Things started to heat up at the Portsmouth Invitational on night two and it was a trio of scorers with a mid-major pedigree setting the tone.
Game one of the evening saw Portsmouth Sports Club route Mike Duman 96-76 thanks to a pair of 20-point efforts from John Holland and Bill Clark. Holland - a 6-5 swingman from Boston University - scored 23 points on an efficient 8-of-12 from the floor, displaying a typical performance based on his regular season production. The Terriers chief scoring option was at his best spotting up from the perimeter and getting to the basket in transition. Hollad was outdone by teammate Bill Clark of Duquesne however who scored 21 points, but connected on 5-of-6 tries from beyond the arc.
The nightcap was another one-sided affair as Cherry, Bekaert & Holland cruised past Roger Brown's 91-75. San Diego State forward Malcolm Thomas had one of the better all-around showings on day two, scoring 15 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 assists. His teammate Luke Sikma of Portland fame didn't do much as far as scoring the basketball, but hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds, helping his team to a +16 edge on the glass. On the losing end, Charleston's Andrew Goudelock unsurprisingly scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting. There's no question he'll be able to get his points in this setting, scouts will want to see how he scores and if he can facilitate offense for others.
Read on for more from day two of the PIT as well as analysis from those closest to the situation regarding Butler's Shelvin Mack and the likelihood that he leaves for the NBA following a strong junior campaign.
Ryan Feldman of CSNPhilly.com: "At the 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, there's one missing player that NBA scouts really wanted to see: Temple's Lavoy Allen. Allen was invited to the Portsmouth Invitational and originally accepted the invite and was included on a roster. But on Monday, he notified the tournament organizers that he wouldn't be attending, and his name was removed from the roster...Allen did not say why he withdrew from the PIT. But two separate sources said Allen cited "personal reasons." One of those sources is an agent Allen is considering - Allen said he is sitting down with agents in the next few weeks to decide who will represent him - and the other source is Bobby Martin, a basketball workout guru. Martin, who played college basketball at Pittsburgh from 1987-91 and then professionally in Europe, trains NBA hopefuls in his basketball facility just outside of Boston. "[Lavoy] wanted to come [to Portsmouth] but unfortunately something came up," Martin said. "While it would've been nice to show up, I believe [the NBA scouts are] not going to judge him for [three] games. They're going to look at his body of work."
Bob Molinaro of the Virginian-Pilot: "Scrambling on the phone, Parker made several calls, one that got through to Andrew Warren of Bradley, who was thankful to be a last-minute replacement. Not a household name or an NCAA tournament headliner, Warren is another hungry player eager to be evaluated by NBA and European scouts. After hearing from Parker, he jumped on a plane Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, where he had been training, to make Wednesday's 7 p.m. tip. "I'm young, I can handle it," he said of the jet lag that he carried into the game. "I was excited to be invited." Some of the better-known invitees - albeit players uncertain of their draft status - are advised by their agents to avoid the potential pitfalls of unstructured games not tailored to anyone's particular skill set. For all that's said about the PIT's legacy and how much the scouts love it, avoiding the tournament has served a lot of prospects well over the years. Warren, a 6-foot-5 guard, figures that he can't afford to risk this tactic. Besides, he said, "If you're a ballplayer, I don't see how you can hurt yourself by playing ball." Old Dominion's Frank Hassell subscribes to the same belief. The Monarchs big man developed into an All-CAA player despite ODU being the only school to offer him a scholarship when he was at Indian River High School. A late-bloomer who finds himself in a similar situation now, Hassell wouldn't think of allowing any opportunity to go unexplored. "I was told this is a job interview," he said after his K&D Round's Landscaping team won Wednesday. "Those guys in the stands watching, I want to work for them."
Melinda Waldrop of the Daily Press: "The most impressive individual effort so far at the 59th Portsmouth Invitational Tournament has come from Duquesne senior guard Bill Clark, who poured in 19 points on 7-for-7 shooting, drilling five 3-pointers, in 11 minutes in his Portsmouth Sports Club's 52-point first half. Clark, 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, led Duquesne with 16.3 points per game and averaged 6.2 rebounds in a senior season that ended with a 19-13 record for the Dukes. But Clark's story goes beyond stats. Clark, a California native who came to Duquesne by way of Oak Hill Academy, graduated last summer and has begun a graduate program in sports leadership. That's saying a great deal for a player who was close to quitting the team last season. Suspended for "conduct unbecoming the team," Clark missed Duquesne's first-round loss to Princeton in the College Basketball Invitational and was making plans to leave the Pittsburgh school after repeated clashes with his teammates and coach Ron Everhart. But he stayed, in part because of a phone call his mother made to the coach, detailed in a March story by SI.com's Dan Greene."
