Men’s Basketball: Pardon and Law take first steps of their NBA journeys


Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Vic Law and Dererk Pardon played in a tournament in March. The two both averaged double-digit points in last week’s Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

The NBA Draft Combine is the most important part of the pre-draft process — so important that the league expanded it from a two-day event in Chicago featuring 60 prospects to a four-day happening that now includes 80.

For the players who don’t get that invitation, one of the biggest stages they can perform on during the pre-draft process is the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where the NCAA’s top seniors participate in a four-day, eight-team event attended by a large contingent of NBA representatives. This tournament — held last week in Virginia — was the first opportunity for Northwestern’s Vic Law and Dererk Pardon to show where they stand as they start their tenures as professional basketball players.

For the first time in their careers, Law and Pardon played alongside comparable talents on teams that ran NBA-style offenses. According to Mark Hall, who coached Law’s team in the tournament, the former Wildcats forward particularly fared well in front of NBA scouts.

“On the defensive end, he was able to lock down a wide variety of guys,” he told The Daily. “He proved very pivotal in our games. He was able to guard one through four without a problem.”

That defensive ability, Hall said, was what first caught his attention when he watched film of Law in the lead-up to the tournament. In their team’s first game, Law started off guarding a lesser perimeter-threat, but after former Virginia Tech guard Ahmed Hill made a few consecutive baskets, Hall switched Law onto him.

“After that, there was nothing else for that kid to do,” Hall said.

Perhaps even more importantly for Law, who averaged 11.3 points in the tournament, the 6-foot-5.75-inch forward made over half of his 15 3-point attempts. Hall said he didn’t expect Law to be much of a shooter, but by the end of the tournament Law was running off screens looking for catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Pardon, who worked all season on expanding his offensive game, settled into a more traditional role by posting up less and running the pick-and-roll more. He led his team in scoring in the first game with 14 points and finished with averages of 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. The tournament also provides official measurements, and Pardon was listed at 6-foot-6.5 inches tall, a shorter height than the 6-foot-8 he had been measured as at Northwestern.

After Portsmouth, Pardon and Law will spend the next two months training privately or attending small-group workouts at NBA facilities. Jeremy Woo (Medill ‘15), who covers the NBA Draft for Sports Illustrated and attended the Portsmouth Invitational, cited Law’s inconsistent 3-point shooting and Pardon’s limited athleticism as factors that make them “longshots” to be drafted in June.

Woo told The Daily that a best-case scenario for the two would be going undrafted and receiving an Exhibit 10 contract, which would allow the team that signs them to keep them on their G League team throughout the season and increase their salary above the G League minimum.

“If that’s what ends up happening, that’s great, but no matter what I think they’re both guys who can provide value overseas,” he said. “Realistically, they’re both longshots who will get workouts between now and the Draft.”

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Twitter: @2021_charlie

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