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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Portsmouth Invitational Team Previews - Sales Systems Ltd.

C Derrick Nix (Michigan State) - Nix had perhaps his most memorable game of his career playing against Valparaiso in the second round of the NCAA Tournament this year. Nix is a huge body who is nimble on his feet and has soft touch around the basket. He's able to finish with both hands, throws around his weight well with a strong drop step, and has been coached up over the years by Tom Izzo. Nix gets over a third of his rebounds on the offensive end and his 1.1 steals per game shows that he is active on defense. He'll look to prove to scouts he can sustain that energy throughout an entire game and get out and defend ball screens on the perimeter.

SF James Ennis (Long Beach State) - James Ennis is one of the most explosive finishers in all of college basketball and participated in the college slam dunk contest. With his explosiveness, its no surprise that he is a great finisher at the rim and out in transition. He has great hangtime, but also shows the body control and strength to finish through contact. Ennis is still raw for the most part, but he's a gamer who fought hard to find ways to score. Defensively, he also has great potential but needs to play with a better court sense. His shooting has come along, but Id be hesitant to call him a reliable spot up option. With seasoning, Ennis could eventually make the NBA ala James White.

PF Ed Daniel (Murray State) - Daniel was a fringe invitee, but a guy I really felt was deserving and is capable of surprising people. He's an energy big who rebounds the ball with great intensity and is also very active and mobile on defense. He has a good basketball IQ and gets himself in good spots defensively to draw charges. Offensively, he has earned his stripes as a screener for Isaiah Canaan, but is also very fluid rolling off those screens and finishing towards the basket. If Daniel shows he can rebound well against the bigs in this event, then just maybe you will start hearing his name more often.

PG Brandon Triche (Syracuse) - Triche is a very well built guard who became a lot more aggressive this season attacking off the dribble. He's both explosive and strong getting to the lane and getting to the line is his biggest strength. Triche struggles in the mid-range area, however, and often gets himself in trouble because of it. His lack of mid-range game forces him to overpenetrate and try to muscle up some question shots at the rim and/or commit charges. Also, while he is a point guard, Triche has never been granting the main point guard duties in his four years at Syracuse. His shooting has also been suspect. Defensively, he has the tools to be a good defender but has been stuck in a zone his whole career. It will be interesting to see him play man to man at Portsmouth.

PG Khalif Wyatt (Temple) - Wyatt is a big time scorer at the college leve despite his athletic shortcomings. Wyatt can score on anybody because he doesn't rely on his athleticism, but instead relies on a bag full of tricks and hesitation moves. He knows how to draw fouls and has mastered the art of kicking his legs out on 3-pt shots. Wyatt is also a good and smart passer, although he isn't quick enough to get into the lane and constantly make plays for teammates. Instead, he uses his size to see over the defense for nice passes. When he gets into the lane, Wyatt is more often in scoring mode and looking to draw the defense off balance - which he does more often than not. At Portsmouth, it will be interesting to see him running the point with some scoring options around him and how he is able to get them the ball. We know he can score in any setting.

PG Rotnei Clarke (Butler) - Clarke isn't an NBA player, but is a dangerous shooter with unlimited range from behind the arc. After 3 seasons at Arkansas, he transferred to Butler for his senior season where he once again shot right around 40% from 3 on a high number of attempts. Despite only being 6'0 and lacking quickness, Clarke  only needs a little bit of space to get his shot off and has no problem in doing so. While NBA scouts likely won't be intrigued by what they see, Clarke is a guy who should catch the eyes of European scouts in attendance.

SF Carrick Felix (Arizona State) - Felix took an odd path to Arizona State, coming from a junior college and then originally committing to Duke. This year he finally broke out playing in a more open offense installed by Herb Sendek and ran by Jahii Carson. Felix played with a motor that was always running, putting in great work on the offensive glass and in transition. He also was able to stretch the defense out from behind the arc and defend the oppositions best player with intensity. Felix's style of play was very efficient and he also did a lot of things that didn't show up in the box score. He's a great athlete who will get a chance to show what else his offensive game consists of besides spot up jumpers and opportunities at the rim.

PF Jared Berggren (Wisconsin) - Berggren has the look of your typical Wisconsin player and in a lot of ways is. He wasn't highly recruited, redshirted his freshman year, and then sat on his bench much of the next two years until finally getting a chance to start his junior season. He earned his way into the rotation as just another piece on a really balanced offensive attack, but showed some intrigue with his combination of a post game and ability to hit jumpers form both the mid-range and 3-pt area. Berggren's toughness is also impressive and his improved rebounding this year is a good sign, even though he still leaves plenty to be desired and lacks both strength and athleticism. It will be interesting to see if he can stand out in Portsmouth or just blends in and looks like an average player. One thing that helps him is his defense - a very underrated aspect to his game.

Most likely draft pick?

Carrick Felix is not only the best player on this team, but one of the best prospects in the entire event. Fingers are still crossed that he stays in the event as other small forwards like Robert Covington and Solomon Hill have pulled their names out.

Summer League Stars?

James Ennis is the ideal summer league player, capable of putting on a show in Vegas. He's also a guy that can make the NBA with continued progression. Khalif Wyatt could earn a NBA roster spot with a good summer league performance while I see both Ed Daniel and Brandon Triche possibly making some noise in Vegas.

European Bound?

Rotnei Clarke, Jared Berggren, and Derrick Nix don't have much of a shot at the NBA, but all three of them have qualities that could make them appealing to European teams. Khalif Wyatt could also go this route and make himself a lot of money.

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