Our correspondent Adam Reeves continues his Portsmouth Reports
I’m back in sunny suburban Portsmouth for the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Last night, Ramel Bradley had a decent start to the tournament, showcasing his athleticism and boundless enthusiasm in a losing effort. Tonight, Joe Crawford will take the floor for CHERRY, BEKAERT & HOLLAND (mascots not supplied). His team features, among others, Patrick Ewing Jr from G-town, JuJuan Smith from UT and Derrick Low from Washington St. They’ll face a somewhat less star-laden squad that brings Mykal Riley from Alabama. It will be an interesting challenge for Joe to establish himself offensively tonight amongst the others who will be looking to make an impact on his own team.
In other action, tonight at 9, Chris Lofton will take on a familiar foe in Sundiata Gaines when their respective teams square off in the night cap. Unfortunately impending final exams prevent me from blogging that match up, so my apologies go out to Macon Vol Fan.
Earlier this afternoon, Ramel saw more action and apparent from the box score, he really impressed. He was the high scorer from the game and his team got the W, for whatever difference that makes in this tournament. Bradley Boxscore
Most importantly, he got the most minutes out of anyone, and in a situation where you are trying to get noticed, being on the floor obviously helps your cause.
After the first half, Joe is looking really good. The competition for the ball that I expected to complicate things for him never seemed to materialize, though Patrick Ewing Jr. does hog the ball a bit. Joe managed to show the scouts a bit of everything from his game. He had several of his patented drives to the basket, muscling through several defenders. He hit a couple of deep threes from the outside as well. What is crucial for any of the players here attempting to make the NBA is an ability to create your own offense, and Joe is certainly showing that off this evening. He ended up the first half with probably 12 points, and only sat out 2 minutes of the entire half. He didn’t necessarily assert himself on the defensive end, but lets face it, who in this thing is asserting themselves on defense? Overall, a great first impression.
A few other observations:
Derrick Low hasn’t really made any noise in the game so far as point guard for Joe’s team. In fact, not too many other players have really stood out. Joe Seemed to be the only one who can create on the fly. Of course as I write this, JuJuan Smith just caught a huge alley-oop from Patrick Ewing Jr, so what do I know?
Speaking of JuJuan Smith, and this is for you Macon, he hasn’t seen too much action thus far. He made a 3, and had a couple of big rebounds, but he’s kind of gotten lost in the shuffle otherwise. On the other hand, he appears to be wearing his UT shorts under his PIT issued uni. You can’t miss that shade of orange. For the other team, Mykal Riley has had a similar experience, hitting a couple shots but not really making too much noise.
As the last minute ticks down from Joe’s first game in the PIT, it looks as if he is going to finish an impressive showing on the bench. Crawford’s second half performance was less eye catching than his first, but it did include several drives to the basket, often going through three defenders to get there.
The other players that stood out were the game high scorer Reggie Williams from VMI. The Virginia players tend to get a favorable reaction from the PA Announcer, and Williams is no exception. It was getting absurd in the second half where everytime Williams made a basket the announcer screamed his name repeatedly. JuJuan Smith became more aggressive in the second half, hitting a couple of threes and appeared to really be getting after it on the defensive end. He did seem visibly frustrated with himself at times as his effort failed to match his output in the box score.
Overall, this is a good start for both Joe and Ramel. Joe showed his versatility and penchant for creating offense. That will surely be recalled when the scouts look back on the performances from the weekend. Ramel really turned it on in the second half, doing better than just “pretty good,” and certainly made up for any deficiencies in the first game.
Recall what the Pacers scout told me yesterday. This event is in no way determinative for any of these players getting selected in the draft, but it is a step in that direction. The next big event for them is the NBA try out camp in Orlando, and more definite opinions will be formed then. That’s all for me from Portsmouth. You can find more information about the games and the boxscores here: http://www.portsmouthinvitational.com/scores.php