Pangos All-American camp full of future college players

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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.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.