Takeaways and Biggest Stars of PK85 Tournaments

NBA Draft Alabama Crimson Tide forward Noah Clowney Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The eye of the college basketball world turned to Portland last weekend as 16 teams descended on the rainy city for the PK85 and Phil Knight Invitational in honor of Nike founder Phil Knight’s 85th birthday. It’s been a great benchmark for where college teams are right now. Purdue and Uconn took home their respective tournaments in a loaded field.

It also served as a great scouting trip with so many prospects playing in close proximity to one another in a short space of time. A handful of NBA scouts and decision makers were in attendance to get in on the action. I was lucky enough to be there and a handful of players caught my eye.

Alabama

Brandon Miller – Alabama – Wing – 6’9, 200lbs – November 2002

Miller, the prospect that got me most interested this weekend, has been a hot name in draft circles this season with his impressive start to the season. Miller saw three very different matchups. Against a Michigan State team with limited or no actual wings, Miller thrived. His spot-up shooting looked deadly, and Nate Oates had him stopped from a lot of action to get him jumpers. Considering the height (he’s a real 6’8), Miller has a real case for being the best shooter in this class.

But Alabama and Uconn presented different types of challenges. The Huskies are a tough, physical team that did a good job of pushing him off the line and putting him in uncomfortable positions. North Carolina threw Leaky Black at him, who is one of the best wing defenders in the country, and Miller predictably struggled, but it was good to see him in games like this.

I still like him very much. The shot versatility and preparation from the midrange and three is so valuable and easily translatable. His rim finish numbers aren’t great and need improvement, but even as a poor finisher he can still fill up while guarding wings and some fours at the other end.

With some top newcomers struggling early, Miller’s production stands out. It will be fascinating to follow the season-long debate between him and Dariq Whitehead and Cam Whitmore. These two were significantly better at the base and are both over 20 months younger. We’ve yet to see Whitmore play, but I doubt he’ll be as productive as Miller. I would classify them now: Whitmore, Miller, Whitehead.

Miller’s NBA fit seems pretty straightforward to me. I doubt he’s ever a good guy, but wing-sized off-ball scorers who are exceptional shooters fit on almost any team. He is a lottery talent for me, the question will be how high.

Noah Clowney – Alabama – Four – 6’10, 210lbs – Freshman

One of the bigger eye openers this past weekend, Clowney put up some impressive flashes to put himself on my radar. He is an agile four/five that still looks raw but shows promise. He excelled best as a reel man, showing some good jumps of two feet to finish. He even hit a three in the Michigan State game.

Still not quite sure what he is. But working your way into the starting lineup for a top-25 Alabama team and being an important piece with your physique is fascinating.

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