2014 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Day Two

2014 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Day Two
Apr 18, 2014, 01:29 pm
Three more games were played Thursday, one a consolation game between the two losers from Wednesday, and two in the nightcap, introducing the last four teams that we had not seen yet. While the depth of this camp may have suffered from the 38 seniors who were not invited or declined their PIT invites, there were still some very interesting performances on display today, from at least a handful of players that will play in the NBA sooner or later.

-Official Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Website
-Game Results/Boxscores
-Official Rosters and Preview
-Day One Recap

The gym was still absolutely packed with NBA scouts, executives and general managers, as well as agents and European basketball executives (who are out in absolute droves this year), meaning that an interesting conversation was never far away. Portsmouth's status as a meeting point for the basketball industry always makes it an enjoyable stop for us, as much for the conversations at Roger Brown's and the Renaissance hotel lobby as the games themselves.


All players but five, who we were told didn't make their wake-up call, were measured before the second day of games at the PIT. The longest wingspan of the camp belonged to 7-0 ½ (without shoes) center Ian Chiles, who measured 7' 6”. The largest height-to-wingspan differential, more indicative of length, belonged to Shawn Jones, who measured 6-7 without shoes and a 7-3 ½ wingspan.

Other wingspan standouts relative to height include Tyler Stone (6-7 no shoes with a 7-2 ½ wingspan), D.J. Covington (6-6 no shoes with a 7-1 ½ wingspan), Zaccheus Mason (6-5 no shoes with a 7-0 wingspan), Trevor Releford (5-11 no shoes with a 6-6 ½ wingspan) and Eric Atkins (5-11 ¾ no shoes with a 6-6 wingspan). Forwards Josh Heustis (6-6 ½ no shoes with a 7-1 wingspan), Justin Jackson (6-7 ½ no shoes with a 7-1 wingspan), Jamil Wilson (6-6 no shoes with a 7-0 wingspan), and center Davante Gardner (6-6 ¾ no shoes with a 7-1 ¼ wingspan) measured well in the length category as well.

Two-time NCAA Champion Niels Giffey measured well at 6-6 ¼ no shoes with a 6-10 ½ wingspan. David Stockton, the third shortest player measured at 5-10 without shoes, measured a solid 6-3 wingspan. Fellow undersized point guard Joe Jackson also measured well at 5-11 ¾ with no shoes with a 6-4 ¾ wingspan. No players measured notably shorter or taller than expected.

As expected, Gardner was the heaviest in the group at 288 pounds, 25 pounds more than the second heaviest, Chad Posthumus. Jordair Jett also tipped the scales considering his position, weighing in at 226 pounds at only 6-0 without shoes. Stockton is the lightest player in the group at 160, with Tim Frazier (162) and Markel Starks (166) right behind him.

You can view the 2014 PIT specific measurements in our extensive database by clicking here.

Day Two Standouts

Jake Odum, 6-4, Point Guard, Indiana State – 16 points, 6 assists, 0 turnovers, 3 steals, 7-10 FG, 2-4 3P – Odum had one of the best performances of any player at Portsmouth thus far, running the team, and surprisingly hitting outside shots, something that's been a weakness of his throughout his career. He's extremely creative and has an exceptional feel for the game, so if he continues to play like he has thus far, except him to get some more attention, despite his average physical tools.
Ronald Roberts, 6-8, Power Forward, St. Joe's – 15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 7-13 FG – Roberts might be the best athlete at the PIT. He's incredibly quick and is an absolute pogo stick. He has a low skill-level but he plays with tremendous energy. He's clearly helped himself here.
Justin Jackson, 6-8, Power Forward, Cincinnati – 10 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 5-11 FG – Jackson had a wretched first game on Wednesday, but bounced back on Thursday with a tremendous display of energy and intensity. He's a top-shelf rebounder and defender who likely lacks the size, skill-level or basketball IQ to make a NBA roster, but should enjoy a productive professional career regardless if he can accept a role.
Garrick Sherman, 6-10, PF/C, Notre Dame – 18 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 4 turnovers, 9-15 FG – Sherman has had a very strong PIT thus far, posting another good outing on Thursday. He's got a nice skill-level for a big man and has been very active here. He's an average rebounder and defender at best, but should be able to carve out a solid career in Europe.
Jerrelle Benimon, 6-8, Power Forward, Towson – 12 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 0 turnovers, 3-6 FG – Benimon had another nice outing after a strong showing on Wednesday, which we wrote about in our day one report. He's helped himself here without a doubt.
Niels Giffey, 6-7, Small Forward, UConn – 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks, 4 steals – Giffey was incredibly active defensively, making a number of terrific hustle plays. His solid measurements (6-7 with a 6-10 wingspan), ability to make outside shots (48% 3P% this year), solid defense, and unselfish mistake-free style of play could certainly get him some looks from NBA teams. If he doesn't make a NBA roster, look for him to emerge at the highest level of European basketball immediately thanks to his international experience (he started at the 2013 FIBA Eurobasket) and German passport.
David Stockton, 5-11, Point Guard, Gonzaga – 4 points, 9 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks - No one was more fun to watch on Thursday than Stockon, who ran his team beautifully and made some terrific passes. He played surprisingly excellent defense, sticking to his man like glue and coming up with some impressive blocks thanks to his long 6-3 wingspan. He's likely not a NBA prospect due to his lack of size, average frame and poor outside shooting ability, but he is almost certain to have a nice career in Europe.
Jamil Wilson, 6-7, Small Forward, Marquette – 18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 7-16 FG, 1-4 3P- Wilson made shots from different spots on the floor and a nice job showing his versatility defensively. He's got very good physical attributes and is likely to draw some added looks from NBA teams during the pre-draft process.
Davante Gardner, 6-8, Center, Marquette – 18 points, 3 rebounds, 6-10 FG, 1-2 3P – Gardner simply knows how to score with his terrific feet, hands and touch. Even though he's undersized, not particularly athletic and somewhat limited as a rebounder and defender for the NBA level, he is very skilled and should make a strong career in Europe.
Davion Berry, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Weber State – 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover (7-12 FG, 1-4 3P) – Berry showed nice versatility as a combo guard who does a little bit of everything, even if he might not be a NBA athlete.
Shayne Whittington, 6-10, PF/C, Western Michigan – 19 points, 8 rebounds, 7-12 FG, 4-7 3P – Whittington made himself money on Thursday with the high skill-level he showed both facing and with his back to the basket. He's somewhat limited physically and doesn't project as a great defender, but with his size and ability to score from all over the floor will allow him to carve out a long career in Europe.

