Suggested Rosters, 2009 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Suggested Rosters, 2009 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament
Mar 04, 2009, 04:12 pm
The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is about a month away, meaning this is a good time to look over this year’s senior class and try to project who may be invited. This year’s PIT will be unique since it is now the only place that NBA teams can congregate and watch a large number of draft prospects competing against each other—which saves them valuable time and money. With the NBA deciding to modify the format of the pre-draft camp and no longer conduct five on five games, it appears that Portsmouth will take on far greater importance this year.

The global economic crisis has made NBA teams much more cost-conscious than ever, and from what we’ve been told there will be far fewer private workouts being held in their facilities as well—in order to cut down on travel expenses. With all that in mind, the PIT may end up serving as the lone place a good number of NCAA seniors will be able to be evaluated by teams—if they are willing to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them.

PIT will be held as always in the weekend following the NCAA Final Four in Portsmouth, Virginia. Besides being very well attended by NBA executives, it is also a popular destination for European teams 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 ever felt the urge to see what it would look like if virtually every NBA team personnel member, agent and runner in America came together in one tiny and extremely cozy high school gym for four days, this would be 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 57th edition of the tournament will be conducted this year from April 8th to April 11th.

The official website of the PIT can be found here.

Some players (and the agents advising them) are quick to dismiss having to play in this tournament, because of its reputation for being geared more towards 2nd round picks, undrafted players and those headed for contracts in Europe. The tournament has been hurt quite a bit in the last few years by “high-caliber” players deciding not to compete at the very last moment, leaving them scrambling for replacements.

Ironically, many of the players who decided not to attend the PIT barely got even a sniff from the NBA when it was all said and done, really making you wonder about the advice that some of them received. For example both Will Daniels and Darian Townes did not get invited to the NBA pre-draft camp, after declining to be evaluated by NBA teams at Portsmouth. The sad part of this story is that these players never really gave themselves a chance to get an extended look from the NBA, something that they surely could have used. No one is going to shed any tears over a player like Josh Shipp not attending the camp (he’s been seen by every NBA team after all dozens of times) but from his perspective it makes little sense.

The mantra has always been through the years that the “top seniors” should prefer to wait for an invite to the NBA pre-draft camp in June, as to not “label” themselves early in the process as, at best, a late 2nd round pick, or at worst—overseas bound. With the NBA pre-draft camp no longer an option, and private workouts looking more likely to be granted to underclassmen, international players and those who NBA teams are not as intimately familiar with—it appears that Portsmouth is a pretty good option for those seniors who are unlikely to get consideration as first round picks.

Notes on our Suggested list:

-This is not the official list made by the committee, but rather our own personal suggestions and observations of who will or should be invited, based on the large amount of games we’ve watched this year as well as our own conversations with NBA personnel. With this being the 6th draft we are covering, this group of seniors has been watched closer by DraftExpress than any class ever, from the moment they stepped on campus as college freshman.

• The official list should come out about 4-5 days before the tournament kicks off. There are still quite a few invites left to be sent out.

• The team names listed are identical to the ones used at Portsmouth last year.

• The format of our list and teams was created as follow:

I. 8 teams, consisting of 8 players each.

II. A pool of approximately the 100 best senior draft prospects (not best senior players) in America was created.

III. The top 10 seniors on our senior rankings were taken off immediately, assuming that they would decline their invite. History shows that in the case of Portsmouth, this is usually what happens. If you are wondering why players like Darren Collison, Tyler Hansbrough or Terrence Williams for example are not “invited”, that is your answer.

IV. Since we are ranking the best "senior draft prospects," and not necessarily the "best seniors," NBA upside is at a premium over great production at times. Ideally we like to see both, but a player who has good size and athleticism for his position, and shows at least some of the coveted skills to play his NBA position, even inconsistently, will often garner an invite to see what they can do in a new setting against better competition.

• The pool of remaining players was distributed into 6 categories, and then split up evenly amongst the teams.

Suggested Rosters

-Keep in mind that the committee tries to keep a good balance between big men and guards, which means that sometimes players who are deserving of being invited will be left out to fulfill positional requirements. By nature, it's tougher to find big men than it is guards.

Centers: A rare commodity and the easiest position to get selected at, size, some athleticism and any resemblance of either a back to the basket game or advanced defensive and rebounding skills garners an invite. (ex: Luke Nevill, John Bryant, Ahmad Nivins. Total invited: 10)

Undersized Centers/Power Forwards: Mostly made up of either pure power forwards, or back to the basket college centers who are undersized for the position and/or need to show some kind of potential/skills to play power forward, their natural position in the NBA because of their size. (ex: Jeff Pendergraph, Dante Cunningham, Jon Brockman. Total invited: 14)

Combo Forwards: Players who played power forward in college, but who likely need to move down a position or two and play at least some small forward to make it in the NBA. (ex: DeMarre Carroll, Kovortney Barber. Total invited: 6)

Swingmen: Players who played either shooting guard or small forward in college and display most of the characteristics the NBA looks for in that position. (ex:, K.C. Rivers, Jermaine Taylor, Dionte Christmas. Total invited: 14)

