The Portsmouth Invitation Tournament will be held this week from April 11-14 and we’ll be on site covering the action. It brings 64 of college basketball’s top seniors together for a chance to impress professional scouts and boost their NBA Draft stock. Here’s a look at five prospects who have our attention already…
Hayden Dalton (Wyoming) 6’8, 185 lb PF
Dalton has a higher ceiling than most seniors, as he is only 21 years old and still growing into his 6-foot-8 frame. He looks even taller than his listed height on film, which is possible since he sprouted a few inches late in his teenage years. Due to his growth spurt, Dalton is unusually skilled for his size. He passes the ball well, attacks closeouts with confidence and can get all the way to the basket from the perimeter. He also has advanced scoring moves and above-the-rim athleticism. A long-strider, Dalton isn’t quick or shifty, but he can get to the rim with only one or two dribbles, pull-up from mid-range and also hit fadeaways. He only became a consistent three-point this season, but he shot above 80 percent from the free throw line in every year in college so the improvement isn’t completely out of the blue. According to Synergy Sports, he ranked in the 85th percentile nationally in catch-and-shoot situations this season, helping him to project as a combo/stretch forward at the next level. He is still held back by a lack of strength, which is concerning, but also adds to his intrigue if he’s able to put on weight. He plays similarly to Jarrod Uthoff but has a significantly higher ceiling.
Dakota Mathias (Purdue) 6’4, 200 lb SG
While Dalton may be one of the most intriguing players in Portsmouth due to his upside, Mathias has no such lore about him: he’s an averaged-sized shooting guard without much athleticism who turns 23 this year. Mathias, for the most part, already looks like he’s maximized his talent but, then again, he made notable strides every offseason at Purdue leading up to his senior season. He became a knockdown shooter as a sophomore, added first-team all-Big Ten defense to his resume as a junior and became a double figure scorer — while shooting a career-high 47.2 percent from the field and 46.6 percent from three — as a senior. He’s a perfect three-and-D candidate. Mathias ranked in the 99th percentile nationally in spot-up situations this season and also showed his vision, savviness and unselfishness as a pick-and-roll ball handler, ranking in the 95th percentile nationally in those scenarios when including passes. He isn’t a surefire NBA player and might not get drafted, but it’s easy to see him catching on with a team due to his role playing potential. It’ll be interesting to see how long his wingspan measures.
Devon Hall (Virginia) 6’5, 211 lb SG
Hall profiles similarly to Mathias. He’s a 6-foot-5 guard who played on one of the top teams in the country and didn’t become a double digit scorer until this year. Hall, like Mathias, is a knockdown spot-up shooter (95th percentile catch-and-shoot) with all-conference defensive honors on his resume. He is also the son of a coach and played point guard in high school, so he’s comfortable with the ball in his hands and has no problem making the extra pass. It’s hard to tell how much Hall was restricted by Virginia’s offensive system, but Joe Harris, Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes all exceeding NBA expectations (Perrantes landing a two-way contract as a rookie is a success in itself) helps his cause. Hall has solid defensive tools and is well-coached on that end, but he doesn’t project as a lockdown guy, so he’ll need to show that his scoring improve was no fluke. Due to a lack of quick-twitch athleticism, Hall struggles getting into the lane without a headstart curling around a screen and is only average in isolation. He was the third guard in a three-guard lineup alongside sophomores Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome, which isn’t all that promising considering he was a redshirt senior and turns 23 this summer. Hall has a chance to catch with an NBA team, but his upside is limited unless he shows unexpected lead guard ability this week.
Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure) 6’2, 190 lb PG
Adams burst onto the scene as a sophomore, averaging 17.9 points and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 43.8 percent from three and 87.4 percent from the line, and has posted similar numbers each of the past two season. His game, however, has been picked apart during that time and he has disappeared from mock drafts. Adams doesn’t have a great physical profile which contributes to his struggles as a finisher and raises concerns about his defensive potential, but he’s an excellent shooter — both off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations — and understands how to run the pick-and-roll. He won’t be as much of a playmaker at the next level, but he can still initiate offense and create his own shots. He’s very well-coached and plays with excellent poise. One concern is he’s already maximized his potential, but he’s young for his class at 21 years old.
Jeffrey Carroll (Oklahoma State) 6’6, 220 lb SF
After his play alongside Jawun Evans at Oklahoma State last year caught the eyes of NBA scouts, Carroll struggled as a senior as the Pokes’ number one scoring option and now will have to play himself back into the good graces of scouts at Portsmouth. His final season in justified concerns about his sudden improvement as a three-point shooter last year, but he still has a quick release and shot better than 77 percent from the foul line each of the past two seasons. When combined with his strength and athleticism, Carroll still has intrigue in NBA circles, but there’s certainly a lot less excitement about him now. He’ll have to prove himself as a defender in addition to become a more consistent shooter to find a way on an NBA roster; right now, he’s a three-and-D prospect who doesn’t excel in either area (and he turns 24 in November). It’s looking like Carroll’s junior year might’ve been an outlier based on his play early in his career and this past season.