By Alex West

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is over, but some of the 64 seniors who came out to play made a big impression on NBA and international scouts over the four days.

Most NBA people I talked to said that this was the most talented field they had ever seen in Portsmouth, which is quite a feat considering six players from last year’s tournament were selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. Naturally, the success of last year’s field was an encouraging sign for many players who were hoping to snag an invite to the Combine next month. So it stands to reason, if this the best field, more of these players would play in the NBA than in any previous tournament.

But who will make NBA rosters next season? Here are seven players who have the skills and the resumes to do just that:

Jaylen Barford, Guard, Arkansas

Jaylen Barford was a revelation for me. I had seen the Arkansas Razorback senior play a few times during the season and his physicality had always stuck with me, but seeing him in person took that to another level. Barford is built like a halfback and uses his athleticism and strength to get to the rim, even through contact. He is a great shooter who can knock down NBA-range threes, even off the dribble. Most teams are no doubt aware of what the 6’3 202-pound point guard will bring to the table, but after averaging 19.3 points per game and bringing home the tournament MVP, he is likely getting a second evaluation from many teams who need a strong, high-energy scoring guard to bolster their bench.

Kendrick Nunn, Guard, Oakland

Kendrick Nunn had one goal in mind for the PIT, show scouts he was a scorer who lived up to his reputation. And after averaging a tournament-high 20.7 points per game, he seems to have done just that. Nunn’s performance had everyone in Portsmouth buzzing and a few scouts I talked to even said Nunn might be worthy of a mid- to late-second round selection, and would 100% be on a Summer League roster this July. One of the big weaknesses in his game was his defensive effort (which could be downright lackadaisical at times during his senior season in Oakland), but he was locked in and showed some nice perimeter defense, even creating a few steals. He will likely receive a Combine invite, which will only strengthen his stock heading into the draft.

Kenrich Williams, Wing, TCU

Prior to coming to Portsmouth, Kenrich Williams was already making appearances as a second-round selection on a lot of mock draft boards. After a bit of a slow start in his first game, he played well averaging seven points and eight rebounds, although he was probably a lock to attend the combine no matter what his showing was at the PIT. He is a tweener who can guard two to four (he registered two steals per game during the tournament) and will be a potent rebounder and three-point shooter, as well as a threat in transition.With a strong combine showing, it is entirely possible that he can play his way into the early second round.   

Jeffrey Carroll, Wing, Oklahoma St.

Jeffrey Carroll knows how to play basketball; he has a high IQ and always puts himself in good position on both sides of the ball. This knack for being in the right place at the right time was really on display this week as Carroll proved himself to be a potent transition scorer, filling the lanes and knocking down threes for his team. He is a solid team defender with an NBA ready body who has shown he can play well as a part of a system and is a reliable shooter who moves well without the basketball. Seniors like Damyean Dotson and Josh Hart earned their playing time for similar reasons and there is no major hurdle for Carrol to clear to find himself in the same successful situation.   

Gary Clark, Forward, Cincinnati

Gary Clark is in a similar boat to Kenrich Williams in that he has already shown up in a number of mock drafts. While his PIT showing wasn’t spectacular, the former Cincinnati Bearcat forward and AAC Player of the Year has a substantial resume as a quality player, leading the NCAA in Box Plus/Minus and Win Shares per 40 minutes. He is a proven shot blocker, although his length may prove to be a weakness in the NBA and a hard-nosed rebounder who can serve as a rim protector and small ball defensive workhorse.

Justin Tillman, Forward, VCU

Justin Tillman is a throwback center who LOVES to show his toughness around the basket, both as a scorer and rebounder, averaging 18.3 points and 13 rebounds per game at the PIT. He showed a nice touch with both hands (particularly a very nice righty baby hook, which was his go-to move) as well as an advanced understanding of using his frame to create space. He isn’t an overwhelming athlete and at only 6’7 he might struggle to function as a fulltime five, making it hard to nail down where he will fit best. But his high motor and general grittiness will be hard to overlook for teams who are looking for a forward who can play in the low post.

