April 12, 2012
By Joe Kotoch
The 60th Annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament kicked off at the Churchland High School Gymnasium yesterday. The crowd in attendance was mostly agents, locals, and family and friends of the those who were invited to participate in the tournament. In other sections were national media personalities and NBA and international executives their to scout the best seniors in America. While Daryl Morey and Mitch Kupchak were some of the more visible NBA people all those in attendance for work got to see some interesting games and intriguing matchups.
While most of the players participating in Portsmouth will never get any closer to the their dream of playing in the NBA several players took advantage to break out on the biggest stage they have ever been on. One game certainly does not make a star but for many of these fringe prospects this is a opportunity to showcase their abilities or a particular skill in hopes that it translate to a role on a NBA team.
Mitchell Watt, F, Buffalo - The MAC star had a huge game blocking 7 shots in a loss but adding 11 points and 8 rebounds. Watt showed the ability to alter shots against good competition, which was a question many had. Offensively, he was comfortable with put-backs and even facing up, going 1-3 from beyond the arc. No question Watt really helped himself with that performance.
Kevin Murphy, G, Tennessee Tech - Murphy was the player of the game last night in his team's win. Scoring 27 points in 29 minutes on 11-14 from the field, including hitting his only two 3-point attempts, Murphy displayed a scorer's instinct and prowess that is always needed in the NBA. Already lengthy at 6'7" for a SG Murphy will be one to watch the rest of the tournament.
Kyle O'Quinn, F, Norfolk State - O'Quinn was a fan favorite having attended a local college. Having already burst onto the national scene in leading Norfolk to its surprise win over Missouri in the NCAA Tournament, O'Quinn followed that up win a workman like performance at Portsmouth putting up 18 points and 12 rebounds with 4 blocks in 32 minutes.
Augustus Gilchrist, F, South Florida - Gilchrist had his hands full defensively with O'Quinn and Henry Sims but held his own and chipped in 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks. While his team lost Gilchrist stepped up his play and combined with his natural abilities and size will be an interesting prospect to watch heading into the pre-draft season.
Jason Clark, G, Georgetown - Clark is one of the more familiar prospects at Portsmouth having started for Georgetown but still was efficient 5-7 from the field for 13 points and grabbed an impressive 6 defensive rebounds. Clark's role was more as a glue-guy and he filled that role perfectly.
Larry Anderson, G, Long Beach State - While his college teammate Casper Ware garners most of the attention and accolades Anderson was brilliant in 22 minutes leading his team to a win. Anderson was 5-8 from the field for 14 points, 7 assists, with 4 rebounds and 1 steal. Considering the struggles of his teammate, Jordan Taylor, in running the offense Anderson absolutely elevated his stock.
LaRon Dendy, F, Middle Tennessee State - In 28 minutes Dendy chipped in 15 points and was able to get to the line a few times. Dendy needs to show at Portsmouth his ability to compete against equal competition as he often was not challenged in college. While his rebounding total was paltry Dendy displayed a versatile offensive array.
Zack Rosen, G, Pennsylvania - Rosen's stat line might not show his impact but watching him play definitely reinforced what many already thought about his game, this kid can play. Rosen had only 4 points in 24 minutes but was facilitating the offense and added 6 assists, 2 steals, with 1 block and 1 rebound. Rosen was very active and clearly playing inspired basketball. Will be an interesting name to watch with Jeremy Lin's success opening a path for Ivy Leaguers.
Rakim Sanders, F, Fairfield - Sanders was another prospect taking advantage of being on a bigger stage to impress scouts. In 29 minutes off the bench Sanders added 14 points and 8 rebounds. It was apparent from the onset that Sanders is an active body that crashes the lane impressively for a player of his size.
Erving Walker, G, Florida - Watching Walker for 4 years in Gainesville was very frustrating because he was a high-volume shooter that was too streaky at times. Despite Walker being undersized he was not bashful about shooting. While Walker's team won, he was just 3-11 from the field including 0-5 from beyond the arc and also had 4 turnovers. For a player needing to overcome doubts about his size this was not a good showing.
Jordan Taylor, G, Wisconsin - Taylor was the best player on one of the best teams in the one of the best conferences in America and yet was outshined by low-level prospects. Going 4-12 from the field, 0-3 on 3-pointers, and adding 5 turnovers reflected poorly on Taylor who finished with 10 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. More is expected from Taylor and he would be wise to step it up right now.
Alex Young, G, IUPUI - Having averaged over 20 points per game this season there was no question Young can score, however, after his first game he showed poor shot selection and failed to do much of anything else in his teams loss. 9 points on 3-12 shooting is not the way to the NBA.
Cameron Moore, F, UAB - For Moore what was so disappointing was the shot selection on his way to 4-12 shooting. Despite adding 9 rebounds, including 4 on the offensive glass, Moore never got to the line and failed to make his length a factor. For someone fighting to a shot this was not the type of performance that will impress scouts.
Jarrod Jones, F, Ball State - Jones had his moments snagging 11 rebounds including 5 on the offensive end and having 3 steals but shot only 3-10 from the field and had foul trouble.
Wendall McKines, F, New Mexico State - McKines had a nice stat line of 16 points and 10 boards in 24 minutes but shot a game-high 18 times and needs to be more disciplined when shooting.
Eli Holman, F Detroit - Holman needed to shine and failed to do so but still did some positives in his Portsmouth debut. While contributing 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks Holman also seemed affected by longer opponents, going 4-13 from the field, and struggled with foul trouble.