Projected Invites, 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Projected Invites, 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament
Mar 09, 2011, 01:13 am
With the 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament only a month away, it's time to take an in-depth look at this year's NCAA senior class and figure out what the field might look like.

The PIT will be held, as always, immediately after the NCAA Final Four in Portsmouth, Virginia. Besides being well attended by NBA executives, the invitational is also a popular destination for European teams. It's a great place for them to get a first look at some of the best American players who might be starring in their leagues over the next few years.

If you've ever wondered what it would look like if virtually every NBA team personnel member, agent and runner in America came together in a tiny high school gym for four days, this is your spot.

The organizers attempt to assemble the 64 best NCAA senior draft prospects in the country for an 8-team, 12-game tournament held over a four-day period. The 59th edition of the tournament will be conducted this year from April 6th to April 9th.

You can find the official website of the PIT here.

Since the NBA has decided to continue with a “combine” format (May 18-22 in Chicago with media days on May 19-20, according to NBA Senior Vice President, Basketball Communications Tim Frank), instead of having prospects work out in a competitive 5-on-5 setting like they used to in the NBA pre-draft camp days, an event like Portsmouth is the only significant way a prospect can help his draft stock outside of impressing teams in individual workouts.

Unfortunately, due to financial reasons, NBA teams seem to have cut back on the number of private workouts the conduct in the months of June and July, focusing more on “group workouts,” like we saw in New Jersey and Minnesota last year. We expect that trend to increase once again.

With the status of the Vegas Summer League still up in the air, the PIT could hold greater importance than usual for both NBA and international teams. Due to the impending lockout, there won't be many opportunities to evaluate a large group of prospects in a convenient setting such as Portsmouth this year.

In years past, seniors could elect to skip the PIT in hopes of receiving an invite to the more prestigious NBA Pre-Draft camp. Since shifting to the “NBA Combine” format, however, the NBA has decreased the number of overall players invited to Chicago and put a bigger emphasis on securing the attendance of lottery prospects , even if only for the purpose of conducting athletic tests, measurements and interviews, (both for NBA teams and media)— which wasn't always the case in years past.

Fifteen of the 53 players invited to the NBA Combine last year were seniors, down from 19 in 2009. It will be interesting to see how the widely anticipated lockout will affect this year's crop, as a large number of underclassmen electing to return to school would likely cause more seniors to be invited to the Combine (and ultimately be drafted) in their place.

Unfortunately for Portsmouth, the NBA only elected to invite one player from its tournament to the Combine last year: Mikhail Torrance. As we pointed out at the time, electing to reward players who declined their Portsmouth invite by bringing them to the Combine (and removing the element of “playing your way into Chicago” for PIT standouts) probably doesn't send the best message to players (and their agents) about the benefits of attending and being evaluated by NBA teams at the all-senior draft camp.

The problem is that many seniors who decided not to participate at Portsmouth also weren't invited to Chicago, such as Brian Zoubek, Matt Bouldin, Dwayne Collins (eventually drafted 60th overall), Omar Samhan, Jerome Dyson, Scottie Reynolds, Arinze Onuaku and Magnum Rolle (drafted 51st) — meaning not attending the PIT also carries a certain amount of risk.

Ultimately, it may not even matter. Luck (or fate?) appears to play just as big a part in the draft process as anything else. Last year, Landry Fields attended the PIT but was not invited to Chicago. Now he's one of the best rookies in the NBA. Jeremy Evans, on the other hand, wasn't invited to Portsmouth or the NBA Combine but was drafted and continues to cash checks from the Utah Jazz on the 1st and 15th of every month.

The list of current NBA players who played at Portsmouth is fairly solid, proving that NBA scouts can find good prospects if they look hard enough. That list includes the likes of Wesley Matthews, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Jose Juan Barea, Derek Fisher, Ben Wallace, James Jones, Matt Barnes, John Salmons, Jason Maxiell, Jon Brockman, Jermaine Taylor and DeMarre Carroll, amongst others.

While debates about the value of Portsmouth, the format of the event and whether top senior prospects should attend continue to rage, NBA teams will still make the trek to Southern Virginia, and players will continue to emerge from here and make NBA rosters year after year.

How to make the PIT more worthwhile is something NBA teams and the League itself will need to discuss and act upon internally, but it's clear that this remains an event that anyone who is serious about the NBA draft process must attend.

Notes on Our Suggested List:

-This is not the official list made by the committee. It's a list of our own personal suggestions and observations about who will (and who should) be invited, based on the games we've watched this year and the conversations we've had with NBA personnel.

This is going to be the eighth draft we've covered, making this group of seniors the most watched class by DraftExpress ever. Many of these players are guys we started watching in high school.

• The official list should come out about four or five days before the tournament kicks off. There are still a number of roster spots left to be filled, according to the PIT.

Expected to Decline Invites:

Historically, there are approximately 20 seniors each year who either decline their invitation early on (which is their right) or cancel at the last minute – something no one likes to see because of the unnecessary hassles and expenses involved.

It's often debated how much it helps or hurts a prospect to participate but declined invites happen regardless. This is something we've accounted for in our own projection by dropping the top 15 seniors from the list, thereby creating spots for players who will likely value (and benefit more from) the exposure of this event. Here are the top 15 players currently residing on our NCAA senior rankings.

