Suggested Rosters, 2008 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Suggested Rosters, 2008 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament
Mar 03, 2008, 12:41 am
The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is one of only two pre-draft camps, although it is locally organized and not officially run by the NBA. PIT will be held as always in the weekend following the NCAA Final Four in Portsmouth, Virginia, and is usually well attended by every NBA team, at least for the first few days. It is also a popular destination for European teams 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 ever felt the urge to see what it would look like if virtually every NBA team personnel member, agent and runner in America came together in one tiny high school gym for four days, this would be 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 56th edition of the tournament will be conducted this year from April 9th to April 12th.

The official website of the PIT can be found here.

Notes on the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

-Four Portsmouth alumni were drafted from last year’s tournament—the highest being the #31 pick Carl Landry—and another four players made an NBA roster on opening night. Four alumni were drafted amongst the top 39 picks in 2006, and ten total made an NBA roster that year. Jason Maxiell was drafted in the first round in 2005, after being named MVP of the event.

-This year’s senior class appears to have only two guaranteed first round picks, depending on who you talk to—Roy Hibbert and DeVon Hardin—although there could be a few more. We’ve excluded about eight more seniors from our projected invite list, based off what we’ve learned from years past.

-Some players (and the agents advising them) are quick to dismiss having to play in this tournament, because of its reputation for being geared more towards 2nd round picks, undrafted players and those headed for contracts in Europe. Many feel like if they have a good chance of being invited to the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando, they would be well served to avoid playing here.

While this is something we hear quite a bit, we feel like it is foolish to “put all your eggs in one basket” hoping you will get invited to Orlando, but also be put on a team that will allow you to fully showcase your skills. Last year we saw players like J.R. Reynolds or Mario Boggan for example turn down their invite, and then play so poorly at Orlando that they did not even get invited to participate in summer league later on. Others like Curtis Sumpter, Brandon Heath, or Trey Johnson should be kicking themselves right now for passing up getting extended looks from all 30 NBA teams at Portsmouth by passing up their invite. Quinton Hosley is a perfect example of how you never really know how the pre-draft process will play out. Despite coming from a small mid-major school, he turned down Portsmouth, only to get injured in Orlando, and of course ended up going undrafted. Now that he’s playing incredibly well in Europe, you can only wonder if he cheated himself out of showing those same skills to every NBA team that came to scout the event by not making the type of splash we knew he could have at Portsmouth.

-We’ve seen examples where players like Carl Landry (#31 pick, 2007), or Steve Novak (#32 pick, 2006) were able to offset poor performances at the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando with the work they already put in at Portsmouth a few months earlier. The old cliché says that “it only takes one NBA team to like you,” and one good outing alone in front of a watchful NBA executive could be all it takes to pique their interest and write your name down in their scouting book.

-An even more ironic example would be Adam Haluska, a player who made the all-tournament team at Portsmouth, but was shockingly not even invited to play in Orlando—yet still ended up being drafted at #43 by the New Orleans Hornets. Would he have been drafted still if he played in Orlando? Who knows…

-Another underrated aspect for the players just mentioned above is the fact that they may have cost themselves a substantial amount of money on their first professional contract by deciding not to attend Portsmouth. The tournament is heavily attended by teams from Spain and Italy in particular, but also France, Germany, Russia and other top-level European leagues. Even if a player is not expecting to play overseas anytime soon—it never hurts to have a backup plan, and allowing the top teams in Europe to establish a comfort level with a player could prove to be very lucrative down the road—even if it’s in 2-3 years.

- From what we saw last year, some of the best players at the Orlando pre-draft camp (Antanas Kavaliauskas, Zabian Dowdell for example) were seniors who gained some valuable experience playing at Portsmouth first. Having one tournament to help familiarize themselves with the pre-draft camp atmosphere and “get the monkey off their back” so to speak seemed to have helped. Players who know they are good enough to dominate can certainly not hurt themselves by going to Portsmouth and playing well.

-Further restricting the amount of exposure NBA draft prospects can receive during the process are the new rules put in place last year, which limits teams from organizing private workouts at their facilities until after the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando is conducted in early June. In the past teams were free to work out players throughout April and May, with most of these workouts being geared towards NCAA seniors. It would not be rare to see some players work out for 20 or more NBA teams during the process in the past.

