- Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Recap, All-Second Team
Ben Uzoh, 6-4, Point Guard, Tulsa
One of the most intriguing long-term talents seen at this event, Ben Uzoh did a very good showing off his strengths and weaknesses and prospects, which have been covered in a good amount of depth already on this site. Seeing his terrific quickness and explosiveness in person was definitely a good thing for us, though, as he was one of the most exciting players to watch in terms of his sheer highlight reel potential.
Uzoh is actually more than just an entertainer, as hes actually a fairly steady player who understands his limitations quite well and appears to be pretty unselfish. Not a great ball-handler in terms of changing directions with the ball or creating his own shot, Uzoh plays in an under control manner, picking his spots well and doing a good job limiting mistakes, even if hes not what you would call a incredibly naturally talented playmaker. A relatively solid shooter with his feet set, he can still stand to improve his ability to make shots off the dribble. Defensively, Uzoh has outstanding physical tools, standing 6-4 in shoes, with a 6-9 wingspan and excellent athleticism.
Uzoh is a player that teams will clearly be keeping tabs on, starting with the pre-draft process where he should get a fair amount of workouts. In the right situation he could definitely end up landing on an NBA roster, either this upcoming season or down the road after adding more polish to his all-around game.
Aubrey Coleman, 6-3, Shooting Guard, Houston
18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals, 2.7 turnovers, 35% FG, 60% FT, 38% 3PT
Aubrey Coleman didn't have the greatest week here at Portsmouth, struggling heavily fitting into a team-oriented offense, finishing with poor efficiency numbers in all three games (22-for-63 on field goals). His shot selection leaves much to be desired, even if he is capable of hitting some very impressive shots off the dribble frequently. He also struggles finishing around the basket, though it seems to be more due to not working for high-percentage shots than a lack of ability, as he's a good athlete.
Coleman's saving grace is the contributions he makes on the boards and on the defensive end, where he plays with high intensity consistently, putting his physical tools to use to disrupt the opposition. He approaches the game with a high motor in general, and his offensive problems appear to be more about not having much familiarity with team basketball than him being selfish. Coleman lacks a significant amount of high-level experience, as he did not play much basketball in high school, went to a junior college, and then played in an extremely loose system under Tom Penders at Houston.
Coleman is not a lock to get picked after the way he looked in Portsmouth, but it's clear he's still a very talented player who can contribute in multiple areas. That may make some team willing to take a chance on him, believing they can smooth out his rough edges offensively. Even if he doesnt get drafted, he will have plenty of opportunities to make a roster down the road, be it by attending a teams training camp or by working his way up through the D-League.
Kevin Palmer, 66, SG/SF, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
13.0 points, 36.6% FG, 26.7% 3FG, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 3.7 steals, 2.3 blocks
As a senior, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi swingman Kevin Palmer scored 28 points against Texas, 23 points against Mississippi, and 22 points against Houston while averaging just under 20 points per game. He managed to go mostly unnoticed, however, and arrived at Portsmouth firmly under the radar. Ultimately, Palmer had a solid showing and revealed himself as one of the camps more interesting long-term wing prospects.
Though he has a very skinny and undeveloped upper body, he has good size for the wing at 66. His style of play is heavily reliant on his athleticism, from running the floor well in transition to making an impact with his physical tools on the defensive end. While his defensive fundamentals are not great, he has some intriguing things to work with and should only get better with continued coaching and increased strength.
Palmer is likely a better shooter than his percentages indicate, boasting a fairly consistent shooting motion and a quick release. While his mechanics and shot selection could use some work, Palmer should continue to develop in this area as his role changes dramatically at the professional level. He also needs to improve his ball handling, as it limits his effectiveness in transition and in one-on-one situations.
Palmer is very much an incomplete player at this point and, like Edwin Ubiles, has the potential to transform into a much better player down the road. He will have ample opportunities to develop as a role player the D-League or Europe as he showed some intriguing potential in college and at Portsmouth.