Kyle Washington, Forward, Cincinnati

Like his Cincinnati teammate Gary Clark, Kyle Washington is a quality defender who is a threat to block shots all over the court. While he picked up a few early fouls in games this past week, he was still was effective in getting a hand on several attempts as well as altering several more. He also showed an impressive offensive game, averaging 16.7 points per game and knocking down three triples to go along with his 10.7 rebound per game, making him an enticing combo forward who can protect the rim in small lineups. But Washington is EXTREMELY left-hand-dominant and will need to develop even a rudimentary ability to score with his right or opponents will force him away from his dominant hand.


By Alex West

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is just around the corner. Over the past few seasons, players such as Robert Covington, Pat Connaughton, Royce O’Neal, Josh Huestis, Bryn Forbes (which is to say, players who will be contributing significant minutes during the playoffs) have all cut their teeth in Southeast Virginia.

The tournament, with invitations extended to seniors only, gives scouts an opportunity to have a final look at some prospects before the draft process begins in earnest with the NBA Combine next month. A few players from this year’s list have already crept onto Mock Drafts the web over, and are looking to cement a higher selection; others hope to show they have the skill to make it onto a Big Board. Here’s who to watch for, when the tournament kicks off next Wednesday:

Keenan Evans, G, Texas Tech

The Red Raiders made a deep postseason run this year and Evans was a huge reason why, averaging 18.5 points on 43.5 percent shooting (38.5 percent from three-point range). He is a shot-maker who isn’t afraid of the big stage, perfect for a team looking for a spark plug for their second unit. He is extremely adept at drawing fouls, getting to the line 241 times this season (6.7 attempts per game, 18th in the NCAA) and is a maestro scoring out of the pick-and-roll (1.134 points per possession, 97th percentile).

Despite running the offense for most of his junior and senior seasons, he only averages 3.2 assists per game, prefering to get the job done himself in most situations. He will need to show his ability to control the flow of the game and set the table for others to truly catch on in the NBA. He also had an injury toe that plagued him for much of Big 12 conference play. The full extent of the injury is unknown, but sources close to the situation revealed after the tournament loss the toe was broken ( The accident injury help from an expert from Mike G Law was needed. While the situation might be well in hand, lower body injury concerns are always red flags for NBA teams. And they try to hire best Ithaca Lawyers, to make all necessary procedures to protect themselves form some bad career effects.

Jaylen Adams, G, St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams might not be a household name for casual college basketball watchers, but the Atlantic 10 co-Player of the Year made fans sit up and take notice with his scoring barrage during conference play this season. The point guard poured in 21.2 points per game and posted an impressive 123.9 offensive rating while shooting an impressive 43.6 percent from three on 6.1 attempts per game. He is an elite tier spot-up shooter (1.333ppp 98th percentile) and is proficient pushing the ball in transition (ranking in the 91st percentile in points plus assists at 1.553), both skills that can make him a valuable contributor at the next level.

But Adams has a high hurdle to overcome, or perhaps I should say a height hurdle. Standing only 6’1” and lacking elite athleticism will make NBA life tough for the Bonnies’ star. He will need to showcase his ability to defend larger players as well as run a pick-roll-offense with lengthy defenders in his face to find a coveted backup point guard role.

Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati

The 2018 AAC Player of the Year, Gary Clark has an NBA-ready skill set. He can shoot threes, play defense, protect the rim, and run the floor making him an ideal small ball four (or super small ball five). This season, he averaged 12.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assist to go with 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks and lead the Bearcats to a two-seed before their unceremonious Round of 32 exit against a frisky Nevada squad. Clark is incredibly effective in transition (1.388 ppp, 93rd percentile) and can give his team a boost in second-chance buckets (1.34 ppp, 85th percentile), two underrated areas for bench players to contribute. He is also an advanced stats darling, leading the nation in defensive rating (81.6), defensive win shares (3.5), and box plus/minus (15.5).

The real issue for Clark is his lack of a defined position. He has the body of an NBA three and the skill set of a four or five, making it difficult for the 6’7” forward to make a strong case for a high draft position. However, with the success of players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (another 6’7” hustler for the Brooklyn Nets) playing both forward positions, he may find a successful niche because of his high-energy play style and defensive versatility.

Zach Smith, F, Texas Tech

Another Red Raider making the list, Zach Smith might be best known for his insane, SportsCenter-leading dunks:

And with good reason. The 6’8” power forward can jump out of the gym and is a legitimate threat to put opposing players on a poster both in transition and in the halfcourt. A broken foot cost Smith much of his senior season, but he was an effective defender, allowing only 98 points on 125 possessions (0.784 ppp, 76th percentile) this year. If he can continue to defend this well, especially in isolations against other forwards, and can continue to run the floor as a threat in transition, he will find a place as a rim-runner.

The obvious concern with Smith stems from the foot injury which sidelined him for a good portion of January and February. He is an incredible leaper and foot concerns have robbed highlight real dunkers of their lift since time immemorial. He looked fine for Texas Tech to finish out the season and a strong showing at the PIT might give NBA teams a lot of hope for the future.

Kenrich Williams, F, TCU

In his senior season at Texas Christian, something unlocked for Kenrich Williams: his passing vision. He was always a decent passer for a wing, but this season he has made that a central part of his resume, tallying an impressive 3.9 per game. He spent a lot of time initiating the offense at the top of the key and created looks the way a point guard would, by dragging defenders toward him using the dribble. He has a very high IQ, finding cutters and shooters all over the floor, and can even run a pick-and-roll as the ball handler. On top of his ability to initiate, he is also a tenacious rebounder at a 15.7 percent rate, better than probably top five selection, Jaren Jackson Jr.

While he can do a great many of things on the basketball court, Williams is not a great scorer in his own right. He will have to rely on his spot up shooting ability (39.5 percent from three on 3.6 attempts) and his offensive rebounding (2.8 per game) to get points. He is also one of the older prospects in this draft, turning 24 early in his rookie season. Teams might shy away from his unique skill set in favor of a younger, more malleable prospect.

Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

By James Blackburn


For the 6th straight year, I was able to attend the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, VA (commonly known as the PIT). The overall field of players was one of the best I had seen in recent memory. Once again nearly every NBA team has personnel on hand to scout the action, in addition to multiple D-League and overseas teams. AJ English from Iona was crowned MVP after helping lead Roger Browns Restaurant team to win the championship. Below I have put together my All-Tournament team with brief reports beside each player. I also did some reports of other standout players.


All-Tournament Team

MVP : AJ English, G, 6’4”, Iona

Fluid and smooth PG can can create his own shot as well as making plays for others. Terrific ball handler and 3 pt shooter. Showed a nice floater too. Dont be surprised if English is on an opening day NBA roster.

Isaiah Cousins, G, 6’4”, Oklahoma

Solid player on both sides of the floor. Natural scorer who also did a nice job of playing some PG this tournament. Good shooter from both the 3 and mid-range. I can see him landing on an NBA roster this year.

Abdel Nader, F, 6’6”, Iowa State

Smooth and athletic wing who can score from all 3 areas. Had his best performance in day 1. I expect to see him getting good minutes in the D-League next season.

Thomas Walkup, G, 6’4”, Stephen F Austin

This kid does all the little things and is a winner. Helped lead his club to the championship. Unselfish player who did a nice job making plays for others. Strong slasher who can also hit the 3.

Ryan Anderson, F, 6’9”, Arizona

Had a terrific week and would of been my 2nd choice for the MVP award. Skilled and athletic big who is at his best 18′ and in. Uses angles well and understands different ways to score without being a shooting threat from the perimeter. Good rebounder and was able to finish with either hand. I would give a serious look at him for the next level, and I believe he will play some NBA games next season.

Isaiah Miles, F, 6’7”, Saint Joseph’s

Was 2nd in the tournament in scoring per game (19 ppg). Jump shot looked good all week and has a quick release especially for someone his size. Has good length. Should be a solid D-League guy.

Dorian Finney-Smith, F, 6’8”, Florida

Athletic wing who shoots a straight ball from the 3 pt line. Played excellent in 2 out of the 3 games. Can rebound the ball and advance it with the dribble. Underrated  passer who could find his way onto an NBA roster next season.

