(Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

Seven takeaways from the Pangos All-American Camp

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LONG BEACH, Ca – The Pangos All-American Camp is one of the premier camps in the camp-loaded slate of June. The 12th annual camp, held at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, offered another look at some top national prospects as well as some good West Coast players.

1. Stephen Zimmerman is a well-rounded big man: There have been questions surrounding Zimmerman all spring about his speed decreasing as he added weight to his 7-foot frame, but the lefty big man from Las Vegas is still the No. 4 player in the 2015 class according to Rivals.com and Zimmerman has a tremendous skillset.

Zimmerman’s added muscle allowed him to make plays more frequently in the post and he’s also confident as a ball-handler in the open floor. He runs really well end-to-end and can knock in jumpers from the short corner or elbow while also dropping in hooks.

Zimmerman entered the Pangos All-American Camp as the highest ranked prospect and played up to that lofty status with a good weekend.

RELATED: Pangos All-American Saturday

2. Isaiah Briscoe is an effective point guard: Isaiah Briscoe has never seen a shot he didn’t like, but the 2015 guard from Roselle, New Jersey isn’t credited as often as he should be for his passing. Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi threw out a Kyle Lowry comparison and I can see why. Briscoe is a big-bodied guard with a quick crossover that likes to get in the lane and make plays.

Although at 6-foot-3 he’s played more of a scoring guard role in the past when I’ve seen him, at Pangos he made numerous plays as a passer and got in the lane at will using a variety of good moves around the hoop. Briscoe is the No. 19 overall prospect in Rivals.com‘s rankings and he looks like a probable All-American in this class.

3. The Pac-12 has some strong incoming prospects: The Pangos All-American Camp had great national prospects like Briscoe and some standouts from Texas and Georgia, but the strength of the camp came in the abundance of top-flight west coast players in attendance and many of them are already committed to Pac-12 programs.

Arizona commit Tyler Dorsey is having a good spring as a scoring guard and the 6-foot-4 class of 2015 standout had plenty of good moments at Pangos this weekend, including two spirited battles with Briscoe. Dorsey was good enough to earn Camp Most Outstanding Player honors along with Briscoe and Zimmerman.

Washington commit Marquese Chriss had a really positive weekend in the open-floor setting. With all of the games being uptempo, Chriss’ run-and-jump game showed off favorably as he ran the wing for alley-oops and played above the rim with ease. He still has to develop a mid-range game and improve his defense, but Chriss has a lot of great athletic attributes heading into the Pac-12.

Chimezie Metu recently pledged to USC as a 6-foot-9 skilled class of 2015 forward and Metu also benefitted from the up-and-down games of the camp. Metu’s handle and passing ability was on display and he’s tough to stop going to the rim if he has a full head of steam. Metu’s high-flying style should fit in well in Andy Enfield’s offense at USC.

UCLA commit Lonzo Ball shows a tremendous IQ and plays with a lot of savvy for a 2016 guard. The 6-foot-5 tall point guard was great at times at Pangos and the five-star was one of the better prospects in attendance.

RELATED: Pangos All-American Camp Friday

4. San Diego State and Gonzaga closed some decent guards: Jeremy Hemsley also came off-the-board in the last few weeks as the recent San Diego State commit showed well at Pangos. Hemsley does a lot of things well as a 6-foot-4 guard. A strong athlete who can defend and make plays, Hemsley also hit some shots and looks like a strong 2015 grab for the Aztecs.

Gonzaga landed another tough and high-IQ guard in Utah native Jesse Wade. A class of 2015 prospect, Wade had some good moments playing alongside Kevin Dorsey and knocked down shots, made plays as a passer and also defended pretty well on the perimeter. At 5-foot-11, Wade is small but he plays hard and is skilled.

These two West Coast powers might not play in the Pac-12 but they are perennially in the top 25 thanks to solid prospects like these. Hemsley and Wade are two guards that start a solid foundation with a class.

5. There are still some under-recruited guards to track this summer: The Pangos All-American Camp is often a launching pad for some players nationally and this year was no exception. Although I won’t overvalue a camp setting before viewing these players more in a real halfcourt tactical basketball setting, the Pangos camp still gives a glimpse at skills and tools that players have at their disposal.

Three 2015 guards played really well at Pangos and will be watched closely in July by college programs.

Point guard Paris Austin was one of the biggest stories of the weekend as the 5-foot-11 guard from Oakland continued a strong uptick to the end of his spring. Austin knocked down shots, set up teammates and also defended on the perimeter.

Austin told NBCSports.com that he has scholarship offers from Florida State, Tulsa, Utah State, San Jose State, Boise State, Loyola Marymount and Pacific, and Creighton, Wake Forest, Texas and Cal have recently been involved and showing interest.

Kevin Dorsey is another 5-foot-11 guard that will be tracked closely in July by college coaches. The native of Fairfax, Virginia scored off of screens, changed paces well and knocked in some jumpers from the perimeter.

Dorsey told NBCSports.com that Creighton, Florida Gulf Coast, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ole Miss, VCU and Virginia Tech have offered but he’s been solid with Team Takeover in the Nike EYBL and is poised for a potential breakout July.

Sammy Barnes-Thompkins had a tough and productive Pangos Camp. His coaches in camp liked Barnes-Thompkins’ play and he had a toughness about him while playing a bit of both guard spots. The 6-foot-2 native of Phoenix only has a scholarship offer from San Jose State while Arizona State, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wichita State show interest.

6. Some national-level wings to monitor in July: This was my first time viewing Baton Rouge, Louisiana native Brandon Sampson, but he was very impressive knocking down tough perimeter shots while getting to the rim a little bit as well. The 6-foot-5 Sampson is currently regarded as the No. 73 prospect in Rivals.com‘s national rankings.

Also showing well on the wing was Alpharetta, Georgia native Malik Beasley. The 6-foot-4 Beasley has a quick first step and shows quickness getting to the basket and scoring. He gets a little shot happy, but he’s a talented scorer that is itching to play in front of college coaches in July.

After showing up on Saturday, Las Vegas native Ray Smith continued his solid spring by earning co-MVP honors in the camp’s Top 30 Cream of the Crop Game and at 6-foot-7, he’s a problem on the wing because of his length, athleticism and ability to knock in shots. Smith is becoming more well-rounded on the wing and will be one to watch in July.

RELATED: Ray Smith throws down a nasty dunk in Pangos highlight reel (VIDEO)

7. Big man Steve Enoch breaks out: Memphis is one of the only schools on Norwalk, Connecticut native Steve Enoch, but that should change after a good performance a Pangos this weekend.

Enoch played well throughout the camp and could stake a claim as the camp’s second best big man behind Zimmerman. Enoch will have to show more against national competition, but at 6-foot-9, many big-time programs will be interested in him this July.

Cyclones add big man for 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Steve Prohm of the Murray State Racers shouts from the sidelines against the Colorado State Rams  during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Iowa State secured its first commitment Wednesday of what will be a pivotal class of forwards in 2017.

KeyShawn Faezell of Mississippi committed to Steve Prohm and the Cyclones, he announced Wednesday.

“After praying to God to lead me in the right path and talking with my dad,” Faezell wrote, “I’ve decided to further my education and basketball career under coach Prohm at Iowa State University.”

Faezell, a 6-foot-9 consensus top-150 forward in the 2017 class, joins wing Terrence Lewis as the first two members of a class that figures to number at least six for ISU. The addition of Faezell is key because ISU will be losing three members of its frontcourt it will likely be leaning on heavily in 2015-16 in Deonte Burton, Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie. A 2016 big man, Cameron Lard, has also yet to enroll in classes this fall due to academic issues, making Faezell’s commitment even more important should Lard be unable to get clearance.

“They need some people to come in and compete,” Feazell told the Ames Tribune. “I think I fit in the program.”

Prohm’s teams dating back to his Murray State days have always been guard-oriented and guard-heavy, but beginning to stack the roster with quality big men will be key as he looks to continue the Cyclones’ success in the Big 12, which includes a school-record five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.

BYU adds commit for 2019

Dave Rose
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BYU added a commitment from a high school senior this week, but the Cougars won’t be seeing him on campus until 2019.

Kolby Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Idaho, pledged to BYU on Monday evening, but won’t suit up until after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News.

“I had a great feeling about BYU, and I prayed about it,” Lee told the paper. “I just feel like it’s the right fit for me. It just seems right. It feels right.”

Lee chose BYU over offers from  Utah State, Boise State and UC Davis. He was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and three by Scout.

His decision to forego immediately joining BYU certainly isn’t a new wrinkle for the Cougars, who routinely see their players either delay their initial eligibility or pause it mid-career while serving on missions.

Self pays freshman Jackson a major compliment

Josh Jackson, from Napa, Calif.,, dunks over Nancy Mulkey, from Cypress, Texas, as he competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Freshman phenom production under Bill Self has been something of a contentious topic. Many fault the coach, who has won one national title and 12-straight Big 12 championships, for not developing one-and-done talent to their fullest potential during their single-season stays in Lawrence. Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo are Exhibit 1-A and 1-B for this argument in recent years.

Whatever outside criticism there is (Andrew Wiggins did go No. 1 overall just 2 years ago, after all), Self isn’t shying away from hyping the latest freshman with big expectations to come to KU. When asked who the greatest athlete of all-time is at the school’s annual Tradition Night last week, Self had a simple, if tongue-and-cheek, response.

“I’ll say Josh Jackson,” Self said of the the 6-foot-8 shooting guard ranked No. 1 in his class, according to Lawrence Journal-World.

With others answering with the likes of Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, it’s pretty fair to say Self was playing to the crowd with the answer, but it’s still telling that he was willing to deliver such a sound bite, even if it was before a welcoming audience. Self didn’t try to seriously depress expectations for Wiggins, a player Jackson is often compared to, and it looks like he won’t for Jackson as well.

Jackson, though, won’t have the burden Wiggins had as there’s one of the country’s best backcourts in Frank Mason II and Devonte Graham to help shoulder the workload for the Jayhawks.

 

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

John Swofford
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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky