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Old 04-13-2009, 09:27 AM   #8
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Default Re: Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Day 3
Wesley Matthews showed off his total package of skills today, doing a great job of playing within his team’s offense while still finding a plethora of opportunities to score for his team. Matthews’ constant motion off the ball and ability to recognize how to attack seams in the defense is very impressive, and he takes full advantage of it with strong drives to the lane and finishes at the basket. Matthews is looking a bit more athletic with the ball than we expected, having at least adequate athleticism for the NBA with his playing style, going strong to the whole while angling his body well to protect the ball.

Matthews’ ball-handling has been a mixed bag, at time showing impressive crossover drives while attacking the basket in either direction, but at others he’s struggled to maintain his handle, specifically in traffic where he is prone to lose control.

Matthews did a good job in other areas as well, showing very good court vision and decision-making ability while dishing out quite a few smart passes. His outside shot wasn’t falling today, though he didn’t force the issue with it, instead taking advantage of his slashing game as aforementioned. On the defensive end, Matthews played his usual tough defense, stifling the likes of Ryan Toolson.

-B.J. Raymond had yet another outstanding showing, knocking down another four 3-pointers (bringing him to 8 so far, on just 11 attempts) for an efficient 16 points. Raymond is one of the most vocal players you’ll find here on the defensive end, acting as somewhat of a captain for his team on this end of the floor, and really setting the tone for his teammates himself with the work he puts in. Despite not showing great lateral quickness, Raymond moves his feet exceptionally well and can really anticipate, playing a solid, fundamental brand of perimeter defense, and pretty much shutting down whoever he’s been asked to guard. His ball-handling appears to be average at best, and he seems to have problems finishing around the basket when driving in traffic, although he was able to finish nicely through contact in a few transition situations. Sitting right next to his team’s bench, you could constantly hear his voice during timeouts. It’s no surprise that his team is in the finals despite having likely the tournament’s worst “point guard” (the ultra selfish and constant showoff David Holston) running the show for them. It’s becoming more and more obvious why Raymond was such a winner as a college player in his time at Xavier.

-Tyrese Rice followed up a solid day first game performance with a fairly poor outing, posting 10 points on 3-11 shooting with 3 assists and 3 turnovers. He struggled in particular trying to finish around the basket, as his lack of size, strength and explosiveness really hindered him from converting his drives amongst the trees. He showed nice court vision, but also mixed that in with some risky passes that led to turnovers, and also had a very tough time on the defensive end, where he was pushed around a bit and had a hard time making his presence felt due to his below average size.

-Jon Brockman cooled off a bit from yesterday, but still managed to pull in 16 rebounds while scoring 11 points. Brockman diversified his game by hitting a couple of spot-up 15-foot jumpers (a significant development for him) and he continued to make his presence felt in the paint by throwing his body around and using his magnet hands to pull down boards over the opposition. In the pre-game, Brockman’s teammate were putting on a dunk contest and Brockman demonstrated a bit more of his explosive vertical leap that we were surprised to see yesterday, but he still hasn’t found a way to translate it to actual game situations, being seemingly unable to power up from most basketball positions. Whoever Brockman trains with this summer, he should put an emphasis on trying to mix that into his game, as well as continuing to hone his mid-range jump-shot. Brockman continues to be mentioned by scouts here as a sleeper prospect to slip in the second round.

-Kyle McAlarney had a better performance, seemingly playing very well, even though he only finished with 15 points on 15 shot attempts along with 4 assists. McAlarney did a very good job getting open and getting off quick threes with perfect form, something he’s known to excel at, however his shots weren’t falling as often as he’d like in the first half, even though they looked good. McAlarney also looked good on a few floaters in the lane, which he gets off with ease despite his lack of athleticism and size.

-A.D. Vassallo didn’t score quite as much as yesterday while also being much less efficient with the ball, scoring 10 points on 11 shots along with 4 turnovers. He shows a smooth pull-up game and can convert on a lot of high difficulty shots, but he’s failing to show what else he brings to the table, not excelling on the defensive end or contributing in many other areas.

-Ahmad Nivins had a much better performance today with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, abusing opposing bigs Bamba Fall and Men McCauley, who were simply no match for his physicality and size. Nivins scored on a lot of simple moves, cutting to the basket, sealing his man beneath the rim, or finishing on the pick-and-roll, getting off a lot of high-percentage lay-ups even though he played quite below the rim. Today he matches with Marcus Cousin and Tony Gaffney, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can still perform in the lane against more formidable defenders, something that has always been a question mark due to his average athleticism.

-A.J. Abrams dropped 23 points today, going 8-17 from the field, 2-6 from three, and 5-6 from the line. He took some tough shots off the dribble, but made a number of contested catch and shoot jumpers from the outside. He also made a major impact on the defensive end, showing great anticipation in the passing lanes en route to 5 steals. This game was largely indicative of what kind of player Abrams is: a scorer who can bring the ball up the floor, but isn’t going to make his teammates better. Despite his ability to get steals, there are still plenty of question marks regarding who he might defend at the next level.

-Robert Vaden came alive today, knocking down 5 of the 8 three-pointers he attempted. His stroke is extremely compact, and he was able to get it off with little trouble today –even when he was well defended. He takes some extremely questionable shots on a regular basis, which probably isn’t endearing him to any of his teammates. Vaden hasn’t really shown much else besides his perimeter shooting ability.
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