Tag: Markel Starks

Davante Gardner, Sandi Marcius

Marquette’s Davante Gardner named MVP of Portsmouth Invitational (VIDEO)


Saturday night the 62nd edition of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament came to an end in Portsmouth, Va., with the event showcasing college seniors looking to improve their standing in the eyes of scouts from the NBA and other professional leagues. The title game matched Sales Systems, Ltd. and Norfolk Sports Club, with former Georgetown point guard Markel Starks winning the game for Sales Systems with a shot with two seconds remaining.

Starks finished the game with 19 points and five assists, and he was one of two Sales Systems, Ltd. players to make the event’s All-Tournament Team. The other was former Marquette center Davante Gardner, who accounted for 20 points and nine rebounds in the title game and won tournament MVP honors.

The other players on the All-Tournament Team were:

  • F Javon McCrea (Buffalo; Norfolk Sports Club)
  • G/F Drew Crawford (Northwestern; Norfolk Sports Club)
  • F Ronald Roberts Jr. (Saint Joseph’s; Norfolk Sports Club)
  • C Shayne Whittington (Western Michigan; Portsmouth Partnership)
  • G Jake Odum (Indiana State; Portsmouth Partnership)
  • F Shawn Jones (Middle Tennessee; Roger Brown’s Restaurant)
  • G Andre Dawkins (Duke; Cherry Bekaert)
  • F/C Garrick Sherman (Notre Dame; Portsmouth Sports Club)
  • G Travis Bader (Oakland; K&D Round’s Landscaping)
  • F Jamil Wilson (Marquette; Mike Duman Auto Sales)

With Gardner and Wilson on the above list, Marquette was the only program to see two products make this year’s All-Tournament team. In the above video are a few highlights from WAVY-TV in Hampton Roads, Va., but unfortunately video of Starks’ game-winner did not make the segment.

Georgetown may have saved their season by beating No. 7 Michigan State

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Gary Harris
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Markel Starks scored 16 points and Mikael Hopkins chipped in with 10 as Georgetown picked up a win they desperately needed, knocking off No. 7 Michigan State, 64-60, at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

The Hoyas have been a mess this year. They entered the game having lost five straight games and six of their last seven. The only win the Hoyas currently have in Big East play came against Butler in overtime. They lost Josh Smith for the season due to academic struggles during that stretch. Moses Ayegba was suspended for a game. Jabril Trawick broke his jaw. It was ugly.

Which is what makes this win over the Spartans so important.

Georgetown still has time to turn this thing around. Their non-conference resume now consists of wins over Kansas State and VCU in addition to the win over the Spartans, which is about as good as you are going to find on the bubble. Their next five games — at DePaul, Butler, Providence, at Seton Hall, at St. John’s — are all winnable.

What Georgetown needed more than anything was a dose of confidence. This is clearly not one of John Thompson III’s best teams since he took over the program, but it’s not like this group doesn’t have some talent. Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera make up one of the best backcourts in the conference. The rest of the roster is at least serviceable, enough so that this should, on paper, be a team that can make the NCAA tournament.

The best-case scenario for the Hoyas seems very plausible. If they can build on this win — which came in a game where Smith-Rivera shot 2-for-11 from the floor — and take care of business in their next five games, they’ll end the season with a four-game stretch that can earn them that bubble berth: Xavier, at Marquette, Creighton, at Villanova.

The margin for error is minuscule, but this win gives the Hoyas life.

As far as the Spartans are concerned, this loss isn’t all that surprising.

Michigan State is without Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne, Keith Appling is banged up and they’re playing a game in the middle of Big Ten season in New York against a team that’s desperate to get the win.

In the long-run, this game doesn’t matter for the Spartans, and they played like it didn’t for too long. When a team is apathetic, when they don’t play as hard as they should, they’re prone to getting upset, especially when they are missing their two biggest, most athletic interior players.

This may as well have been a scrimmage for the Spartans.

But it was a season-changer for the Hoyas.

And the final score reflects that.

Markel Starks on Josh Smith: ‘You never really know what you’re going to get from [him]’

Oregon v Georgetown
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Joshua Smith has been an enigma since the moment he stepped on a collegiate court.

From a talent perspective, there are few that are on Smith’s level. His size, his hands, his footwork, his touch around the rim. He’s got lottery pick talent.

His problem has always been effort and desire.

Does he want to be good at basketball bad enough to get into — and stay in — game-shape? This is his fourth year as a college basketball player, and the answer, to date, is a definitive ‘no’.

He’s better conditioned now than he was the last couple of years back at UCLA and, to his credit, he does look slimmer. But he’s still not in the kind of shape that would allow him to maximize his potential. He’s still a major defensive liability. And he’s still struggling with his consistency.

I’m not the only one to notice.

“If I come out, if I’m lax, the entire team is going to be lax. Some guys are going to come that are ready to play, but from a mental standpoint, I pose so much for the team to be collectively good,” senior point guard Markel Starks told Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com. “D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, he’s going to come out, he’s going to be ready to play. Josh, it’s a different story. You never really know what you’re going to get from Josh. Not so much we, but he also has to find his rhythm and give us something consistent. No, he’s not going to give us 25 points and seven rebounds a night. Can he, absolutely. He can be the most dominant big in the nation. But is he? We have yet to determine that.”

Starks later added, “Honestly, Josh can play 30 minutes. It’s just does Josh want to play 30 minutes on a particular night. He’s in really good shape. Everybody wants to talk about his weight and stuff like that. That stuff goes out the window. He’s productive and he can be really productive for us and he will be productive for us. (Starks laughs) He doesn’t have any other option.”

It’s important to note here that Starks was speaking with “positive intentions”, according to Standig. It also should be noted that Starks and Smith are roommates, and that Starks is not the kind of personality that will sugarcoat what he says. He’s an intense dude, and if he’s saying something to the media, you better believe he’s said the same thing to Smith.

But it’s interesting to note that someone on the Georgetown roster is recognizing the same thing that we are. Smith, with all of his deficiencies, is the guy that turns Georgetown from an NCAA tournament team to a legitimate favorite to win the Big East.