Combo Guards: The toughest position to get invited from, these players are mostly college shooting guards who either did not play much point in their NCAA career or did not do a very good job convincing of their playmaking skills when they did. (ex: Jack McClinton, Lester Hudson, Toney Douglas. Total invited: 8)

Point Guards: The committee’s favorite, these are the guys that make everyone around them better and help the scouts out in separating the cream from the crop. Would Jason Maxiell have went in the 1st round two years ago without Will Conroy on his team? Would CJ Watson’s squad have won any games at all without him steering their ship? How much fun was it to see Jose Juan Barea dish out 18 assists in a single game? This is what makes the PIT both viable and watchable, and therefore is extremely important. (ex: Jeremy Pargo, Curtis Jerrells, Ben Woodside. Total invited: 12)


1. Jeremy Pargo PG, 6'2”, Gonzaga
2. Ryan Toolson SG, 6' 4”, Utah Valley State
3. Stefon Jackson SG, 6' 5”, UTEP
4. A.D. Vassallo SG, 6' 6”, Virginia Tech
5. Ryan Tillema, SF/PF, 6’8”, Wisconsin-Green Bay
6. Lawrence Kinnard, PF, 6' 8”, UAB
7. Alade Aminu PF, 6' 10”, Georgia Tech
8. Aron Baynes C, 6' 10”, Washington State


1. Curtis Jerrells PG, 6' 1”, Baylor
2. Garrett Temple SG, 6' 5”, LSU
3. Brandon Ewing PG/SG, 6' 2”, Wyoming
4. Dionte Christmas SG, 6' 5”, Temple
5. Rene Rougeau, SF, 6’6”, UNLV
6. DeMarre Carroll SF/PF, 6' 8”, Missouri
7. Jeff Pendergraph PF, 6'9”, Arizona State
8. Ahmad Nivins PF, 6' 9”, Saint Joseph's


1. Aaron Jackson PG, 6' 4”, Duquesne
2. Taylor Rochestie PG, 6' 1”, Washington State
3. A.J. Abrams SG, 5' 11”, Texas
4. Josh Shipp SG, 6' 5”, UCLA
5. B.J. Raymond, SG, 6’5”, Xavier
6. Gary Wilkinson PF, 6' 9”, Utah State
7. Robert Dozier PF, 6' 10”, Memphis
8. Tony Gaffney PF/C, 6' 8”, Massachusetts


1. Ben Woodside PG, 5' 11”, North Dakota State
2. Wink Adams PG, 6' 1”, UNLV
3. K.C. Rivers SG, 6' 5”, Clemson
4. Alex Ruoff SG, 6' 6”, West Virginia
5. Courtney Fells SG, 6' 5”, N.C. State
6. Leo Lyons PF, 6' 9”, Missouri
7. Dante Cunningham PF, 6' 8”, Villanova
8. John Bryant C, 6' 11”, Santa Clara


1. Kyle McAlarney PG, 6' 0”, Notre Dame
2. Greg Paulus PG, 6' 2”, Duke
3. Toney Douglas PG/SG, 6' 1”, Florida State
4. Michael Bramos SG, 6' 5”, Miami, OH
5. Weyinmi Efejuku SG, 6' 5”, Providence
6. Lawrence Hill PF, 6' 8”, Stanford
7. Kevin Rogers PF, 6' 9”, Baylor
8. Marcus Cousin, C, 6’11”, Houston


1. Byron Eaton PG, 5' 11”, Oklahoma State
2. Lester Hudson PG/SG, 6' 3”, Tenn. Martin
3. Lorrenzo Wade SF, 6' 6”, San Diego State
4. Robert Vaden SG, 6' 5”, UAB
5. Alonzo Gee SF, 6' 6”, Alabama
6. Diamon Simpson PF, 6' 7”, Saint Mary's
7. Ben McCauley, PF, 6’9”, N.C. State
8. Alfred Aboya PF, 6' 9”, UCLA


1. Ron Steele PG, 6' 2”, Alabama
2. Jack McClinton PG/SG, 6'1”, Miami
3. Josh Carter SG, 6' 7”, Texas A&M
4. Kyle Spain SG, 6' 5”, San Diego State
5. Korvotney Barber SF, 6' 7”, Auburn
6. Connor Atchley PF/C, 6' 10”, Texas
7. Jeff Adrien PF, 6' 6”, Connecticut
8. Russell Hicks C, 7' 0”, Florida Intl


1. Chris Lowe PG, 6' 0”, Massachusetts
2. Levance Fields, PG, 5’10”, Pitt
3. Jermaine Taylor SG, 6'4”, Central Florida
4. Antonio Anderson SG, 6' 6”, Memphis
5. Micah Downs SF, 6' 7”, Gonzaga
6. Chris Johnson PF, 6' 11”, LSU
7. Jon Brockman PF, 6' 7”, Washington
8. Luke Nevill C, 7' 1”, Utah

Next Players Considered:

David Holston
Chavis Holmes
Justin Dentmon
Taylor Griffin
Goran Suton
Marcus Landry
Marquise Gray
Geoff McDermott
Jeremy Chappell
Randall Hanke

Injured: Dominic James

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