Tulsa's high flying wing DaQuan Jeffries impressed all week with his athleticism, scoring and defensive ability
Portsmouth, Va. – I spent the entire four days in Virginia scouting the Portsmouth Invitational, where once again, a large gathering of NBA personal were on hand to evaluate some of the top seniors in all of college basketball. The PIT for decades has been a huge stepping stone for hidden gems looking to catch the eye of NBA front offices. Spurs rising star Derrick White (Colorado) won MVP at the 2017 PIT, was invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago where he played well and was drafted 29th in the 2017 NBA Draft. Notable alums who have participated in the PIT include Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Stockton, Tim Hardaway, Ben Wallace, Avery Johnson, Jeremy Lin, Rick Barry, Dave Cowens, Earl Monroe and Jimmy Butler.
This year was a bit different due to a number of top seniors like Tacko Fall for instance, deciding to turn down invitations to PIT, hoping for invites to the new G-League Elite Camp (May 13th-14th). The G-League Elite Camp is serving as another springboard for the draft combine which will be held in Chicago (May 15-19). The top 40 players, regardless of class, as voted by teams earn combine invites. The next 40 vote getters will earn invitations to the Elite Camp, and the top performers from Elite Camp will earn an invite to the combine.
Although there was concern about PIT ability to attract talent, that concern was put to rest fairly quickly with the talent and high level of competitive play on hand. As always, a few players stood above the rest, see who they are below.
Point Guards –
Tookie Brown/ Point Guard/ 5’11/189/ Georgia Southern/ Portsmouth Sports Club –
Very quick, stocky floor general who impact the game on both ends. Brown finished well despite his listed 5’11, found teammates even with bigger defenders on him and shot with range. Defensively, is where I feel he really stood out. He had no trouble staying in front point guards full court, constantly being a pest, speeding up various guards. In fact, I can see him having a Muggsy Bogues type impact on that end where point guards will avoid trying to dribble with him defending them altogether. The FOUR time first team Sun Belt averaged 17.3 points, 4.7 assist and 4.2 rebounds on 49 percent shooting during the 18-19 season.
Chris Clemons/ Point Guard/ 5’9/ 180/ Campbell/ Portsmouth Partnership – PIT’s MVP had an up and down week shooting the ball but he still played well enough to lead his team to the championship. College basketball’s leading scorer talent literally jumps out at you. Despite being 5’9, Clemons plays above the rim and showed the ability to knock down shots with range, although it being streaky. He also was a willing defender and playmaker, which were concerns heading into PIT. He most definitely will have his share of opportunities to earn a roster spot in the NBA moving forward. The Big South all-time leading scorer averaged 30.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assist last season, finishing his career as the third all-time leading scorer in Division I history with 3,225 points.
Josh Perkins/ Point Guard/ 6’3/ 190/ Gonzaga/ K&D Rounds – Perkins put on a show with his combination of shooting and passing ability. His court vision is unreal. Legit 6’3, this makes him the ideal size to play point guard at the next level. While not being the most explosive athlete at his position, he has enough athleticism to get the job done and closes the gap athletically with a vast array of ways to score in the paint with either hand. Efficient floor general who thrives off making other players better should create a lot interest from NBA personnel. Gonzaga’s all-time assist leader, Perkins averaged 11 points and 6.2 assist last season.
Alex Robinson/ Point Guard/ 6’1/ 180/ Texas Christian/ Cherry Bekaert – Alex Robinson plays a similar style to Josh Perkins, looking to find teammates first and score second. The difference is Robinson is smaller, yet, more explosive as an athlete. Robinson can dish the rock with the best of them, however, he can be turnover prone as well. He’s also an effective all around defender. Robinson will have to prove that he can shoot well enough to keep defenses honest or it will be tough to crack a roster spot at the next level. Robinson finished 7th in the nation in assist, dishing out 6.9 per game last season.
Justin Robinson/ Point Guard/ 6’2/ 195/ Virginia Tech/ Sales System –
No point guard was more poised and tough throughout the week. Those traits were never more obvious than in the very first game. Robinson who was off all game shooting from the outside, knocked down the game winning three pointer. Robinson was quick off the dribble, on defense and didn’t force the action at all, he let the game come to him, resulting in decent assist numbers and a healthy dose of scoring. Robinson was one of the more impressive players at the event. A second round selection is highly probable.
Jarrell Brantley/ Forward/ 6’7/ 255/ Charleston/ Portsmouth Partnership – A man-child. A combination of a shooting guard in skill and athleticism but in a power forwards body. He was a mismatch all week long for defenders. If a guard defended him, he put him in the post and overpowered him. If a big got on him, Brantley took him outside showcasing his guard skills, knocking down jumpers from NBA range in and/or putting the ball on the floor and finishing strong inside. During the season, Brantley was deadly efficient, averaging 19.4 points on 51 percent shooting from the field while grabbing 8.4 rebounds. What surprised me most was Brantley’s ability to defend. He stayed in front of some lethal guards on hand while also being an effective post defender. An intriguing player to keep an eye on throughout the draft season.
