Portsmouth Invitational Preview: Top Players to Watch
Jordan Taylor needs to set himself apart this week at Portsmouth. (Icon SMI)
By J.J. Buck
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
With a quick glance at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament rosters, you notice they are littered with notable seniors. One-and-done players will get plenty of attention at the top of the draft as their talents have them in position to cash in. Portsmouth is a great chance to see upper-class talent across the board. The depth is very strong at all positions so every player should get a chance to compete against top competition. Here are some bullet points on a few players to watch at this week's PIT:
Ricardo Ratliffe, 6'8" 250lbs Missouri
Not a jump shooter, does his damage inside the paint which led to shooting 69.3 percent overall last season. Averaged 13.9 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Will need to show he can hold his own in the paint on defense. How does his offense look outside of cleaning up the Tigers up-tempo attack?
Yancy Gates 6'9" 245lbs Cincinnati
Part of the brawl against Xavier, bounced back from a six game suspension, but rebounded and was part of the Bearcats Sweet 16 run. Averaged 12.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Will need to play at a level in which his abilities stand out and out weigh his red flags.
Henry Sims 6'10" 242lbs Georgetown
The latest in the string of quality centers from the Hoyas. Simms showcased his touch averaging 3.5 assists a game last season. Will need to show he can bang with the big bodies down low and that he can be an effective rebounder. Averaged six rebounds a game last season.
Herb Pope 6'8" 233lbs Seton Hall
Pope exploded this season averaging 15.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. Pope overcame a heart condition early in his college career. Rebounding is the strength of his game and his offensive growth will be a bonus.
Kyle O'Quinn 6'10"240lbs Norfolk State
Burst onto the scene after Norfolk State's upset of Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Very athletic forward. Averaged 15.9 points and 10.3 rebounds a game. Gets a chance to show how he competes against high level talent on a regular basis.
Others to Watch:
Garret Stutz 7'0" 255lbs Wichita State, Xavier Gibson 6'11" Florida State
Kim English 6'6" 200lbs Missouri
Versatile guard who played power forward at times in the Tigers attack offense. At the next level will be a guard only. Averaged 14.5 points a game while shooting 52.1 percent overall and 45.9 percent from three. If he shows hustle and willingness to compete on defense it will help him stand out.
Wendell McKines 6'6" 230lbs New Mexico State
McKines was a rebounder that developed into the Aggies top scorer. Still needs to refine his outside jumper but has plus athleticism and will bang inside with bigger players. Showing continued growth offensively will be important for him.
Chace Stanback 6'8"215 UNLV
He was looked at as being a big part of the Rebels success heading into his senior season but faded during conference play. Has good offensive ability but needs to show he is more then just a three point shooter. Shot 45.5 percent from three last year.
Kevin Murphy 6'6" 185lbs Tennessee Tech
His scoring numbers draw attention, averaged 20.6 points a game last year. Shot 44.4 percent overall and 41.6 percent from three. Added 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game as well. Murphy will need to show case his scoring ability on the pre-draft work out tour.
Others to Watch:
Kyle Weems 6'6" 226lbs Missouri State, Kent Bazemore 6'5" Old Dominion, Larry Anderson 6'5" 210lbs Long Beach State.
Point Guards/Shooting Guards
Devoe Joseph 6'4" 177lbs Oregon
Averaged 16.7 points a game and chipped in 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game. He was the focal point of the Ducks offense. In a tournament full of guards that can score will need to showcase his athletic ability.
Jorge Gutierrez 6'3" 195lbs California
A solid rebounding guard averaged 5.3 rebounds a game for the Bears. Scored 13.1 points a game but will need to show better outside shooting ability, only shot 32 percent from three last year. Solid in multiple areas but will need to find something to stand out in.
Scoop Jardine 6'2" 190lbs Syracuse
Good passer in the Orange offense averaged 4.8 assists a game. Solid frame, people question his athletic ability, will need to show he can guard the point outside of a 2-3 zone.
Others to Watch:
Jet Chang 6'4" 190lbs BYU-Hawaii, Kyle Kuric 6'4" 195lbs Louisville
Jordan Taylor 6'1" 195lbs Wisconsin
Very good at getting his teammates involved. Showcased his scoring ability this season and averaged 14.7 points a game. On a team that focuses on defense first Taylor was solid on both ends of the floor. Has the potential to be a very good back up at the next level and maybe something more in the right system.
Ashton Gibbs 6'2" 190lbs Pittsburgh
Got lost in the Panthers struggles this season. Solid scoring ability averaged 15.5 points a game. Will need to show good passing skills and shot selection.
Casper Ware 5'10" 175lbs Long Beach State
Can get his shot off from anywhere on the floor. He was a big reason why the 49ers were able to make the NCAA tournament this season. Played against North Carolina, Kansas, and New Mexico to name a few last year. Averaged 17.4 points a game. Will need to show he can hang with the bigger guards but has everything from an offensive stand point you want in a point guard.
Erving Walker 5'8" 177lbs Florida
Shot 37.1 percent from three. Averaged 4.7 assists a game last season to go along with 12.1 points a game. Will need to show consistent outside shooting ability. The strong performance of Sacramento Kings 5'9" rookie Isaiah Thomas should make Ware and Walker feel better knowing that they can get a shot in the right situation at the next level.
Others to Watch:
Dee Bost 6'2" Mississippi State, Kyle Fogg 5'6" 188lbs Arizona, Jordan Theodore 6' 174lbs Seton Hall, Juan Fernandez 6'4" 195lbs Temple, Reggie Hamilton 5'11" 176lbs Oakland.
Full Team Rosters: http://www.portsmouthinvitational.com/rosters2.php