Bryn Forbes, G, 6’3”, Michigan State

Led the tournament in scoring. Possibly best shooter there who was not shy about putting up shots.

Melvin Johnson, G, 6’4”, VCU

Had a solid overall tournament. Played mostly on the ball and had some nice reads out of the PnR. Has a scoring mentality and was one of the top 3 pt shooters at the PIT.


Other Standouts

Nathan Boothe, F, 6’9”, Toledo

Nathan was solid all 3 games, with his best performance in game 1. He showed he could hit the NBA 3 off the pick and pop. Showed some good patience in the post. Rebounding and athleticism are his biggest question marks.

Michael Carrera, F, 6’5”, South Carolina

Hardest working player at the PIT this year. Love his motor, aggressiveness, and hustle. Coaches dream. Terrific defender both on and off the ball. Showed he could hit open 3.

Jameel McKay, F, 6’9”, Iowa State

Probably  led the tournament in dunks– shot over 56 % from the field for the week. Has a good motor and uses it on both ends. Overall offense is still a little raw but would be a good pickup for an overseas team who can take 3-5 Americans.

Egidijus Mockevicius, C, 6’10”, Evansville

Highly efficient skilled big who did a great job on the glass all week. Showed he can hit the mid-range open shot as well.

Gabe York, G, 6’3”, Arizona

Looked comfortable in the PnR. Tremendous on- ball defender. Is tough and competes. Can create his own shot at the end of the clock situations.

James Kelly, F, 6’8”, Marshall

Looked good all week and showed good energy on the boards and on defense. Didnt settle for many outside shots and was able to use his size and athleticism to get to the rim.

Trey Freeman, G, 6’2”, ODU

Overall had a very solid week and was one of the top 3 players in assists per game. Showed he could get his mid-range shot off against elite athletes and he took care of the ball as the PG. Definitely helped himself.

Mike Tobey, C, 7’0”, Virginia

Coming in Ill be honest, I didnt expect a lot out of Tobey, but after watching him play 3 games, I came away impressed. He might of helped himself as much as or more then anyone here. Showed he could hit the perimeter shot, rebound the ball on both ends, and defend without fouling. He didnt play outside his capabilities and was solid all 3 games.

Angel Rodriguez, G, 5’11”, Miami

Tough guard who uses screens very well. Gets others involved and is a solid on-ball defender. Needs to continue to improve his 3 point shot out to NBA range.

Alex Caruso, G, 6’5”, Texas A & M

High IQ player who did a nice job playing the PG position all week. Highly unselfish. Used his height and length to bother opposing guards.

Matt Costello, F, 6’9”, Michigan St

Smart player who knows how to set screens and what to do afterwards. Solid pick and pop shooter. Excellent rebounder. Wouldnt surprise me if he played a few NBA games next season from a 10 day.

Marcus Georges- Hunt, G, 6’5”, Georgia Tech

Underrated player but did a lot of good things. Good size and strength for a wing. Can hit the NBA 3 and finish in transition.

Andrew Andrews, G, 6’2”, Washington

Strong scoring combo guard who can create his own shot. Would be a perfect player for most European leagues.


Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

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. 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.

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PIT 2013

By James Blackburn

64 of the top college seniors in the nation converged in Portsmouth, VA to showcase their skills in front of hundreds of scouts, international teams, and agents this past week. Here are my All-Tournament teams which I based solely on the players performance in the tournament games (Teams were not based on pro potential or players performance during season). Each team consists of two backcourt players and three front court players.

1st Team
G- DJ Cooper- Ohio University
G- Durand Scott- Miami
F- Brandon Davies- BYU
F- Jamelle Hagins- Delaware
F- Jack Cooley- Notre Dame

2nd Team
G- Mark Lyons- Arizona
G- Tyler Brown- Illinois State
F- Dwayne Davis- Southern Mississippi
F- Carl Hall- Wichita State
F- Robert Covington- Tennessee State

3rd Team
G- Ian Clark- Belmont
G- Ramon Galloway- LaSalle
F- Ed Daniel- Murray State
F- Keith Clanton- Central Florida
F- Devin Booker- Clemson