Not even the NBA's director of scouting always gets what he wants.
Every year, Ryan Blake compiles a list of the top college seniors (likely NBA lottery picks not included) he feels merit consideration in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. A five-member committee then researches those names, polls NBA scouts, and eventually issues invitations.
Blake, as the aforementioned scouting director, exerts a considerable amount of influence. But sometimes players he lobbies for don't make the cut.
Such was the case this year with Anthony Moody of the University of Mary, a Division II school in Bismark, North Dakota. Moody, a 6-foot senior, averaged 21.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game to earn all-American honors from both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Daktronics.
In just two seasons at Mary, the transfer from Lake Region State junior college scored 1,126 points, and he was the first player from his school selected for the Reese's Division II College all-star game
Equally compelling to Blake was Moody's personal story. He grew up without a father figure, and in March of 2008, his mother, Nicole Owens, died of a heart attack at age 38.
"This is a kid I really wanted to help," Blake said. "Couldn't get him in."
This year's senior class was deep at all positions, Blake said, but "we didn't expect these pullouts, and I couldn't get him in at the last second from North Dakota."
Some of the more heralded Division I players who aren't in Portsmouth withdrew with injuries - "You have some legit injuries, and some not legit injuries. I know which ones they are," Blake said - while others' reasons for not showing are less clear.
Every player, of course, has a right to decide what's best for his future. Odds are, though, that Moody would have accepted his invitation and his plane ticket.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun