Projected Invites, 2014 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Projected Invites, 2014 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament
Apr 07, 2014, 02:28 pm
With the 2014 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament only ten days away, it's time to take an in-depth look at this year's NCAA senior class and attempt to project what the field might look like.

The PIT will be held a week later than normal this year, nine days after the NCAA Final Four, in Portsmouth, Virginia. Besides being well attended by NBA executives, the invitational is also a popular destination for European teams. It's a great place for them 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've ever wondered what it would look like if virtually every NBA team personnel member, agent and runner in America came together in a tiny high school gym, this historic tournament is 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 62nd edition of the tournament will be conducted this year from April 16th to April 19th.

You can find the official website of the PIT here.

Since the NBA has decided to continue with a “combine” format (May 14-18 in Chicago), instead of having prospects work out in a competitive 5-on-5 setting like they used to in the NBA pre-draft camp days, an event like Portsmouth is one of the few ways a prospect can improve their standing outside of impressing teams in individual workouts or in the L.A. Clippers Group Workout (also a five on five format) in late May.

Overlooked or undervalued players have an opportunity to show here that there is more to their game than meets the eye, outside of the confines of their college system.

Unfortunately, due to financial reasons, NBA teams seem to have cut back on the number of private workouts they conduct in the months of May and June, focusing more on “group workouts,” like we saw in New Jersey last year (moving to Los Angeles this year). Prospects used to have two Group Workouts they could count on to get an extra boost, but with the Minnesota Timberwolves electing not to hold one this year, Portsmouth, Chicago and Los Angeles are the only venues in the US that all 30 NBA teams will congregate to evaluate prospects during the pre-draft process.

In years past, many seniors have elected to skip the PIT in hopes of receiving an invite to the more prestigious NBA Pre-Draft camp. Since shifting to the “NBA Combine” format, however, the NBA has decreased the number of overall players invited to Chicago and put a bigger emphasis on securing the attendance of lottery prospects , even if only for the purpose of conducting athletic tests, measurements and interviews, (both for NBA teams and media).

Is it worth it? Over the course of the past four years, 39 players who declined to attend the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament as seniors were not invited to the NBA Combine subsequently, which may have proven to be very damaging to their draft stock. Of those 39 players, only 10 eventually got drafted.

While securing an invite to the NBA Combine is an admirable goal, and skipping the PIT may force the NBA's hand in certain cases, it's questionable just how much a player can move the needle on their stock once actually there. The limited nature of the no-contact drills make it fairly difficult to move the needle one way or another on where a player might get picked. Over the last four years, according to our research, an average of five college seniors per year who declined to attend Portsmouth, yet secured a Combine invite, end up going undrafted. Add in those who did even secure a Combine invite, and you find that 12 ½ players from each year's senior class will go undrafted from those who decline their PIT invites.

Just last year, for example, a whopping fifteen seniors who declined to attend the PIT went undrafted. Only twelve non-PIT attendant 2013 NCAA seniors are currently on a NBA roster (not a surprise considering only three seniors were drafted in the first round), which means there are quite a few disappointed players out there right now who could have possibly used the exposure they got playing in front of all thirty NBA teams last April to improve their hopes of securing a roster spot (like Robert Covington, Brandon Davies and Ian Clark did last year).

Looking back at the last few years reveals a similar story. With a handful of exceptions, very few seniors drafted outside the first round make a NBA roster and stick. This cat and mouse game that borderline prospects (and their agents) play with NBA teams every year is mostly a futile exercise. Does Portsmouth have an image problem? Absolutely. Have the NBA and its teams done a great job in supporting their own camp and trying to get the best players in? Probably not. But that doesn't change the fact that NCAA seniors can't escape their inevitable fate by staying home and pretending that they don't need to compete at the PIT.

The list of current NBA players who played at Portsmouth is extensive, proving that NBA scouts can find legitimate prospects if they look hard enough year after year. That list includes the likes of Kyle O'Quinn, Kent Bazemore, Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Jimmy Butler, Wesley Matthews, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Alonzo Gee, Steve Novak, C.J. Watson, Gary Neal, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Tolliver, Brian Roberts, Diante Garrett, Jose Juan Barea, Derek Fisher, Ben Wallace, James Jones, Matt Barnes, John Salmons, Jason Maxiell and DeMarre Carroll, amongst many others.

How to make the PIT more worthwhile is something NBA teams and the League itself will need to discuss and act upon internally, but it's clear that this remains an event that anyone who is serious about the NBA draft process must attend. After all, no General Manager wants to have to explain to their owner that they decided to skip watching the next Jimmy Butler or Jeremy Lin at Portsmouth because they were too busy back home.

Notes on Our Suggested List:

-This is not the official list made by the committee. It's a list of our own personal projections and observations about who will (and who should) be invited, based on the games we've watched this year and the conversations we've had with NBA personnel.

This is going to be the eleventh draft we've covered, making this group of seniors the most watched class by DraftExpress ever. Many of these players are guys we started watching in high school.

• The official list will be released on April 14th.

Expected to Decline Invites:

Historically, there are approximately 20-25 seniors each year who, right or wrong, either decline their invitation early on (which is their right) or cancel at the last minute – something no one likes to see because of the unnecessary hassles and expenses involved.

This is something we've accounted for in our own projection by dropping 16 seniors from the list, thereby creating spots for players who will likely value (and benefit more from) the exposure of this event. Here are those we don't anticipate attending:

1 Doug McDermott Creighton 6'8" PF 22.2
2 Adreian Payne Michigan State 6'9" PF 23.1
3 Cleanthony Early Wichita State 6'8" PF 22.9
4 Deonte Burton Nevada 6'1" PG 22.6
5 C.J. Wilcox Washington 6'5" SG 23.2
6 Patric Young Florida 6'9" C 22.1
7 Dwight Powell Stanford 6'10" PF 22.7
8 Devyn Marble Iowa 6'6" SG 21.5
9 Shabazz Napier Connecticut 6'1" PG 22.7
10 Russ Smith Louisville 6'0" PG 22.9
11 Keith Appling Michigan State 6'2" PG 22.1
12 Cory Jefferson Baylor 6'9" PF 23.2
13 Markel Brown Oklahoma State 6'3" SG 22.1
14 Lamar Patterson Pittsburgh 6'5" SG 22.6
15 Joe Harris Virginia 6'6" SF 22.5
16 Sean Kilpatrick Cincinnati 6'4” SG 24.2

Projected Invites

Since we are ranking the best senior draft prospects, and not necessarily the best seniors, NBA upside is valued over production at times. Ideally we like to see both from a player, but someone who has NBA-caliber size and athleticism for his position demonstrates a coveted skill set , even inconsistently, and appears to have upside to continue to improve, will often garner an invite to see what they can do in a new setting against better competition.

Here are the 64 college seniors we currently project being invited:
1  Fuquan Edwin   Seton Hall   6'6"   SF   22.5 
2  Jordan McRae   Tennessee   6'5"   SG   23.0 
3  Aaron Craft   Ohio State   6'2"   PG   23.1 
4  Jordan Bachynski   Arizona State   7'2"   C   24.5 
5  Alec Brown   Wisc. Green Bay   7'1"   C   21.7 
6  C.J. Fair   Syracuse   6'8"   SF/PF   22.5 
7  Bryce Cotton   Providence   6'1"   PG/SG   21.6 
8  DeAndre Kane   Iowa State   6'4"   PG/SG   24.8 
9  Melvin Ejim   Iowa State   6'6"   SF   23.0 
10  Juvonte Reddic   VCU   6'9"   PF   21.8 
11  Joe Jackson   Memphis   6'0"   PG   22.1 
12  Andre Dawkins   Duke   6'4"   SG   22.5 
13  Casey Prather   Florida   6'5"   SF   22.8 
14  Michael Dixon   Memphis   6'1"   PG   23.3 
15  Justin Jackson (Cincinnati)   Cincinnati   6'8"   PF   23.4 
16  Cameron Bairstow   New Mexico   6'9"   PF/C   23.3 
17  Isaiah Sykes   Central Florida   6'5"   SG   22.3 
18  Devon Collier   Oregon State   6'8"   PF   23.2 
19  Okaro White   Florida State   6'8"   SF/PF   21.5 
20  Kendall Williams   New Mexico   6'4"   PG   22.7 
21  Justin Cobbs   California   6'3"   PG   23.0 
22  Mike Moser   Oregon   6'8"   PF   23.4 
23  Roberto Nelson   Oregon State   6'3"   SG   23.0 
24  Josh Huestis   Stanford   6'7"   SF   22.2 
25  Cameron Clark   Oklahoma   6'6"   SG/SF   22.5 
26  Troy Huff   North Dakota   6'5"   SG   22.1 
27  Javon McCrea   Buffalo   6'6"   PF   21.4 
28  Richard Solomon   California   6'10"   PF   21.7 
29  Tarik Black   Kansas   6'8"   PF/C   22.3 
30  Geron Johnson   Memphis   6'3"   SG   21.5 
31  Billy Baron   Canisius   6'2"   PG   23.3 
32  James Bell   Villanova   6'5"   SF   22.2 
33  Chris Denson   Auburn   6'2"   SG   22.5 
34  Xavier Thames   San Diego State   6'3"   SG   23.2 
35  Will Sheehey   Indiana   6'7"   SF   22.2 
36  Akil Mitchell   Virginia   6'8"   PF   21.7 
37  Aaric Murray   Texas Southern   6'11"   C   24.7 
38  Kendrick Perry   Youngstown State   6'0"   PG   21.2 
39  Scottie Wilbekin   Florida   6'2"   PG   21.0 
40  Josh Davis   San Diego State   6'8"   PF   23.2 
41  Sam Dower   Gonzaga   6'9"   C   23.4 
42  Trevor Releford   Alabama   6'0"   PG   22.2 
43  Markel Starks   Georgetown   6'2"   PG   23.1 
44  Talib Zanna   Pittsburgh   6'9"   PF/C   23.5 
45  Davion Berry   Weber State   6'4"   SG   22.4 
46  Taylor Braun   North Dakota State   6'7"   SF   22.7 
47  Travis McKie   Wake Forest   6'7"   SF   21.4 
48  Jaye Crockett   Texas Tech   6'7"   SF   22.4 
49  Davante Gardner   Marquette   6'8"   C   22.5 
50  Ronald Roberts   Saint Joseph's   6'8"   PF   22.6 
51  Brandon Young   DePaul   6'4"   PG/SG   22.3 
52  Chad Posthumus   Morehead State   6'11"   C   23.1 
53  Daniel Miller   Georgia Tech   6'11"   C   22.7 
54  Niels Giffey   Connecticut   6'7"   SF   22.8 
55  Chaz Williams   Massachusetts   5'9"   PG   23.0 
56  Jermaine Marshall   Arizona State   6'4"   SG   23.4 
57  Tim Frazier   Penn State   6'1"   PG   23.4 
58  Jeronne Maymon   Tennessee   6'7"   PF   23.0 
59  Marshall Henderson   Mississippi   6'2"   SG   23.5 
60  Jerrelle Benimon   Towson   6'8"   PF   22.6 
61  Jamil Wilson   Marquette   6'7"   SF/PF   23.3 
62  Chris Udofia   Denver   6'6"   SF   21.7 
63  Kadeem Batts   Providence   6'9"   F   22.7 
64  Devon Saddler   Delaware   6'2"   PG/SG   22.9 



1 Will Yeguete Florida 6'7" SF/PF 22.4
2 Shane Southwell Kansas State 6'7" SF 22.1
3 Cleveland Melvin DePaul/D-League 6'8" PF 22.7
4 De'Mon Brooks Davidson 6'7" PF 21.9
5 Omar Oraby USC 7'2" C 22.5
6 Ian Miller Florida State 6'3" SG 22.5
7 Langston Galloway Saint Joseph's 6'2" SG 22.3
8 Eric Atkins Notre Dame 6'2" PG 22.3
9 Rion Brown Miami FL 6'6" SG/SF 22.5

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