The St. John's Red Storm's star Dwight Hardy spent the weekend at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament trying to display enough talents to get to the NBA, Developmental League, Europe, or some other paid next level, while competing against dozens of other seniors hoping to catch a scout's eye.
It's a different mindset than what one has to have for a regular basketball game, where the team is the thing. Most of these players won't hear David Stern call their name on draft day, and they're all trying to get a real look from scouts in the league... most of whom think that "senior" is synonym for "has used up potential already."
Of course, some of those senior players are useful, vetted via hundreds of NCAA basketball games and with 4 years of high-level coaching, so scouts still take a look at the under-the-lottery-radar talent at Portsmouth.
What Dwight Hardy had to prove to the scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational was how his game was more than what had already been seen and scrutinized during the Big East season. We noted how Hardy needed to show that:
- he can be a consistent scorer
- he can pass like a point guard
- he can shoot efficiently with other high-usage players
How did he do? Let's take a look - and post Hardy's final 3-game numbers at Portsmouth, below the fold.
Keep in mind that at Portsmouth, a company was hired to do agility and height testing. Despite testing fairly well on quickness and agility tests (excel sheet of Portsmouth testing results for senior NBA hopefuls here (.XLS), courtesy of the Hoops Report), Dwight Hardy measure a liiiiitle bit shorter than his listed height... he was measured at 6'0" (and a quarter inch, to be fair). At that height, he would have to really impress to get a team to take a chance on him - he's small for the NBA.
The good: Hardy did show he could take a role as something other than a primary shooter. He was fourth on the team in percentage of shots taken while on the floor at just under 21%, but second in scoring. He did play the most minutes for the Cherry, Bekaert & Holland team, though, so that helps explain his healthy scoring tally.
Hardy increased his assist rate from 12.6% during the NCAA season to 21% in the Portsmouth Invitational games, dishing out 5.3 assists per game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.2/1; he passed solidly.
Dwight Hardy of St. John's led all scorers with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting, again showing the ability to get in the lane and finish. Primarily a scorer, Hardy handled the point well this week, finishing third at the PIT in assists (5.3 apg). He's not the kind of player who comes in the front door to the NBA these days, but he has some tools and a nice overall feel for the game, especially offensively.
The bad: Unfortunately, Dwight Hardy didn't show a wildly different game than he had during the season, and struggled with efficiency. In fact, his three-point shot wasn't falling - he hit 16.7% of his treys at Portsmouth. He did score inside the arc, hitting a little under 52% of those shots. But at 6 foot 2, he needs to display a consistently deadly stroke from the outside.
From Ryan Feldman at the Hoops Report:
DWIGHT HARDY - GRADE: C
Hardy caught fire every once in a while, but that was rare. He also made a few nice passes. He didn't have enough of a positive impact on the game when he wasn't hitting shots.
The future: There's little shame in not being perfect at the PIT. Hardy has shown, and continues to show that he is a gifted scorer with a knack for finding ways to score points. He can pass a little and get off shots, an underrated skill that keeps guys like Eddie House employed in the league.
Chances are, Hardy will start somewhere other than the NBA, even if he is invited to an NBA training camp. With some further development as a point guard, he could make some nice money overseas or in the D-league... and even get some looks for stints in the NBA.
Hardy's final numbers, and some tempo-neutral calculations, below.
|Dwight Hardy at Portsmouth Invitational (3 games)|
|Sh%||PPP||eFG%||FTR||Ast Rate||TO Rate|