The 65th annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT), which featured 64 of the nation’s top college seniors competing in a four-day, 12-game event in front of team representatives from across the NBA, concluded on Saturday, April 15. Below is a recap of the tournament:
The result was a foregone conclusion.
Portsmouth Partnership had won its previous two games by an average of 29 points and led by as many as 25 in the championship game against Roger Brown’s Restaurant.
The matter of choosing the tournament MVP was more uncertain, though, with four Portsmouth Partnership players having worked their way into the conversation as the title game unfolded. George Washington’s Tyler Cavanaugh displayed effortless shooting range on his way to finishing second in the PIT in scoring (19.3 ppg). Houston’s Damyean Dotson was explosive and efficient throughout the tournament. Iowa State’s Deonte Burton was a whirling dervish of power and skill packed into a unique 6-4, 266-pound frame. And Miami’s Davon Reed showed his versatility and high motor.
In the end, it was the totality of Dotson’s performance that separated him from the pack. The 6-5 guard, who finished his career at Houston after two seasons at Oregon, averaged 14.7 points on 55.9 percent shooting and added 6.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds at Portsmouth. He scored in a variety of ways and made few mistakes while bringing consistent effort at both ends of the floor.
The 6-9 Cavanaugh, who played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, gave scouts a lot to think about as a potential stretch forward in the NBA. Burton, who concluded his career at Iowa State after two seasons at Marquette, affects the game in many ways; he averaged 14.7 points, 3.7 assists, 2.0 blocks (tied for first) and 1.7 steals at the PIT. The 6-6 Reed, the top scholar-athlete in ACC men’s basketball, averaged 13.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
It’s not often that a Division II player steps up in class to the Division I ranks and excels the way Colorado’s Derrick White did in his only season at the top level.
White had a decorated career at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where he was named to the D-II All-America team in his junior year and led his team to the NCAA D-II Tournament in consecutive years. After sitting out the 2015-16 season at Colorado, he used his size, agility and playmaking ability to earn First Team Pac-12 honors this past season.
Those attributes were on full display at the PIT, where the 6-5 White led Roger Brown’s Restaurant to the championship game. His best sequence came in his second game, when he hit a game-tying three-pointer to force overtime against Sales Systems, Ltd. With his team trailing by one point in overtime, White made two free throws with two seconds remaining to give Roger Brown’s a 106-105 victory.
White, who averaged 15.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the tournament, was mentioned by scouts as a potential participant at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago from May 9-14 (a minimum of five spots are reserved for PIT standouts). White’s ability to pass, drive or shoot over defenders makes him an intriguing prospect.
London Perrantes spent his first three seasons at Virginia dishing to future NBA players Justin Anderson, Joe Harris, Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Tobey. As a senior on a much younger Cavaliers team, the pass-first point guard was called on to be more of a scorer.
Perrantes effectively adjusted to the role, leading Virginia to 23-11 record and another trip to the NCAA Tournament. At the PIT, however, Perrantes went back to emphasizing his playmaking, dishing out 26 assists in three games as a fan favorite with the Virginia-based crowd.
Perrantes possesses a high basketball IQ and knows how to play with high-level players. He navigates the pick-and-roll with aplomb and makes few mistakes.
AROUND THE PIT
• Duke’s Matt Jones, a member of the Blue Devils’ 2015 national championship team, tied for sixth in scoring (17.3 ppg) and led the tournament in steals (2.7 spg). The 6-5 guard’s ability to defend wings and make open three-pointers puts him in the popular “3-and-D” category.
• Derek Willis, a lean 6-9 forward from Kentucky, shot 4-for-9 from three-point range and averaged 7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Willis, a career 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc, spaces the floor with his shooting and has improved as a rebounder and passer.
• Cal’s Jabari Bird, a 6-6 guard, showed off his NBA-caliber athleticism while averaging 14.3 points on 60 percent shooting. Bird is a former McDonald’s All-American from Richmond, Calif.
• Michigan’s Zak Irvin (10.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.3 spg) is an excellent perimeter defender who uses his size (6-6, 215 pounds) and strength to body up opposing wing players. He is also a good passer who doesn’t turn the ball over at a high rate. Irving led the nation in total minutes as a senior.
• Connecticut’s Amida Brimah, a 6-10 center from Ghana with a 7-6 wingspan, tied for the tournament lead in blocks (2.0 bpg) and forced many players to reconsider their forays to the rim.
• An NBA scout described SMU’s Ben Moore as “all legs and arms.” It was meant as a compliment for a player who impacts the game with his relentless energy and activity. The 6-8 Moore averaged 11.3 points on 81.3 percent shooting, getting a steady diet of dunks and put-backs. He is also an elite defender who can guard multiple positions.
• Eastern Washington’s Jacob Wiley took the scenic route to Portsmouth. After one season at Montana, he quit basketball and joined the track team. He eventually returned to basketball, playing two seasons at Lewis & Clark State College in Idaho before moving on to Eastern Washington, where he was the Big Sky Player of the Year as a senior. Wiley finished tied for sixth in scoring (17.3 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (9.3 rpg) at Portsmouth.
• Florida’s Canyon Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry, had a nice showing with 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. A solid athlete and capable shooter, Canyon joined the Gators for the 2016-17 season as a graduate transfer from the College of Charleston.
• Minnesota Timberwolves general manager Scott Layden was the guest speaker at this year’s Celebrity Luncheon. The longtime NBA executive had a hand in the Utah Jazz’s decision to draft John Stockton after the Hall of Fame point guard’s standout performance at the 1984 PIT. During the luncheon, Layden paid tribute to former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause, who passed away last month.