By Kevin Sweeney
In many ways, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament was the original scouting combine. Rather than focusing on how fast a player can run, how high he can jump, or how long his wingspan is, The PIT brings together the top 64 seniors in college basketball, grouping them in teams of 8. A strong performance can be parlayed into an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine, a summer league invite, or even into position to be drafted. It also provides plenty of exposure to scouts from top overseas leagues.
This year, Portsmouth Partnership took home the title, with Houston wing Damyean Dotson taking home Tournament MVP honors. However, there were a ton of former mid-major stars who put on an excellent display. Here’s a look at some of the guys who boosted their stock the most.
Tyler Cavanaugh (George Washington)- While Dotson was named MVP, you could have easily made a case for Cavanaugh to receive that honor. Also playing for Portsmouth Partnership, Cavanaugh ranked second among all participants with 19.3 points per game, while also averaging 6.3 rebounds and connecting on 6 of his 13 3-point attempts. The 6-9 Cavanaugh has excellent size for the power forward position and showcased his ability to stretch the floor this weekend. I truly believe Cavanaugh could work his way onto an NBA roster this fall based on his performance at the PIT.
Jacob Wiley (Eastern Washington)- Wiley is certainly undersized for a big man at the next level, but his energy and hustle popped off the screen whenever I watched him play. Despite standing just 6-7, Wiley was a force on the glass and finished well around the rim. He put on one of the performances of the tournament with a 29 point, 11 rebound display on Friday. I expect Wiley to get plenty of calls from European scouts following this weekend’s showing.
Justin Robinson (Monmouth)- With Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics taking the NBA by a storm this season, I’m sure there are plenty of NBA teams looking for the next short guard ready to dominate the league. Enter Justin Robinson. The 5-8 Robinson sliced through defenses with his drives to the hoop, while tying London Perrantes for tops in the tournament with 8.7 assists per game. He also took care of the ball extremely well, turning the ball over just 5 times in 3 games. Having watched a ton of Robinson’s games at Monmouth, it was no surprise to see him put on a show in Portsmouth. I believe Robinson did enough to earn an invite to the NBA Draft Combine, which will give him the opportunity to impress more NBA scouts.
JaCorey Williams (Middle Tennessee)- Williams led the tournament in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game. His multi-faceted offensive game combined with his excellent athleticism and strength makes him a matchup nightmare on that end of the floor. It’s incredible to think that 2 years ago, Williams had just been kicked off the team at Arkansas and his basketball career seemed in jeopardy. Now, he has a chance to compete for an NBA roster spot.
Emmanuel Omogbo (Colorado State)- Omogbo was a double-double machine at CSU, and that didn’t change this weekend in Portsmouth. He was one of just 2 players who averaged a double-double, posting 13 points and 11 rebounds per game. Omogbo was a terror on the offensive glass, averaging 5 offensive rebounds per contest. For his efforts, he was named to the all-tournament team. I expect Omogbo to have a lengthy professional career, whether it be in the NBA or overseas.
Jeremy Senglin (Weber State)- 3-point shooting is a valued commodity at the next level, and Senglin certainly had that on display at the PIT. He connected on 48% of his triples en route to averaging 17.3 points per game in his 3 games in Portsmouth. Senglin asserted himself as the team’s top guard, an impressive feat considering his competition included Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), Marquise Moore (George Mason), and Kadeem Allen (Arizona).
Dallas Moore (North Florida)- Moore was on FIRE from downtown! Moore went 11-19 from 3 during the tournament, and seemed to improve his game every time he went out there. In game 1, he posted just 12 points. By game 3, Moore posted a near-flawless performance, with 22 points, 8 assists, and just one turnover. The top player in the history of the North Florida program, Moore clearly had no issue playing against tougher competition. He’ll thrive in the much more open professional game.