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Portsmouth Invitational Update: Ramel and Joe

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KSR loyal reader and now part-time correspondent Adam Reeves is live at the NBA event at the Portsmouth Invitational to watch Ramel and Joe begin the path to their NBA lives. Here is his first report:

Hello from the Portsmouth Invitational in gloomy SE Virginia. I got here after 7 and saw most of the first game between Holiday Inn and the Tidewater Sealants, featuring Charles Rhodes from Mississippi State, and Pat Calathes from St. Joseph’s (Nick’s older brother). The teams here each have 8 players (don’t foul out), with most coming from a variety of conferences. Here is the link for the rosters:

Since the first game featured no real players of interest for UK fans, I instead decided to harass the NBA scouts I was sitting next to until they answered my questions. One Pacers scout (and former BCG assistant at UTEP) informed me that this tournament really works as just one step in the continuing process of trying to get noticed by the NBA scouts before draft day. Since these players are all college seniors, he said that most of the NBA teams had already been watching these guys for quite some time. The key here, he says, is just not to really screw up. He did add, at my encouragement, that a player could really stand out and improve his draft stock, like Chuck Hayes back in 2005 when he was the MVP of this tournament.

While the scouts show up to this apparently with no guys specifically in mind to follow, the scout I talked to did say that this crowd was looking at *hopefully* getting picked somewhere in the second round, and that’s about it. When asked about the comments that Joe Crawford had been mentioned as going in the second round, he quickly commented that both Ramel and Joe could easily see their names called in the second round, particularly in the latter half when the better teams tend to take fliers on players. (Or like when Isiah gets involved…)

The scout chalked up the first year of BCG’s tenure here at UK to be the before and after of a “culture shock.” Surprising no one within earshot, he said that BCG is “one tough dude,” and he felt the players really had to adjust to him. No mention of whether BCG had to adjust to Lexington. We did broach the Oklahoma State rumors, and he said that when you have a billion dollars (with a “B”) you can go after anyone you wanted, and while BCG might listen to these pricey overtures, he didn’t think that Billy would seriously consider them.

More on the event itself… this thing is being held in the gym of the Churchland High School Truckers. That’s right… “Truckers.” I don’t think I even need to make a joke about that one. The games, as one would guess, are rather disjointed and confused looking, due to both nerves and the fact that none of these guys played with one another. Most of the time the crowd sits wondering who the heck that guy was that just threw the ball away. Nature of the event, I suppose. A few players, though, did stand out from the first match up of the evening. Joseph Jones from Texas A&M is a hoss inside, and is really effective since there seem to be no other real big guys in this tournament. Pat Calathes is not the shooter his brother his, but as Jay Bilas would say, he has “length.” So I guess he has that going for him, which is nice. Bo MCalebb from New Orleans (U?) had a couple impressive drives and at one point dunked over Jones from A&M. His family, seated next to me at the time, got excited about that one. Speaking of families, several are in attendance, particularly that of Baylor guard Aaron Bruce, who as it appears has a really cute girlfriend. Kentucky seems well represented here, with a fan total (not counting me) of 2. And Joe Crawford appears to be in the stands as well, though he wont see the floor until tomorrow night.

I’ll go ahead and wrap this up since Ramel’s team is about to take the floor, but I will say that it is a weird experience. The Scouts sit at one end zone and stare rather blankly at the players while occasionally taking notes. My guess is that ain’t nobody going to get drafted thanks to this experience, but you never know…

Article written by Matt Jones