Osiris Eldridge, 63, SG, Illinois State
14.3 points, 37.0 FG, 36.3% 3FG, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.3 turnovers, 1.0 steals, blocks
Illinois State wing Osiris Eldridge enjoyed a fantastic sophomore season, and then proceeded to fade out of the draft conversation completely after showing little to no improvement and seeing his teams success fall off dramatically at the same time. Two years later at Portsmouth, he showed his strengths and weaknesses in a performance that is unlikely to get him drafted, but reminded scouts that he can still be a very good basketball player down the road.
Eldridge is undersized for the wing at 63, but he has terrific athleticism to compensate, boasting highlight reel explosiveness and quickness in the open floor. He is also an aggressive player, using his strong and compact frame to his advantage when slashing to the basket.
Despite his mediocre percentages in college, he actually has decent shooting mechanics and can get his shot off whenever he pleases. His shot selection is spotty at best, however, and he became over reliant on his perimeter jump shot as his collegiate career progressed. During his junior and senior at Illinois State, he relied more on forcing jump shots, which has not proved to be his strong suit. He was at his best at Portsmouth when he attacked the lane and used his athleticism and physicality to score or get to the line.
By the end of Portsmouth, Eldridge was playing to his strengths: playing aggressively on defense and attacking the basket, and was looking like a very intriguing player to keep an eye on. While the NBA may not be in his immediate future, he is a talented athlete who teams will likely be keeping an eye on in the D-League or overseas.
Denis Clemente, 6-1, Point Guard, Kansas State
7 ppg, 6.7 apg, 33% FG
A quick, aggressive and highly confident point guard coming off a tremendous season, helping his team reach the Elite Eight, Denis Clemente had a solid all-around showing in Portsmouth, looking very focused on showing off his merits as a distributor.
Clemente does not possess great physical tools for an NBA point guard, as he has average size and length to go along with good, but not great athleticism. More of a combo guard earlier in his career, particularly before transferring from Miami to Kansas State, Clemente did an excellent job running Frank Martins offense this season, even if his limitations as a playmaker were always fairly evident, which is probably a testament to the kind of coach Martin is.
At his best in the open floor, Clemente struggles with tunnel vision and suspect decision making in the half-court, showing a very quick trigger at times and being fairly inconsistent with his perimeter stroke. Better shooting off the dribble than in catch and shoot situations, Clemente gets very little elevation with his feet set on his flat-footed stroke, due to his unorthodox mechanics.
Able to operate on the pick and roll and very effective pushing the ball up the court, Clemente struggles finishing around the basket at times, lacking the size, strength and explosiveness to complete plays in traffic, often reverting to difficult flip-shots and floaters rather than drawing contact and getting to the free throw line.
Defensively, Clemente lacks great physical tools, but brings terrific toughness and intensity to the table. He competes one very possession and doesnt back down from opponents, even if he at times shows questionable awareness and decision making ability.
All in all, Clemente still has plenty of polish to add to his game before he can be realistically considered a legit NBA point guard. A native of Puerto Rico, Clemente can make a good amount of money playing in his local league, where the wide open style of play likely will suit his style. Hell have opportunities to play in Europe as well.
Deon Thompson, 6-8, Power Forward, North Carolina
While this probably wasnt exactly the kind of tournament he was hoping to have, we still got a pretty good chance to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Deon Thompson.
Mostly a back to the basket post-up guy at this tournament, as he was at North Carolina, Thompson showed many of the same things he did throughout his college career here- looking fairly skilled on one hand with some of the moves hes able to execute (turnaround jumpers, one dribble pull-ups), but also having a difficult time passing out of double teams and forcing the issue on occasion. He can get to the free throw line, but is not a particularly efficient player from the field, and may struggle to adapt his style of play to competing against bigger, stronger, longer and more athletic big men who he wont be able to get his shot off against as easily.
He didnt show much of a face-up game either, at least not in terms of a jump-shot, something hell definitely need in order to successfully convert to the power forward position at the next level.
Thompson rebounded extremely well, particularly on the offensive end where his length comes in very handy, but was mostly a non-factor on the defensive end, as he often looked reluctant to box out his opponents, and lacked a bit of fire and toughness that you might expect from a player scrapping for his professional future.
All in all, this probably wasnt the type of showing Thompson needed in order to make scouts forget about the underwhelming senior season he had at North Carolina, and may have sealed his fate as an undrafted prospect.
Patrick Christopher, 65, SG/SF, California
8.0 points, 34.6% FG, 46.2% 3FG, 2.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, turnovers, 0.7 blocks
Patrick Christopher delivered an underwhelming performance at Portsmouth. While he hit some nice perimeter jump shots, he proved himself to be somewhat one dimensional, lacking the ball-handling abilities to create inside of the arc. More disappointing, however, was how he failed to utilize his outstanding frame and solid athleticism on either end of the floor.
Though he had a solid season at California and was in the NBA Draft conversation last year, Christopher didnt show the type of improvements some were hoping to see from him over the past two seasons, fading in particular down the stretch against NBA caliber athletes in match ups against Duke and Washington. Christopher will now have to impress in workouts if he wants to endear himself to scouts in an incredibly talented draft class, but in all likelihood will have to start off his professional career in the D-League or overseas.
Ryan Wittman, 67, Small Forward, Cornell
Ryan Wittman didnt have the most impressive showing here, looking a bit uncomfortable outside of Cornells incredibly well organized offense, not entirely surprising given his skill set. While he managed to hit some shots on the week, he wasnt able to get in much of a rhythm and wasnt hitting shots with the efficiency he normally does, despite getting some nice looks. We already knew going in that hes a super perimeter shooter with NBA range, but would have liked to see how capable he is of getting his shot off on his own merits, something he might have to do from time to time at the professional level. Hes surely the type of player that will need plays run for him to really thrive in the NBA, but its questionable if someone will actually him that opportunity.
Regardless, he did help himself by affirming that he is a very smart player on both ends of the floor, doing a good job keeping offensive flow going with simple passes and off the ball movement, while showing good positional defense and being vocal on that end of the court as well. His athletic limitations certainly will hurt him on the defensive end in the NBA, but he appears to be a player coaches will love.
While there arent many players in his mold in the NBA (Jason Kapono being the obvious and perhaps only example), he should have opportunities to catch on in summer league and training camp, and also as a D-League call-up candidate later in the season should he decide to go that route. If not, he should have a successful career in Europe, where his outstanding shooting and team-oriented approach will definitely be valued in a disciplined, half-court system.
Gavin Edwards, 6'9, PF/C, Connecticut
6.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 45% FG
Gavin Edwards struggled during his three games here, looking physically overmatched in the post on both offense and defense, while coasting through the game at times, not showing to be the most active or tough-minded player around. He did show some promise with his mid-range jump shot, not a surprise given his solid 78% FT% on the season, but he struggled putting the ball in the basket in other ones, be it posting up or just finishing around the rim.
Edwards probably needed a good showing here to push him into draft discussions in this incredibly deep class, and his underwhelming performance here combined with his underwhelming physical attributes (particularly his underdeveloped frame) will be a tough hurdle to overcome. Teams probably wanted to see more hustle and fire out of Edwards than he was able to display, as he seemed to lose his focus frequently and wasnt always mentally in the games. He should get chances in summer league and the D-League should he choose to go that route, but his skill set seems may be more suited for Europe at this stage.
Marcus Ginyard, 6'5, SG/SF, North Carolina
7.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 46% FG
Marcus Ginyard struggled here, not showing much consistent ability on the offensive end, being a sub-par three-point shooter and not having any noteworthy ball-handling abilities. He hit some spot-up shots and finished on some lay-ups in transition throughout the week, but all in all just may not bring enough to the table offensively to merit an NBA roster spot. His defense was very good as expected, however, but it appears to be an uphill battle for him if he's aiming for the NBA.
Devan Downey, 5'9, PG/SG, South Carolina
Devan Downey had a decent week from a performance standpoint, scoring the ball well and doing some nice things in shot creation, but from an NBA perspective, he didnt ease any concerns about his lack of playmaking ability at his diminutive size. While on one hand he can get wherever he wants on the floor at any time, showing great quickness and scoring instincts, he shows a bit of tunnel vision in the lane and makes some questionable decisions with the ball at times, namely picking up his dribble too early. He has a nice variety of tools scoring the ball, being it pulling up for a jumper or finishing on a nice floater in the lane, but he probably needed to show more in this setting to help his chances.