2009 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament: Day 1
By Borko_Popic, NBADraft.net
Thu, 04/09/2009 - 2:01am
The Pre-Draft Season has officially kicked off with the start of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. With the changes made to the Pre-Draft Camp format as well as the tough economic times, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this draft. As a result there is much on the line for these seniors because it may be their last chance to show their game in front of scouts and the likes.
Looking at the rosters from today and comparing them to those released last week, some of the bigger names are missing. The biggest being Sam Young (he is the only one that is likely to end up in the 1st round). The other include AJ Price, Jeff Adrien, Jeff Pendergraph, Dominic James and Robert Dozier. Some of these guys went deep into the tournament, so fatigue could be a factor, for others they may feel that they have shown enough as of late that they shouldn’t risk hurting their stock at PIT. With all that said, it will definitely be interesting to see in what way and how much this choice affects them.
Other guys that never committed to coming but possibly should have considered it: Toney Douglas, Lester Hudson, Jerel McNeal, Josh Heytvelt, and Jeremy Pargo.
Sales System LTD 70 – K&D Round’s Landscaping 63
Traditionally the first game has always been an ugly one and tonight proved to be no different. Neither team was able to find their rhythm and they combined to shoot an abysmal 35% from the field. K&D led by 11 at half, but shooting 9-39 in the second half from the field allowed Sales System to come back and win the game.
Courtney Fells (22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4/5 3FG)
In a very poorly played game, Fells was one of the few bright spots. He got his rhythm going early and he drained a variety of shots all night. He was able to hit spot ups, dribble jumpers, as well as shots coming off screens. His stroke is very smooth, he gets good elevation and his release is high, making it very difficult to contest. Being in a comfort zone, he looked very poised, not forcing much (unlike almost everyone else), he was able to not only get his own shot, but he found open teammates. He showed his range finishing 4 for 5 from beyond the NBA 3, even converting on a couple with a hand in his face. Physically he is skinny and needs to put on more muscle; he is listed at 6-6 but may be slightly shorter, although his nice wingspan makes up for it. Continuing to show he can make shots from the outside as well as get to the hoop will be the key for Fells in the next few days.
Marcus Cousin (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks)
Playing only 22 minutes, Cousin was able to show some very intriguing things. He might be close to 6’11 and he has a nicely defined body to go with it. Putting his athleticism and aggressiveness on display, he made some energy plays in the paint, including a couple putbacks. Most impressive was his shooting touch from about 15 feet where he knocked down two spot jumpers. He is still very raw and he did not show much in terms of his back to the basket repertoire, however, with more playing time he may emerge as one of the more intriguing big men this week.
Diamon Simpson (15 points, 15 rebounds, 4 steals)
Simpson is the type of player that seems to thrive in this kind of setting. He does not need many touches or plays called for him to be effective. As an energy player who has a good feel for the game, he finds himself in the right spots to make plays. His length and anticipation give him a great advantage on the offensive glass and in the passing lanes. While his stat line is definitely impressive, he did not show much in terms of NBA potential. He does not have a clear position, his outside shot is very questionable and he is limited off the dribble. He style is very similar to Mark Tyndale and Kyle Hines, both of whom had very good camps last year, but never heard their names called.
Paul Delaney (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists)
He came out gunning and was not shy about putting up shots, but what separated him is the fact that he did most of his work going to the basket. He was easily one of the more aggressive players, which is seen by his 10 FT attempts. Even though his handle is kind of shaky, he was still able to get into the lane consistently. With all that said, as a prospect he leaves much to be desired. His release is very inconsistent because of an awkward hitch. He is essentially a 6’2 SG, with subpar handles, and a very questionable shot.
Notes: Stefon Jackson finished the night 2-10 from the field and looked very nervous. He continuously forced his midrange pull up, and although it looks very smooth, it simply was not there for him. Same can be said for Jimmy Baron and Kyle McLarney, who combined for 5 for 26 from the field (4/19 from 3pt).
Portsmouth Partnership 90 – Tidewater Sealants 80
The 2nd game was a bit better played, but not because of more ball movement, rather the guys just shot the ball more consistently. Portsmouth Partnership took a one point lead at half and they were able to stretch it to ten and never looked back.
AD Vassallo (21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3/6 3FG)
He displayed his smooth jumpshot in a variety of ways: pull ups off screens and spot ups. Most impressive was his ability to get into the lane. Using effective shot fakes, he was able to get defenders off balance before going by them. Although he converted on a high clip of his drives, the finishes leave a lot to be desired. He is not very athletic, and he finesses the ball in with little flip shots rather than taking it strong. All in all, he had the best performance of the night- he did not force too much and his team ended up winning the game, earning him the NBADraft.net Player of the Day.
Josh Akognon (16 points, 6 assists, 4/5 3FG)
Akognon had a performance that is very much in line with what has become the norm for him. His outside shot was simply on point, hitting long range bombs with people in his face. His open court speed was unmatched, and he was also able to use his quickness to turn the corner and get to the hoop. His handles are very solid and he uses a variety of hesitation and crossover moves to get by defenses. In the half court he was able to make some nice reads in the pick and roll and find open teammates either on the roll or on the weakside. However, in between all of these bright spots, comes the out-of-control and shoot-first mentality that we have seen from him all season. He tends to over-dribble and he also likes to look for his shot too frequently, rather than setting up teammates. In transition he looks to make the spectacular player rather than the right one. For a player his size he will need to become a more controlled lead guard, who is dedicated to setting up his teammates consistently.
DeMarre Carroll (18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks)
He was very active around the basket and played with high energy on both ends of the floor. His decent touch was on display as he hit a few spot ups and fadeaways, he was also able to put the ball on the deck and get by his defender. He will need to show more of his scoring repertoire, especially with his back to the basket if he is to boost his stock.
Micah Downs (8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2/3 3FG)
Not a very dominating performance, but Downs was able to show his great feel for the game on both ends of the floor. He has a great sense of where the ball is going, and he anticipates extremely well on the glass and in the passing lanes. His game is very smooth, his outside shot is one of the most textbook at camp and he is proving that he can convert at a high clip. His main problem is that he is incredibly light, which hurts him substantially when attacking off the dribble, as defenders can easily body him out of driving lanes.
Notes: Robert Vaden was fairly disappointing, he left most of his shots short which could be a result of his offbalance release. He struggles off the dribble, allowing defenders to close out more aggressively. Aaron Jackson had some hype going into the camp, but his first game was nothing to write home about. His explosiveness is only decent, and he seems more focused on throwing a behind the back pass rather than completing a simple one. He seems to be going at full throttle at all times which hurts his decision making ability. Most worrisome is his off the shoulder shot, which he is very reluctant to put up…understandably.