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Caleb McConnell averages close to double-double at Portsmouth Invitational



Mar 10, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Caleb McConnell (22) brings the ball up court against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

With his Rutgers career behind him, Caleb McConnell took the first step in his pursuit of a professional basketball career this past weekend. He was one of 64 players invited to play in Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. It’s a prestigious All-Star Tournament for college seniors that has been played for decades. Former NBA stars Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Tim Hardaway and John Stockton are PIT alumni.

The event took place from April 12-15 and was a great opportunity for McConnell to showcase his talent in front of many NBA and pro personnel. He played on Sales Systems, LTD and the team finished the weekend with a 2-1 record and advancing to the championship game.

McConnell had two double-doubles, including a 16 point, 12 rebound, 3 steal, 2 assist performance in the second game. In the title game, he produced with 12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and a block.

In three games overall, McConnell averaged 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 31.0 minutes per contest. A big plus was that he shot 16 of 29 from the floor for 55.2%. He was 3 of 10 for 30.0% from three-point range and just 2 of 5 (40.0%) from the foul line. One area McConnell needs to adjust to is the officiating at the pro level. He committed 14 fouls combined over three games. That is a natural development step for him to take as a pro defender.

The hope now is that McConnell’s performance at the PIT earns him a coveted invitation to the NBA Draft Combine. He should at a minimum get an invite to the G League Elite Camp which takes place on May 13-14. He could then earn an invite to the combine on May 15-21 if he doesn’t get invited initally. Both camps are in Chicago and are critical evaluation periods before June’s NBA Draft.

While he made a name for himself as a national defensive player of the year and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, McConnell’s ability to develop into a complete player is key for his pro future. Rebounding at a high level and being more efficient offensively are important steps for him to take. It’s great to see him play well in his first step at the PIT.

Here are highlights from his performance at the PIT:

As Caleb McConnell’s journey to becoming a professional basketball player continues, we’ll update his progress throughout the months ahead.

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  1. thevinman

    April 18, 2023 at 11:57 am

    Glad to see Caleb doing well.

    • Biochemist

      April 18, 2023 at 6:11 pm

      Agree – good for Caleb.

  2. pj43

    April 19, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Looks like Caleb made the most of his opportunity. Wishing him the best and hoping his hard work will get him to the promised land.

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