Villanova senior wing James Bell is participating in this week's NBA scouting event at the Portsmouth Invitational, in Portsmouth, Virginia -- near Norfolk. He headlines a group of four players from the Big 5 schools at the 60-year-old post-season event that is attended by representatives from every NBA franchise.
The P.I.T. invites 64 college seniors every Spring to participate in the four-day, twelve game tournament. The event reached its peak in the 1970s, when athletes like Dave Cowens, John Lucas, Walt Szczerbiak and Bobby Cremins all participated. While these days, most of the top potential draft picks will bypass the P.I.T., NBA personnel and representatives from various international teams and leagues still flock to the tournament in search of a gem.
Harvard grad Jeremy Lin is among the Portsmouth alumni currently in the NBA. Six participants from the 2009 event were drafted that year, though all were in the second round. Others will use the exposure to land in the D-League or overseas. Only one player from the 2013 event did not play professional basketball this season.
It is the first of two NBA pre-draft camps, with the other being in Orlando.
Bell will be joined by Langston Galloway and Ronald Roberts of Saint Joe's, and Dalton Pepper from Temple from the Big 5. Devon Saddler and Devon Usher from Delaware will also participate, as will former La Salle and West Virginia big man Aaric Murray. Other Big East players in the tournament include Providence's Kadeem Batts,Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin, Marquette's Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, and Georgetown's Markel Starks.
Isaiah Armwood, who transferred from Villanova to George Washington, is also listed as a participant.
The Villanova senior heads into the tournament at the end of his best college season. In addition to leading the Wildcats' offensive output, as a captain he guided them to the Big East title and a program-record of 28 wins. He was named the Big 5's Player of the Year and Most Improved Player.
Last season, graduating Center Mouphtaou Yarou participated at Portsmouth.