By Rob Reheuser, for NBA.com
Posted Apr 15 2012 7:34PM
They were chanting his name. Okay, so it was just one woman, apparently a close family friend of Wichita State's Garrett Stutz, passionately imploring the coaches of Roger Brown's to re-insert Stutz into the lineup, with the championship game of the 2012 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament hanging in the balance.
She had a point. Stutz, the lone true seven-footer in the field, was having his way in the post with Georgetown's Henry Sims and Norfolk State's Kyle O'Quinn, two of the best big men in this year's field.
What the president of the Stutz fan club failed to realize is that coaches at the PIT do their very best to ensure that all the players get equal time to shine in front of scouts from around the world. Mission accomplished for Stutz, who finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and two blocks to lead Roger Brown's to a 92-87 win over Portsmouth Sports Club.
Solid through two games with limited scoring opportunities in the post, as Roger Brown's pushed the pace in order to take advantage of its superior athleticism, Stutz had the full arsenal going when it mattered most. He scored on jump hooks. He faced up and knocked down a few medium range shots. He gave Sims and O'Quinn fits throughout, then calmly took a seat and let his teammates take it the rest of the way.
In three games, Stutz averaged 14.7 points and 11.0 rebounds, and in the process, has forced teams to really take a closer look at his body of work from this past season. What he lacks in terms of athleticism and brute strength in the post, he makes up for with know-how and touch. He might not have enough for the NBA at this stage, but he's clearly a player whose progress needs to be monitored closely.
Missouri's Ricardo Ratliffe added 16 points and 12 rebounds for Roger Brown's. Ratliffe was a bit of a mixed bag this week. When dialed in and focused on the things he does well -- throwing around his chiseled physique in the paint, running the floor and bringing energy -- he's an intriguing player. When he steps away from the basket and shoots 20-footers, he loses some appeal.
It's understandable that, at 6-7, he'd like to show scouts he has some three skills, but expanding your game should never come at the expense of what you do well. Ratliffe made a name for himself this season as a garbage man, and he stills needs to remember to take out the garbage.
Sims led Portsmouth Sports Club with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to cap off an impressive showing that got better with each game. Sims, who did much of his damage this season for the Hoyas operating in the high post and leading the team in assists, was clearly a bit rattled by the physical nature of play that marked the tournament's first few games.
In his defense, not enough fouls were being called early on. It's one thing to let players play. It's another to allow the game to be distorted. Both Sims and the officiating got better with each game. Measuring out at 6-10 in bare feet, Sims has ample size to play center in the NBA. If he can add more aggression to his overall makeup, he could make an NBA team next year.
The same holds true for O'Quinn, who finished up with eight points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for Portsmouth Sports Club, and was named the PIT's Most Valuable Player.
Alabama's JaMychal Green could make a strong argument he deserved MVP honors (more on that later), but O'Quinn was a solid choice, as he averaged 11.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. He clearly has the physical profile to play in the NBA -- teams will go crazy over his 7-7 wingspan -- but will need to bring it every night, which wasn't always the case during his college career against lower level competition.
In the third place game, the aforementioned Green had 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead Portsmouth Partnership to a 78-75 win over Cherry Bekaert & Holland.
In three games, Green averaged 19.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, while shooting a robust 64 percent from the field. He was relentless in the post throughout, scoring on dunks and put-backs, but also stepped away from basket and knocked down 17-footers with regularity, and looked good doing so.
If you go off recent history, there aren't many players with his size and ability that haven't been given a long, hard look from the NBA. In fact, most guys like Green get drafted, and he certainly has a good chance to hear his named called on Draft night, especially after this performance. Teams still have concerns about his off-the-court issues, so there's some work to do in that area.
High Point's Nick Barbour added 14 points, while Seton Hall's Jordan Theodore finished a very strong camp with 13 points and 11 assists for Portsmouth Partnership.
Barbour wasn't shy this week, launching 37 shots in three games, though be made a bunch, averaging 13.7 points. Not a point guard by any stretch of the imagination, and checking in at around 6-1, Barbour is not a strong prospect for the NBA, but will play (and score) somewhere next season.
Theodore, who led the tournament in assists (8.0 apg), and also averaged 13.0. points, was the best point guard in the field. An unheralded recruit, who turned himself into one of the better players in the Big East, Theodore did extremely well for himself, and has a bright future.
In the fifth-place game, South Florida's Gus Gilchrist basically grabbed every rebound in sight, finishing with 21 boards to go with 19 points, as Norfolk Sports Club defeated Sales Systems LTD, 88-71.
No surprise after this game that Gilchrist led the PIT in rebounding (16.7 rpg), while averaging 13.0 points, quite a step up from the 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds he averaged this season. Was this a case of fool's gold? The answer to that will come at some point, though Gilchrist deserves kudos for playing extremely hard in all three games. He's still very rough around the edges in the post, and his shooting form contains multiple hitches before he reaches the apex, but he measured well and has a strong body. He'll make a living somewhere.
Buffalo's Mitchell Watt finished up a strong tournament with 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Norfolk Sports Club. The Player of the Year in the MAC Conference, Watt really mixed it up, and also showed flashes of skill in the post. He's a little thin, and would have trouble handling big fours in the NBA, but Watt is the kind of player who doesn't back down.
BYU-Hawaii's Jet Chang, a Division II All-American, finished on a solid scoring note, leading Sales Systems LTD with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He also didn't have a single rebound or assist, which basically summed up his play here this week. When he made shots, he looked okay. When he didn't, he failed to move the needle as a serious prospect.
In the seventh-place game, Missouri State's Kyle Weems scored 20 points, and Julian Mavunga of Miami (OH) added 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead Mike Duman Auto Sales to an 88-78 win over K&D Rounds Landscaping.
Weems got hot midway through his second game here this week, and basically stayed hot the rest of the way, averaging 13.0 points on 49 percent shooting for the tournament. Though not a superior run-jump type athlete, Weems is pretty well put together (6-foot-7, 225), has a nice offensive feel and can really stroke it. Based on how he played here, a team would be smart to bring him in over the summer and see how he performs.
Mavunga showed very well over three games, averaging 13.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Billed as more of a post player at Miami (OH), Mavunga showed excellent versatility as a ball-handler and passer, and played with great patience and pace. His body needs work, but scouts were buzzing about his performance at the conclusion of the tournament.
Fairfield's Rakim Sanders was almost a one-man show for K&D Rounds Landscaping, finishing with 26 points on 11-for-13 shooting, to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Had his team managed to win a game or two, Sanders also had a strong case for MVP consideration, averaging 19.3 points and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting 60 percent from the field.
Sanders likely caught teams off guard with his exceptional performance, and can expect a ton of calls over the next few weeks, as the Draft picture begins to take shape. He might not be the type of player that makes it through the front door on June 28, 2012, but teams have officially unlocked the screen door in the back.
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