Player Evaluations

Josh Huestis, 6-8, Small Forward, Stanford
10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 1 assist, 0 turnovers, 5-11 FG (0-2 3P, 0-1 FT)

Jonathan Givony

On paper, Josh Huestis doesn't look like a particularly attractive NBA prospect, only scoring 12.5 points per-40 minutes pace adjusted in each of the last two seasons (the lowest rate of any player in our Top-100 rankings besides Aaron Craft), while doing so on middling efficiency (51% TS%, fourth worst in our Top-100).

NBA teams are quietly warming up to Huestis' role-playing potential, though, as he displays a number of intriguing qualities that could help him develop into a useful utility player.

Measured at 6-8 in shoes, with a 7-1 wingspan and a solid 213 pound frame, Heustis has terrific size for a NBA small forward and is even big enough to see some minutes as a small-ball power forward in certain lineups. He's a good athlete, showing nice quickness and agility and the ability to play above the rim in transition.

Heustis' outside shooting will likely be the key to his NBA prospects. He displays solid form on his jumper, and made 34% of his 3-point attempts the last two seasons, albeit on only around two attempts per game (154 in 70 games). His touch isn't great and he only converted 33% of his shots with his feet set this year (he was actually better off the dribble), but the hope is that he can at least become a reliable enough corner 3-point shooter to keep defenses honest and allow him to stay on the floor.

The rest of Huestis' offensive game is nothing to write home about, as he's not a particularly skilled or talented player at this point in time. He struggles to put the ball on the floor and rarely gets to the free throw line, even if he's able to overpower smaller college opponents with his back to the basket inside the paint at times. To his credit, he looks like a smart player who doesn't force the issue too often and rarely turns the ball over, which bodes well for the role he is projected to play in the NBA.

The best thing that Huestis brings to the table, and the key attribute that makes him a NBA prospect, is his defense. His size, length and athleticism gives him the ability to guard multiple positions at the college level and beyond, and he shows terrific smarts and intensity locking down opponents. Even though he's a bit upright in his stance at times, Huestis' strong base helps him keep quicker opponents in front of him, while his length and activity level makes him very effective at contesting shots. Even when he gets beat off the dribble initially, he's often athletic enough to recover and make a play at the rim, as evidenced by the terrific shot-blocking numbers he's posted throughout his career at Stanford.

Although Huestis did not have an overwhelming first game at Portsmouth, NBA teams will certainly continue to track him throughout the draft process and he should be a very popular figure on the workout circuit this spring. Scouts are wondering if he can play a role similar to the one Thabo Sefolosha has in Oklahoma City the last few years, locking up multiple positions, making open jumpers, and helping the team's ball-movement.

Akil Mitchell – 6-9, Power Forward, Virginia
12 points, 9 rebounds , 4 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 5-9 FG

Mike Schmitz

Although not the most flashy player in the scoring department, Mitchell did a lot of good things on both ends of the floor on Friday night that showed his ability and willingness to play a role. The 6' 9” Virginia big man proved to be one of the most fundamentally sound defenders both on and off the ball in the tournament, racking up four steals and two blocks while limiting his man both on the block and on the perimeter.

