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PIT still a useful talent showcase

Updated: April 10, 2012, 2:14 PM ET
By Chad Ford

A decade ago, the Portsmouth Invitational was packed with every NBA general manager and scout in the league. Regularly, a few players playing in the invitational would sneak into the first round and many others would be taken in the second.

Over the past six or so years, however, the tournament has been in serious decline. The best players to play there in the last couple of years have been Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields and Wes Matthews. Neither Lin nor Fields stood out in the tournament and neither was invited to the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago. Fields slipped into the second round and Lin went undrafted. Matthews had a bit of a better showing at the PIT, but went undrafted. However, Lin was a Knicks sensation this year, Fields had an excellent rookie season and solid sophomore season for the Knicks, and Matthews played well enough to get a huge deal from Portland two summers ago.

Last year Marquette swingman Jimmy Butler played well enough at the PIT to get an invite to the pre-draft camp and played well enough there to get drafted by the Bulls in the first round.

But for the most part, players like Lin, Fields and Matthews are few and far between. Why such a talent drought? The seniors-only tournament is seen as a last-ditch effort to get noticed by agents, and virtually all of the top seniors left skip it.


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