Since teams only have three weeks in which to conduct private workouts (which will largely be geared towards finding the right player for their first round pick), there just won’t be as many opportunities as there were in the past for players to impress scouts with. That’s why many would be smart to take advantage of every one they have…

Notes on the list:

-This is not the official list made by the committee, but rather our own personal suggestions and observations of who will or should be invited, based on the large amount of games we’ve watched this year as well as our own conversations with NBA personnel, some of whom have input in who gets invited. With this being the 5th draft we are covering, this group of seniors has been watched closer by DraftExpress than any class ever, from the moment they stepped on campus as college freshman.

• The official list should come out about 4-5 days before the tournament kicks off. Currently, about 40 invites have been sent out, although some were known to be long-shots when they were sent, meaning those players who have not yet been invited shouldn’t be panicking yet.

• The team names listed are identical to the ones used at Portsmouth last year.

• The format of our list and teams was created as follow:

I. 8 teams, consisting of 8 players each.

II. A pool of approximately the 100 best senior draft prospects (not best senior players) in America was created.

III. The top 10 seniors on our senior rankings were taken off immediately, assuming that they will either not attend any of the two draft camps, or prefer to wait for the Orlando (formerly Chicago) pre-draft camp. History shows that in the case of Portsmouth, this is usually what happens. If you are wondering why players like Roy Hibbert, DeVon Hardin or Shan Foster for example are not “invited”, that is your answer.

IV. Since we are ranking the best "senior draft prospects," and not necessarily the "best seniors," NBA upside is at a premium over great production at times. Ideally we like to see both, but a player who has good size and athleticism for his position, and shows at least some of the coveted skills to play his NBA position, even inconsistently, will often garner an invite to see what they can do in a new setting against better competition.

• The pool of remaining players was distributed into 6 categories, and then split up evenly amongst the teams.

Suggested Rosters

-Keep in mind that the committee tries to keep a good balance between big men and guards, which means that sometimes players who are deserving of being invited will be left out to fulfill positional requirements. By nature, it's tougher to find big men than it is guards.

Centers: A rare commodity and the easiest position to get selected at, size, some athleticism and any resemblance of either a back to the basket game or advanced defensive and rebounding skills garners an invite. (ex: David Padgett, Sasha Kaun, Aleks Maric. Total invited: 12)

Undersized Centers/Power Forwards: Mostly made up of either pure power forwards, or back to the basket college centers who are undersized for the position and/or need to show some kind of potential/skills to play power forward, their natural position in the NBA because of their size. (ex: Darnell Jackson, Maarty Leunen, James Mays. Total invited: 12)

Combo Forwards: Players who played power forward in college, but who likely need to move down a position or two and play at least some small forward to make it in the NBA. (ex: Marcus Dove, Kyle Hines. Total invited: 8)

Swingmen: Players who played either shooting guard or small forward in college and display most of the characteristics the NBA looks for in that position. (ex:, Bryce Taylor, Richard Roby, J.R. Giddens. Total invited: 12)

Combo Guards: The toughest position to get invited from, these players are mostly college shooting guards who either did not play much point in their NCAA career, did not do a very good job convincing of their playmaking skills when they did, or show intriguing point guard skills to go along with shooting guard size. (ex: Chris Lofton, Antoine Agudio, Bo McCalebb. Total invited: 10)

Point Guards: The committee’s favorite, these are the guys that make everyone around them better and help the scouts out in separating the cream from the crop. Would Jason Maxiell have went in the 1st round two years ago without Will Conroy on his team? Would CJ Watson’s squad have won any games at all without him steering their ship? This is what makes the PIT both viable and watchable, and therefore is extremely important. (ex: Sean Singletary, Mike Green, Jamar Butler. Total invited: 10)

Suggested Rosters:


David Padgett, PF, 6' 11", Louisville
Tyrelle Blair, C, 6' 11", Boston College
Will Daniels, PF, 6' 8", Rhode Island
Marcel Jones, SF, 6' 8", Oregon State
Bryce Taylor, SG, 6' 5",Oregon
Derrick Low, PG/SG, 6' 2", Washington State
Brian Roberts, PG, 6' 2", Dayton
Drew Lavender, PG, 5' 7", Xavier


Kentrell Gransberry, PF, 6' 9", South Florida
Darian Townes, PF/C, 6' 10", Arkansas
Charles Rhodes, PF, 6' 8", Mississippi St.
Dion Dowell, SF, 6' 6", Houston
Richard Roby, SG, 6' 5", Colorado
Jaycee Carroll, SG, 6' 2", Utah State
Rob McKiver PG/SG, 6' 3", Houston
Marvin Kilgore, PG, 6' 3", UTEP


Aleks Maric, C, 6' 11", Nebraska
Frank Elegar, PF, 6' 9",Drexel
Dwayne Curtis, PF, 6' 8", Mississippi
Gavin Grant, SF, 6' 8", N.C. State
J.R. Giddens, SG, 6' 5",New Mexico
Mykal Riley, SG/SF, 6' 6", Alabama
Bryan Smithson, PG, 6' 0", UNC Asheville
Mike Green, PG, 6' 1", Butler


Steven Hill, C, 7' 0", Arkansas
Maarty Leunen, PF, 6' 9",Oregon
Joseph Jones, PF/C, 6' 9", Texas A&M
Gary Forbes, SG/SF, 6' 7", Massachusetts
Reggie Williams, SG, 6' 5", VMI
Chris Lofton, SG, 6' 2", Tennessee
Sundiata Gaines, PG, 6’1”, Georgia
Drew Neitzel, PG, 6' 0", Michigan State


Sasha Kaun, C, 6' 11", Kansas
Pat Calathes, SF, 6' 10", Saint Joseph's
Othello Hunter, PF, 6' 8", Ohio State
Kyle Hines, PF, 6' 6", UNC Greensboro
Alex Harris, SG, 6' 6", UC Santa Barbara
Joe Crawford, SG, 6' 4", Kentucky
A.J. Graves, PG/SG, 6' 1", Butler
Jamar Butler, PG, 6' 2", Ohio State


Brian Butch, PF, 6' 11", Wisconsin
Longar Longar, C, 6' 11", Oklahoma
Lorenzo Mata-Real, PF/C, 6' 9", UCLA
Deron Washington, SF, 6' 7", Virginia Tech
Brian Laing, SG, 6' 5", Seton Hall
Anthony Morrow, SG, 6' 5", Georgia Tech
Adrian Banks, SG, 6' 3", Arkansas State
Russell Robinson, PG, 6' 1", Kansas


Chris Daniels, C, 7' 0", TX A&M Corpus Christi
James Mays, PF, 6' 9", Clemson
Darnell Jackson, PF, 6' 8", Kansas
Malik Hairston, SG, 6' 6",Oregon
Sonny Weems, SG/SF, 6' 6", Arkansas
Antoine Agudio, PG/SG, 6' 3", Hofstra
Sean Singletary, PG, 6' 0", Virginia
Parfait Bitee, PG, 6' 2",Rhode Island


Mickell Gladness, PF/C, 6' 11", Alabama A&M
Shaun Pruitt, PF/C, 6' 10", Illinois
Abdullahi Kuso, PF, 6' 9", Gonzaga
Marcus Dove, SF, 6' 9",Oklahoma State
Marcelus Kemp, SG, 6' 5", Nevada
Demetric Bennett, SG, 6' 4", South Alabama
Bo McCalebb, PG, 6' 0", New Orleans
Jason Richards, PG, 6' 2", Davidson

Next Twenty Five Considered:

DeMario Anderson, SG, 6’4”, Quinnipiac
Ramel Bradley, PG/SG, 6’2”, Kentucky
Roy Bright, SF/PF, 6' 6", Delaware State
Draelon Burns, SG, 6’4”, DePaul
Bryant Dunston, PF, 6' 8", Fordham
Patrick Ewing Jr., SF/PF, 6’8”, Georgetown
Randal Falker, PF, 6' 7", Southern Illinois
Charron Fisher, PF, 6’5”, Niagara
Louis Graham, PF, 6’8”, Georgia Southern
Anthony King, PF, 6' 9", Miami
Dominique Kirk, PG, 6' 4", Texas A&M
Kyle Landry, PF, 6’9”, Northern Arizona
Michael Lee, PF, 6’9, St. Bonaventure
Taj McCullough, SF/PF, 6' 7", Winthrop
Jawann McClellan, SG, 6' 4", Arizona
Quan Prowell, PF, 6’8”, Auburn
AZ Reid, SF/PF, 6’6, High Point
JaJuan Smith, PG/SG, 6’2”, Tennessee
Greg Sprink, SF, 6’5”, Navy
Mark Tyndale, SG, 6’5”, Temple
Will Thomas, PF, 6’7”, George Mason
Manny Ubilla, PG/SG, 6’2”, Fairleigh Dickinson
Jonathan Wallace, PG, 6' 1", Georgetown
Leon Williams, PF, 6’6”, Ohio
Martin Zeno, SG, 6' 5", Texas Tech


Geary Claxton , SF, 6' 5”, Penn State (out with ACL tear)
Stefhon Hannah, PG, 6’1”, Missouri (legal issues)

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