Ahmed Hill/ Guard/ 6’5/ 210/ Virginia Tech/ Cherry Bekaert –
One of the more athletic players on hand, Hill was a handful all week. A relentless defender who has lockdown potential, a deadly slasher and someone who can step out and shoot NBA range 3-pointers at an efficient rate. The only knock is his ability to make others better, if he improves in that area, he can become the total package as an off guard.
DaQuan Jeffries/ SG, SF/ 6’5/ 230/ Tulsa/ Sales System –
Arguably the most explosive athlete at PIT. Jeffries put a lot of guys in the basket throughout the week, yet it was his efficiency scoring the ball and hustle plays that stood out the most. Jeffries right now isn’t the most shifty offensive threat, he does make up for it understanding which spots to get to on the floor to be effective and using his athleticism in transition to create opportunities. Fairly young, he won’t turn 22 until August, he has great potential and could develop into a valuable role player at the next level.
James Palmer Jr/ SG,SF/ 6’6/ 200/ Nebraska/ Norfolk Sports Club –
Swiss army knife wing who brings a lot to the table. A sneaky athlete that can play the 1-3 due to his skill set and ability to defend all three positions effectively, Palmer Jr, often times found himself making clutch plays and getting big time stops in order to put his team in a winning position. The third team All-Big Ten guard should be highly sought after during the pre-draft process for workouts
Josh Reaves/ Guard/ 6’4/ 210/ Penn State/ Norfolk Sports Club – Known as an athletic defender with a high motor coming in, Reaves displayed more than that throughout the week, knocking down jumpers off the bounce, spotting up and finding open teammates. His strong play on both ends earned him a spot on the Portsmouth Invitational All- Tournament team.
Marial Shayok/ Guard/ 6’5/ 202/ Iowa State/ Portsmouth Sports Club –
Although he is 24, that shouldn’t scare NBA personnel from Shayok who was one of the more consistent scorers at PIT. Shayok is a legit NBA level scorer. He can score from all three levels, post up and shoot with range off the bounce and spotting up. 6’5 with a 7 foot wingspan, Shayok had an eye opening 37 point performance, including shots to send the game into overtime and to win it. A concern is Shayok isn’t afraid to put shots up and can be streaky shooting the ball. However his talent is undeniable and should have a chance to be drafted.
Quinndary Weatherspoon/ Guard/ 6’4/ 210/ Mississippi State/ Sales System – Weatherspoon came in with a reputation as a scorer thanks to his 18.5 points per game last season. Yet, it was his all-around game that caught everyone’s attention. Simply put, Weatherspoon is a playmaker on BOTH ends. He really has no holes in game, he can shoot it, facilitate well, rebound and defend. He’s listed at 6’4 in shoes but he has a 6’9 wingspan which helps him play off the ball and make shots over taller wings effectively. Don’t be shocked to see him competing at the Chicago combine.
Front Court –
Zach Hankins/ Center/ 6’11/ 245/ Xavier/ Cherry Bekaert –
Hankins stood out with his ability to run the floor and his ability to score in the mid-range and post. Questions arose about Hankins leaping and shooting ability throughout the season. 15 feet in, Hankins shot the ball well enough where you have to defend him at that range. Inside, he dunked on his fair share of guys and showed he could score with either hand out of the post. Hankins combination of size, developing skill, court speed and I.Q, is something that can’t be ignored and this sleeper should be in a running for a two-way contract next season in a worst case scenario.
Aric Holman/ Center/ 6’11/ 214/ Mississippi State/ Roger Brown’s – Holman is a little on the slender side, yet, he more than held his own in the paint. Holman is a solid athlete at 6’11, a solid finisher inside who also displayed a soft touch shooting the ball with range throughout the week at PIT. A capable scorer off the bounce, who also understands how to score on the move, Holman was equally as impressive crashing the boards and on defense. Holman’s ability to block shots and defend guards in pick and roll situations makes a possible second round selection likely.
Nick Perkins/ Forward/ 6’8/ 250/ Buffalo/ K&D Rounds –
A BEAST in the paint. Nick Perkins knows what he is and doesn’t complicate things, he’s a rebounder, defender and efficient scoring machine. The lefty brought an impressive repertoire of skill on the block, scoring over both shoulders, on up and under’s and mid-range jumpers. Perkins is also a capable three point shooter, during the season, Perkins shot 37 percent from deep. First Team All-MAC forward should garner a lot of interest from NBA teams for workouts.
Honorable Mention –
Devontae Cacok/ Forward/ 6’7/ 240/ UNC Wilmington/ Cherry Bekaert
Jeremiah Martin/ Guard/ 6’3/188/Memphis/ Sales System
Juwan Morgan/ Forward/ 6’8/ 235/ Indiana/ Sales System
Dylan Osetkowski/ 6’9/ 250/ Texas/ Norfolk Sports Club
Marcquise Reed/ Guard/ 6’3/ 190/ Clemson/ Roger Brown (Pictured Above)
Elijah Thomas/ Forward-Center/ 6’9/ 240/ Clemson/ K&D Rounds
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