Mitchell possess excellent feet that allow him to hard hedge and recover to his man quickly, something he did on multiple occasions on Thursday, one of which led to a steal and eventual alley-oop finish in transition. He also showed excellent closeout technique and the ability to keep quicker players in front of him, an ability that bodes well for him at the professional level. Sporting a fairly thin upper body, Mitchell isn't the strongest power forward out there but his thick lower body allows him to bang in the post.

Mitchell is also an excellent team defender, keeping his head on a swivel off the ball and making sure he's in help position on baseline drives. He didn't get a lot of steals and blocks at Virginia (1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks per 40) in part due to his average wingspan (6' 11.25”) and Virginia's pack-line defense. Mitchell's awareness, along with his above average athleticism, also helps him as a rebounder, where he posted 10.9 rebounds per 40 (3.0 offensive and 7.9 defensive).

On the offensive end, Mitchell is very limited, evident by the 10.5 points per 40 minutes he scored as a senior. While he can use his athleticism and agility to run the floor, Mitchell isn't much of a factor in the half court. He's a very sound passer but lacks a mid-range jumper (42.7% from the line) and a back to the basket game. Mitchell would much rather blend in the background offensively, moving the ball and setting screens. Mitchell's defensive impact, athleticism, rebounding, and ability to play a role make him an intriguing summer league and vet camp player. He's the type of player who could absolutely find his way onto a NBA team's roster.

Markel Starks – 6-2, Point Guard, Georgetown
16 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 6-12 FGs (0-1 3FGs)

Mike Schmitz

Starks shined as one of the PIT's best guards on day two, getting into the lane at will and creating for his teammates while defending his position extremely well. The 6' 2” shifty guard used his advanced handle, quickness and ability to change speeds to get into the lane and finish with an array of floaters and pull-up jumpers. The former Georgetown Hoya is very adept at breaking his man down in one-on-one situations, evident by his isolation numbers as a senior (1.14 PPP on 84 possessions). Because of his size and stature Starks isn't a great finisher and doesn't do a great job getting all the way to the rim, but his ability to drop in floaters in the lane (0.84 PPP) certainly helps his cause. He's very crafty inside the paint and can stop on a dime as his defender flies by him.

Although not the most pure point guard around, Starks did a solid job running the show and making plays for his teammates. He can be a bit erratic at times, but he's very quick with the ball in transition and possesses solid court vision both in the open floor and in the half court.

While he does a great job getting in the lane, Starks has his inconsistencies as an outside shooter. He shows promise with solid mechanics (87.0 FT%) and a good mid-range game (0.86 PPP off the dribble) but needs to increase his range to be consistently effective from the international or NBA 3-point line. Starks did shoot 41.7% from 3 his junior season at Georgetown before dipping to 32.6% as a senior, so there's certainly something to work with there.

On the defensive end Starks is very engaged and active both on and off the ball. He does an excellent job pressuring the ball and using his body to contain penetration despite his slight build. Starks is very quick laterally and showed a willingness to defend with energy and intensity. In addition to his on ball defense, Starks did a lot of little things off the ball that a lot of guards don't regularly do, stunting (or bluffing) at shooters and clogging or digging off of his man and recovering on the pass.

Overall Starks is an intriguing prospect because of his athleticism, ability to create in one-on-one situations, play the pick and roll, make shots, and defend both on and off the ball. He'll need to continue to improve his decision-making and shooting consistency, but he should be in consideration for a summer league and vet camp invite with potential to make an NBA roster either this summer or down the road.

Andre Dawkins, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Duke
20 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal, 8-17 FG (4-11 3P, 0-0 FT)

Jonathan Givony

Andre Dawkins is an interesting character in this setting, a former five star high school recruit who played only 14 minutes per game as a senior after redshirting his junior year due to tragic circumstances.

Dawkins played one of the most narrowly confined roles of any player at this tournament in college, as an astounding 78% of his offense came off spot-up jumpers, screens, or hand-offs—which he absolutely excelled at, making 42% of his 3-pointers on the season. Dawkins had a chance to show off a more expansive skill-set in this setting than we were able to see at Duke, something he found mostly mixed results with last night. 11 of his 17 attempts came from beyond the arc, with the rest coming mostly in the form of one dribble pull-ups from just inside the arc. He did make some nice passes off the dribble, showing a solid basketball IQ, but for the most part struggled to separate himself from the group despite scoring 20 points.

Looking somewhat out of shape, and not showing the highest intensity level, Dawkins didn't come out with the type of urgency you'd expect considering his situation. His defense was porous, and he failed to run back on a few occasions, showing some concerning body language at times. When he tried to put the ball on the floor he had a difficult time getting past his man, throwing up some awkward floaters in the lane and not getting to the foul line even once.

While measuring out well (6-5 with a 6-8 ½ wingspan) for a shooting guard, Dawkins will need to show he can be more than just a spot-up jump-shooter to make it in the NBA, at least in terms of putting forth better effort defensively. He has two more games to improve his standing here, and would be smart to use them wisely.

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