Jimmer Fredette PG, 6' 2", BYU
Nolan Smith PG/SG, 6' 3", Duke
Justin Harper PF, 6' 10", Richmond
Kenneth Faried PF, 6' 8", Morehead State
Demetri McCamey PG, 6' 3", Illinois
Kyle Singler SF/PF, 6' 9", Duke
JaJuan Johnson PF, 6' 10", Purdue
Keith Benson PF/C, 6' 11", Oakland
E'Twaun Moore SG, 6' 4", Purdue
David Lighty SG, 6' 5", Ohio State
Justin Holiday SG/SF, 6' 6", Washington
Marshon Brooks SG, 6' 5", Providence
Charles Jenkins PG/SG, 6' 3", Hofstra
Rick Jackson PF/C, 6' 9", Syracuse
Jon Leuer PF, 6' 10", Wisconsin

Projected Invites

Since we are ranking the best senior draft prospects, and not necessarily the best seniors, NBA upside is valued over production at times. Ideally we like to see both from a player, but someone who has NBA-caliber size and athleticism for his position demonstrates a coveted skill set , even inconsistently, and appears to have upside to continue to improve, will often garner an invite to see what they can do in a new setting against better competition.

• The pool of players was distributed into four categories, according to position.

Big Men:

1. Jarrid Famous C, 6' 11", South Florida
2. Jerai Grant PF, 6' 8", Clemson
3. Denzel Bowles PF, 6' 10", James Madison
4. Lavoy Allen PF, 6' 9", Temple
5. George Odufuwa PF/C, 6' 8", North Texas
6. Dallas Lauderdale PF, 6' 8", Ohio State
7. Sam Muldrow PF, 6' 9", South Carolina
8. Delvon Johnson PF/C, 6' 9", Arkansas
9. Tracy Smith PF, 6' 8", N.C, State
10. Will Coleman PF/C, 6' 9", Memphis
11. Vernon Macklin PF, Senior, 6' 9", Florida
12. Gary McGhee C, 6' 11", Pittsburgh
13. Papa Dia PF, 6' 9", SMU
14. Brian Qvale C, 6' 11" Montana
15. Mike Davis PF/C, 6' 9", Illinois
16. Matt Howard PF, 6' 8", Butler
17. Adnan Hodzic C, 6' 9", Lipscomb
18. Jamie Skeen PF, 6' 8", VCU
19. Curtis Kelly PF, 6' 8", Kansas State
20. Josh Harrellson C, 6' 10”, Kentucky


1. Damian Saunders SF/PF, 6' 7", Duquesne
2. Gary Flowers PF, 6' 8", Southern Miss
3. Chandler Parsons SF/PF, 6' 9", Florida
4. Chris Wright SF/PF, 6' 8", Dayton
5. Jimmy Butler PF, 6' 7", Marquette
6. Matthew Bryan-Amaning PF, 6' 9", Washington
7. Malcolm Thomas PF, 6' 8", San Diego State
8. Jeff Allen PF, 6' 7", Virginia Tech
9. Justin Brownlee PF, 6' 8”, St. John's
10. Noah Dahlman PF, 6' 6”, Wofford


1. Gilbert Brown SG/SF, 6' 6", Pittsburgh
2. LaceDarius Dunn SG, 6' 4", Baylor
3. Durrell Summers SG, 6' 4", Michigan State
4. D.J. Kennedy SF, 6' 6", St. John's
5. Austin Freeman SG, 6' 4", Georgetown
6. Jon Diebler SG, 6' 6", Ohio State
7. Ravern Johnson SF, 6' 7", Mississippi St.
8. Jeremy Hazell SG, 6' 5", Seton Hall
9. Cory Higgins SG, 6' 5", Colorado
10. John Holland SG, 6' 5", Boston U.
11. Anatoly Bose SF, 6' 6", Nicholls State
12. Corey Stokes SG, 6' 5", Villanova
13. Xavier Silas SG, 6' 4", Northern Illinois
14. Tim Abromaitis SF 6' 8”, Notre Dame


1. Norris Cole PG, 6' 2", Cleveland St.
2. Brad Wanamaker PG/SG, 6' 4", Pittsburgh
3. Kalin Lucas PG, 6' 0", Michigan State
4. Ben Hansbrough PG/SG, 6' 3", Notre Dame
5. Chris Wright PG, 6' 1", Georgetown
6. Malcolm Delaney PG, 6' 3", Virginia Tech
7. Steven Gray PG/SG, 6' 5", Gonzaga
8. Andrew Goudelock PG, 6' 2", Coll Of Charltn
9. Cam Long PG/SG, 6' 4", George Mason
10. Dwight Hardy SG, 6' 2", St. John's
11. Julyan Stone PG, 6' 7", UTEP
12. Mark Payne SG, 6' 7", UC Davis
13. Jacob Pullen PG/SG, 6' 0", Kansas State
14. Corey Fisher PG, 6' 1", Villanova
15. Talor Battle PG, 5' 11", Penn State
16. Randy Culpepper SG, 6' 0", UTEP
17. Diante Garrett PG, 6' 4", Iowa State
18. Adrian Oliver SG, 6' 3", San Jose State
19. Preston Knowles, PG/SG, 6' 1”, Louisville
20. Tyrel Reed, PG/SG, 6' 3”, Kansas

Edited by Patrick Crawley, Sports Editor for Neon Tommy and Managing Editor of Basketball Fiend.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop