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Final games tell a tale
by George Rodecker / April 11, 2004

Three games were played as the curtain came down of the 52nd edition of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.

In the consolation game in the afternoon, Norfolk Sports Club clubbed Holiday Inn 102-79, behind 19 points from David Hawkins. Jackson Vroman concluded a fantastic three-day effort with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

Holiday Inn was paced by Luke Whitehead’s 17 points. Anthony Myles tallied 12 points and 12 rebounds.

In the tourney’s third place game, Tidewater Sealants escaped with a 91-88 victory over MD Designs. Cory
Violette
turned in a masterpiece with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Bryant Matthews added 20 points.

MD was paced once again by Andre Brown, who got 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Ricky Minard also scored 19 points.

The highly anticipated finale proved to be little more than a walk over as Norfolk Naval Shipyard dismantled Beach Barton Ford 100-85. In reaching 100 in all three games, Norfolk was paced this time by Dylan Page’s 23 point-effort. Tony Bobbitt added 19 points and Antonio Burks had a spectacular game, netting 16 points, 10 assists and four steals.

Beach Barton was led by Michel Morandais, who totaled 25 points. Nigel Dixon added 10 points and 10 boards.

WRAP-UP

Bobbitt was named MVP over teammate Burks. All-tourney team is always announced on the Monday following the camp...

After two strong games, Desmond Farmer limped home with a 2-9 shooting effort...

Jaeson Maravich won the sportsmanship award...

All the players left knowing that as many as 12 of them could capture invitations to the prestigious Chicago Pre-Draft Camp in June...

Jabahri Brown went down with an undisclosed injury and was replaced by Nate Williams, whose team had been eliminated. Williams scored 16 points and finished the camp with three solid efforts.

EVALUATIONS

As the camp concluded, several NBA talent evaluators had completed their evaluations of the players and
while most were willing to discuss their thoughts, they did so anonymously. Their consensus opinions regarding several of the players in no particular order follows:

Luis Flores: Still hasn’t shown the point guard skills required to play in the NBA. He can shoot it from anywhere. Likely bound for a Spanish speaking country.

Nate Williams: A player that needs to be seen again. A sure-fire Chicago invitee, Williams impressed everyone running the floor and playing well in the paint at both ends of the floor.

Darius Rice: A player in need of many things: upper body strength, intensity, spirit and aggressive play. A once-upon-a-time highly regarded player who hasn’t improved very much during his college years.

Andre Barrett: A well regarded, but undersized point guard who may have turned over too many times to offset his obvious skills. Still a Chicago possibility.

Michel Morandais: One of the camp's best players, he impressed running the floor, defending and solid shooting. A Chicago lock, there’s actually some early second round support building.

Brian Boddicker: A pleasant surprise who shot it well and played tough inside, while running the floor. A likely Chicago attendee who may have played his way into the second-round mix.

Nigel Dixon: The overweight prospect reported in decent enough shape to intrigue. His soft shot and rugged interior play may have him a ticket to Chicago as well. He’ll need to further slim down to play at the next level.

Andre Brown: Spirited play impressed many and he showed an ability to tough it out inside as well as finish his shots. Likely on the Chicago waiting list.

Cory Violette: A mixed bag of opinions with many thinking he played himself into contention, while others just think he overachieved during the camp.

James Thomas: Undersized body, but oversized effort. A tireless worker who runs roughshod inside the paint, Thomas’s dilemma is just where does he play in the pros. An invitation to Chicago might come to find that answer.

Desmond Farmer: Solid play in the first two games was followed by a lackluster effort in the title game. He’s showed flashes of NBA caliper talent, but also disappears too often.

Tony Bobbitt: The MVP of the camp may still not have an NBA game, but the award almost makes a Chicago
trip automatic. A good open floor shooter, some question his defensive intensity.

Dylan Page: A surprising effort that gives him some better opportunities overseas. He could get some looks for individual workouts, but that’s about it.

Erik Daniels: A lot of support for one of the hardest players in camp. A good shooter, better rebounder, and a good passer. He endeared himself to many with his energy and results.

Antonio Burks: The top point guard in camp, Burks is a lock for Chicago, and has early second-round support from many.

Ricky Minard: Shot it well, but didn’t do anything especially well enough to garner NBA attention. A fill-in at Chicago is still possible.

Jackson Vroman: The top big man in camp, Vroman finished well, ran the floor, hit the glass and defended exceptionally well. Chicago is all but guaranteed.

Travon Bryant: A solid performance without any flash, Bryant impressed though effort, energy, and overall efficiency. He does nothing great, but many things well.

The following players left Portsmouth with NBA guys still trying to get a read. They won’t go to Chicago, but many will be called in to participate in workouts. They are:

Royal Ivey, Texas
David Hawkins, Temple
Marcus Douthit, Providence
Bryant Matthews, Virginia Tech
Michael Watson, UM-Kansas City
Aerick Sanders, San Diego State
Justin Reed, Mississippi

That’s 26 of the 64 players in camp. Many of these players will now return to finish college and then compete in workouts in front of the NBA teams.

The odds are long every year for Portsmouth players. But for those who dream, they can look to a one-time
Division II player who showed up at Portsmouth but never got drafted. They can look to an NBA All-Star
named Ben Wallace.

George Rodecker is in his twelfth season of providing expert analysis on the NBA Draft. He has been diligent in pursuing analysis by acquiring the consensus opinions of experts. Rodecker also writes for Basketball Times, Eastern Basketball and College Hoops Insider, as well as consulting privately with several pro teams and leagues around the globe

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