December 19, 2014

Ratliffe, English and Weems draw mixed reviews in front of NBA scouts

Missouri Tiger seniors Ricardo Ratliffe and Kim English, along with Missouri State’s Kyle Weems played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. A tournament made up of eight players on eight teams that play for four days in front of NBA scouts.  All three players had some very positive moments at the tournament, but according to NBA.com contributor Rob Reheuser, all three need to improve other areas of their game if they want NBA careers.

Ricardo Ratliffe: Added 16 points and 12 rebounds for Roger Brown’s (his sponsored team). Ratliffe was a bit of a mixed bag this week. When dialed in and focused on the things he does well — throwing around his chiseled physique in the paint, running the floor and bringing energy — he’s an intriguing player. When he steps away from the basket and shoots 20-footers, he loses some appeal. It’s understandable that, at 6-7, he’d like to show scouts he has some three skills, but expanding your game should never come at the expense of what you do well. Ratliffe made a name for himself this season as a garbage man, and he stills needs to remember to take out the garbage.

Kim English: English is only 6-foot-6, but his game has risen to new heights this season. A career 38 percent shooter heading into his senior campaign, English shot 52 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range to finish off his college career.

After an uneven performance in his first outing at the PIT, English regrouped in his second tilt, finishing with 22 points on 7-for-15 shooting, though his team, Mike Duman Auto Sales, lost an 89-87 heartbreaker in the final seconds to Sales Systems LTD with Iowa’s Matt Gatens hitting a game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Unlike many players at the PIT who are stuck between positions or trying to re-invent themselves in the months leading up to the NBA Draft, English is pretty well defined at this stage of the game. He’s an NBA-caliber shooter.

Watching him now it’s hard to envision him ever shooting below 40 percent. His form is tight and consistent. He gets it off quick. He shoots it in rhythm and with confidence.

When you factor in his size, decent athleticism and an improving feel for the game, English looks the part of a guy who could come off the bench, move without the ball and knock down shots.

Whether that happens in the NBA next season remains to be seen. Teams are always in the market for shooters, but English will have to convince a team he can defend his position and contribute in other areas.

Kyle Weems: Missouri State’s Kyle Weems scored 20 points in his teams 88-78, seventh place win over K&D Rounds Landscaping. Weems got hot midway through his second game here this week, and basically stayed hot the rest of the way, averaging 13.0 points on 49 percent shooting for the tournament. Though not a superior run-jump type athlete, Weems is pretty well put together (6-foot-7, 225), has a nice offensive feel and can really stroke it. Based on how he played here, a team would be smart to bring him in over the summer and see how he performs.