The list of former Most Outstanding Player selections from the Pangos All-American camp in Long Beach, California is a laundry list of current and future college basketball stars and NBA players. James Harden, Brandon Jennings, John Wall, Harrison Barnes, Myck Kabongo and Shabazz Muhammad are among the names of the former stars, when they were in high school, from the camp.
The Pangos All-American camp is annually one of the top non-shoe company affiliated camps, and draws talented high school basketball players from across the country, and especially from the west coast. The organizer, Dinos Trigonis, runs the Belmont Shore grassroots basketball team and is one of the top grassroots basketball event promoters in the country. This year’s camp was loaded with a variety of talent, and took place over the weekend at Cabrillo High School.
The first takeway from this weekend’s camp, the tenth annual, was that 6-9 center Cliff Alexander, a Chicago-based 2014 player from Curie High School, can be added to the aforementioned prestigious group of camp alumni. The bullish, athletic and tough big man evoked memories of Elton Brand as he earned the title of the Most Outstanding Player in a camp that included literally dozens of future high-major college basketball players. Alexander has a strong, thick frame, and patrolled the paint with authority. He’s arguably a top-5 prospect in the 2014 class nationally and has a nasty streak that was hard to battle against for opponents.
Alexander wasn’t the only star in the camp, though, as Louisiana high school forward Jarrell Martin, a 2013 player, turned plenty of heads and was arguably just as good as Alexander. He is a heavy priority for LSU’s new coaching staff to land in order to turn their fortunes around, but they’ll have numerous competitors. The 6-9 forward showed the ability to handle the ball, hit plenty of 3-pointers, and showed athleticism and length that cannot be taught. On the break, Martin could not be stopped. At his size and with the ability to play small forward on the next level, Martin has a rare combination and skill set.
Two current high-major verbal commitments, 6-1 point guard Conner Frankamp (Kansas) and 6-3 shooting guard Anton Gill (Louisville) were selected to the Top-30 game that concluded the camp. Both have one season left of high school basketball, but starred all weekend long during the event. Frankamp is a heady, fundamental guard that showcased his automatic trigger from 3-point range. Likewise, Gill showcased a scorer’s DNA and continually put up points in a variety of ways. Both could be ready to contribute as freshmen.
It’s also safe to say that Harvard commit Zena Edosomwan, a 6-8 power forward headed to prep school, will be ready to play in the Ivy League. He’s so strong and controls action in the paint. He’s physically ready to play college basketball next season, and a year playing prep school basketball should help his skill level grow. Make no mistake, Edosomwan is a top-100 player in the country, and a huge future player at Harvard.
Several other players committed to D-1 schools turned some many heads of scouts and recruiting analysts at the camp. 6-4 point guard Billy Garrett showed why he’s going to be a key player for DePaul in the future with his heady influence in the backcourt. Also, a pair of guards already committed to Penn State, Brandon Austin and Geno Thorpe, were among the better backcourt players in the camp. They’ll help early for the Nittany Lions. The same can be said for point guard Julian Jacobs, who will be ready to hit the ground running when he arrives at Utah after next season.
Recent Georgetown pledge Stephen Domingo also showed why he’ll be perfect for the Hoyas system. He was a deadly sniper from long range, good passer and has a high all-around skill level. Also, UNLV appears to be amassing a core group of terrific post players. 6-8 power forward Chris Wood is already pledged, and he had a great camp.
Several uncommitted players from the 2013 high school graduating class were also impressive. 6-9 center Karviar Shepherd of Texas, 6-9 forward Johnathan Williams of Tennessee, 6-9 forward Jermaine Lawrence of New York, 6-7 forward Vince Hunter of Michigan, 6-1 point guard Solomon Poole of Florida, 6-3 guard Zach LaVine of Washington all had outstanding moments and were among the most talented players in the camp.
Another storyline that college basketball fans haven’t heard the last of involves 6-8 forward Ben Simmons, a 2015 prospect from Melbourne, Australia. It remains to be seen just when Simmons will play hoops in the United States, but it does seem like an eventuality. The smooth and athletic forward would be a top-10 prospect in the United States, and is a member of Australia’s U17 team. Simmons remains a name to file in the back of your mind for the future.
Though college coaches could not attend for evaluation due to NCAA rules, the Pangos All-American camp was a success. Over 100 players tested their talents against each other, and in some cases determined what they need to work on to perform better in front of the coaches in July. The Long Beach setting was ideal for some of the nation’s top talent to converge upon, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.
Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.