David Woods of the Indianapolis Star: "Butler coach Brad Stevens is meeting with Shelvin Mack today to discuss the junior guard's NBA draft prospects. Stevens said he will receive input from trusted sources and determine a consensus for where Mack might be drafted, if Mack leaves school early. Mack could declare for the draft by the April 25 deadline and still return to school if he does not hire an agent and withdraws by May 8. "I'll do the research and I'll collect it for him, and I'll present it to him," Stevens said. "He knows that I want what's best for him, so he knows he doesn't have to worry about me trying to persuade him to come back." Mack wasn't considered a first-round candidate until an NCAA Tournament run in which he led the Bulldogs to the championship game. Connecticut beat them 53-41 Monday. Mack averaged 20.3 points in the tournament, including games of 30, 27 and 24. He finished with 23 3-pointers, the fourth-highest total in tournament history. NBA labor strife and a possible lockout complicate matters.
Early predictions for the 2011-2012 Top 25 are already starting to pop up. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports has five mid-major programs in his early poll with Butler (No.9) and Memphis (No. 10) as the highest ranked teams. SI's Luke Winn goes just a bit further with his Top 32 list, featuring seven non-power conference teams. Butler (No. 8) is again the highest ranked team, but there are some significant differences after that, with Belmont sitting at No. 16 and Wichita State checking in at No. 18. At CBS Sports, Gary Parrish is on the same page as Goodman, going with 5 teams in the Top 25, ranking Butler (No. 8) and Memphis (No. 10) as his highest programs. We'll round out the "way too early look at next year polls" with Mike Miller over at NBC's Beyond The Arc Blog who also sticks with the number 5 in his rankings, but isn't on the Butler bandwagon, slipping the Bulldogs into the No. 21 spot. Miller's highest rated teams are Temple (No. 16) and Memphis (No. 17).
Brian Mull of the Wilmington Star News: "UNCW assistant Kevin Norris is leaving the program to become the associate head coach at Florida Gulf Coast. The move includes a significant raise over the $55,000 Norris made at UNCW this year. His first day at Florida Gulf Coast is April 18th. Norris said he was grateful for the opportunity to spend one season working for coach Buzz Peterson. "They're going to get it rolling here," Norris said. "It's going to be tough leaving the (players) behind." Florida Gulf Coast finished 10-20 overall and 7-13 in the Atlantic Sun in 2010-11, its first season under coach Andy Enfield, a former Florida State assistant. The university is located in Fort Myers, Fla. Norris, a Baltimore area native, played college basketball at Miami (Fla.). He also worked at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi."
Elton Alexander of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Kent State stuck with tradition in promoting Rob Senderoff from an assistant job to be the Flashes' new men's basketball coach. Geno Ford, who left KSU last month to become head coach at Bradley, also was promoted from within when he replaced Jim Christian a few years ago. The naming of Senderoff, introduced this afternoon at a press conference, bodes well for continuing KSU's on-court success. More than half of the current players on the team were recruited by Senderoff. "It was good news to my ears," said Randal Holt, a sophomore guard out of Glenville High. Leading scorer Justin Greene said the news was a relief, but also signaled some changes. "Now it seems normal again," the 6-8 junior said. "All the players feel comfortable, because we were all brought in by him. With the (25-12) team we have coming back, we expect there will be some high expectations. But (Senderoff's) best attribute is he will be tougher on us, held more accountable, than we have been in the past." Senderoff's deal is for three years at $250,000 per year."
Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express: "Texas basketball assistant coach Rodney Terry, who served on Rick Barnes' staff for nine seasons, left UT on Thursday to become the head coach at Fresno State. Terry, 43, helped coach the Longhorns to nine NCAA tournament appearances and recruited several top players, including Canadians Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Myck Kabongo. In a statement released by UT, Barnes called Terry's departure "bittersweet." "There is no question that Rodney is more than ready for this challenge," Barnes said. "He has been ready for an opportunity like this for a long time, but he just needed to find the right fit."