floater in the lane. Got a little ahead of himself at times but I left impressed with his ability to both score and get teammates involved.
Patrick Miller (PG, 6’0”, Tennessee State)
The 5th leading scorer in the nation (23.7 ppg) showed the ability to run a team and be a playmaker for not only himself but also his teammates. Built like an NFL running back, Miller fought his way through screens and contact did not seem to faze him even at the PIT, where the officials let the players play more physical. Explosive athlete who can turn the corner on the P/R. Needs to improve NBA 3 point shooting and ability to go left. Excellent on-ball defender and attacked the rim hard. Should of earned himself a spot in Chicago.
Jake Odum (G, 6’4”, Indiana State)
One of the most consistent players here. Fundamentally sound and skilled. Doesn’t hurt you really in any way on either side of the floor. Underrated quickness. Good shooter who can hit shots with feet set and off the dribble.
Taylor Braun (SF, 6’7”, North Dakota State)
The Summit League Player of the Year showed solid fundamentals and some underrated athleticism all week. High IQ smooth player who can score at the rim with either hand. Solid ball handler who can create his own shot and hit the 3. Took some questionable shots at times and needs to improve quickness off the dribble. Put in good effort on defensive end but lost track of his man off the ball. Definitely earned himself a spot in Chicago and most likely will be on an NBA Summer League roster.
Fuquan Edwin (G/F, 6’6”, Seton Hall)
One of the best perimeter defenders here. Showed the ability to guard several positions, moved his feet well, and was in good defensive position. Showed the ability to create his own shot, but struggled with his shooting after game 1. Aggressive wing with a quick first step.
Josh Huestis (F, 6’7”, Stanford)
One of the best athletes at the event. Played both the 3 and the 4 this week, but at this point is more of an undersized 4 but has the tools to develop into more of a 3. Excellent rebounder and shot blocker who showed how he became Stanford All-Time leader in blocks. Showed a nice 1-dribble pull-up but shooting was inconsistent. Struggled to keep SG’s in front of him, but showed he could defend in the paint.
Shawn Glover (F, 6’7”, Oral Roberts)
Terrific overall scorer who can score both at the basket and on the perimeter. Solid athlete who did the little things well. Shot is a little slow and his midrange is better than his 3 at this point.
Drew Crawford (W, 6’5”, Northwestern)
Versatile player who defends and scorers. Shot release and form reminds me a little of Harrison Barnes. Can score in bunches. 3 pointer is streaky.
Javon McCrea (F, 6’7”, Buffalo)
One of the most physically dominant players in attendance. McCrea is a bit undersized height wise for the PF position but he showed the ability to rebound at a high rate and embraced the physical play inside that the P.I.T allows. Defended and protected the paint. Showed the ability to put ball on floor for one dribble in a straight line drive. Hit multiple elbow jumpers throughout the 3 games but shot has hitch, gets little elevation, and shooting motion is at side of the head, which lead to major inconsistencies. Needs to continue to improve perimeter skills so he can make move to the SF, but overall the Mid-American POY had an excellent showing.
Isaiah Armwood (F, 6’9”, George Washington)
I thought Armwood was the best player on his team and one of the top rebounders at the event. Big time athlete who needs to add more strength in lower body. Struggled shooting the 3 but hit a couple of midrange jumpers in game 3.
Akil Mitchell (F, 6’8”, Virginia)
One of my favorite players at the event. Excellent defender who not only showed that he can block shots and play physical and tough inside but also showed he could defend guards adequately at the end of the shot clock on the perimeter. Gives 100% effort and energy on the floor and plays with passion. Tremendous rebounder. Showed he could face up and score the ball. Did some things that we did not see him do at UVA in the post. Love his demeanor and attitude. Struggles to go left and needs to continue to get stronger but his play this week may have garnered him an NBA roster spot.
Richard Solomon (C, 6’10”, California)
Big time rebounder on both ends who uses both his excellent wingspan and athleticism to keep the ball alive. Had numerous rim shaking dunks- tries to dunk everything. Runs the floor very well. Needs to get stronger especially in lower body. Is a tweener between the 4 and the 5 position. Rushed his shot a bit from 15’ but form looked solid. Showed the ability to hedge screens but is foul prone down low in paint. Loved his motor and activity throughout. The D- League should definitely be an option.
Shawn Jones (PF, 6’8”, Middle Tenn)
The Conference USA POY was one of the top shot blockers this year using excellent timing, solid athleticism, and activity from the weak side to protect the rim. The lefty showed the ability to knock down the trailing 15’ and was all over the boards. Is he willing to come out on perimeter to guard Pick and Pop? One of the more impressive bigs this week.
Davante Gardner (F, 6’8”, Marquette)
Was consistent all week on the glass and getting clean up points. Fluid and moves very well for size (290 lbs). Showed he could hit the midrange set shot and also showed patience and the ability to score in the post. Uses size and strength to his advantage- gets deep inside position and gets excellent rebounding position. Needs to improve positioning and he is a tweener. Body reminds me of Herb Pope who played at the PIT a couple of years ago and offensively he is similar to Zach Randolph. Go to move in post is spin move. His play this week earned him the MVP at the event.
Shayne Whittington (C, 6’11”, Western Michigan)
Showed the ability all week to stretch the floor out to the NBA 3-point line. Excellent movement- does not move like he is 6’11”. Settled for too many perimeter shots even though he hit a decent amount and lacks a true post move. Defended well and had a good overall showing.
Okaro White (F, 6’9”, Florida State)
Terrific athlete who is active and has a high motor. Runs the floor like a deer and did an excellent job on the defensive end. Needs to continue to add strength. Scrappy player who is quick on his feet. Shot is slow and he struggled to hit NBA 3 but stroke looked decent. I could see him playing in the D-League this year and getting a call up at some point.
Ronald Roberts (SF/PF, 6’8”, Saint Josephs)
An undersized 4 man who played both the 3 and the 4 at the PIT. Big time explosive athlete. Was aggressive scoring the basketball. Defends and rebounds well but needs to improve skill level.
Want more basketball scouting insight? Follow James Blackburn on Twitter, right now!