CARSON, CA. — The Pangos All-American Camp is once again in the books and this year’s annual showcase featured a deep camp roster with some of the best players in the country. A couple of Class of 2016 shooting guards are making a strong push towards All-American status as we enter the summer while the 2017 class showed it has a lot of big men who could be national recruits.
1. Mustapha Heron and Rawle Alkins position themselves for a big summer
In the Class of 2016, shooting guards Mustapha Heron and Rawle Alkins have already positioned themselves as national recruits with a chance to become future All-Americans. Both bruising East coast guards had outstanding showings at the Pangos All-American Camp and they were the two best players during the weekend.
The 6-foot-5 Heron showed an ability to score going to the hoop almost any possession he wanted and he also showed that he can create for others with the pass. While his jumper and going right (using his off-hand) are both still a work-in-progress, Heron showed that he’s more confident going to those moves than he was last summer. He’s put himself in prime position to potentially be a five-star recruit with All-American honors this spring if he continues to play like this.
As for Alkins, he was a bit more inconsistent than Heron, but the New York native had peaks that were as good as anyone at the camp. With a deceptive first step and a lot of power going to the rim, the 6-foot-4 Alkins is very difficult to stop going to the basket and he had his way at Pangos in the camp’s up-and-down style of play. Much like Heron, the jumper is still a work in progress, but Alkins is crafty scoring the ball inside of 15 feet and he isn’t afraid to finish with either hand.
2. The Class of 2017 will have a lot of big men with national-level recruitments
The Class of 2017 already has some star power among big men as DeAndre Ayton sits clearly in the pole position. Other five-star big men like Zach Brown, Wendell Carter and Jeremiah Tilmon also had some good spring showings playing up an age level in the Nike EYBL.
Although Heron and Alkins were the two best players at the Pangos All-American Camp, the two best long-term prospects might be New York-native Mohammed Bamba and San Diego-native Brandon McCoy. The 6-foot-10 Bamba has been playing 16U basketball this spring since the PSA Cardinals already have Omari Spellman and Kassoum Yakwe playing on the 17U team, but Bamba a big-time prospect with mobility, an emerging skill level and a lot of desirable physical tools. Bamba made a few moves during camp that had the place buzzing and he’s beginning to put the ball on the floor a little bit, which helps him use his quickness for his size in the post.
McCoy, who is originally from Chicago, showed flashes of strong play this spring in the Nike EYBL playing up with Cal Supreme and he’s pushing 7-feet tall and already weighs 230 pounds. Despite his size, McCoy moves incredibly well for a young big man and is at his best running the floor and making plays. The added strength has also given McCoy more of an edge on the interior and he’s getting more consistency as a rebounder and post defender.
3. Javin DeLaurier and Taurean Thompson make a big statement
Two big men in the Class of 2016 that have put themselves in position for a big summer include Virginia native Javin DeLaurier and New Jersey native Taurean Thompson. After seeing both players do good things this spring on the grassroots circuit, both big men had tremendous Pangos camps and should hear from a lot of high-major programs this summer.
DeLaurier has already been bumped into the top 50 in the 2016 class for Rivals this week with LaGerald Vick’s move out of the class and onto the Kansas roster for next season. During Pangos, DeLaurier outworked every other player on the floor and ran rim-to-rim as hard as any player on every single possession. Rebounding the ball at a high rate, DeLaurier also showed a bit of a face-up game and defended a bit as a weak-side rim protector.
While DeLaurier rebounded the ball well, Thompson was arguably the camp’s top glass man, as he snatched away numerous rebounds in traffic and finished plays around the rim. Thompson also showed an improving face-up game that included a smooth jumper out to 17 feet.
Expect both DeLaurier and Thompson to receive a lot of high-major attention this summer when they hit the July live evaluation period.
4. Terrance Ferguson needs to be more consistent
There is no question that five-star Class of 2016 wing Terrance Ferguson is an elite prospect and one of the best in his class. But now is the time for Ferguson to showcase more consistency after an up-and-down showing at Pangos All-American Camp. Ferguson is regarded as the No. 5 overall prospect in Rivals’ Class of 2016 rankings and if you’re going to be that high in the rankings, you have to bring it every game.
Ferguson is an exceptional athlete with good range on his jumper, but he disappeared for too many stretches of time during camp play. It’s admirable that Ferguson was playing through some injuries during a camp that isn’t a live-period event, but his so-so outings also happened this spring on the Under Armour circuit. Ferguson played on a very talented MWA Elite squad — so he didn’t have to carry big scoring numbers — but he shot 37 percent from the field, 55 percent from the free-throw line and 34 percent from 3-point range over the 12-game league schedule. If he wants to remain a top-five prospect, those numbers have to improve across the board.
That being said, there is no doubting that Ferguson has the physical tools to remain an elite prospect going forward. He’s still a likely All-American with his best basketball ahead of him.
5. Some new 2017 names emerge
The Pangos All-American Camp is often a good setting to see some new players who flew a bit under-the-radar this spring. The Class of 2017 had some new names emerge that high-major schools should look out for this summer. New York native Isaiah Washington had a strong camp going toe-to-toe with some of the best players in the country. The 6-foot-0 point guard is crafty with the ball in his hands and gets to the rim using a variety of moves, including spins, hesitation moves and quick bursts that leave his defender off-balance.
Connecticut native Walter Whyte emerged out of nowhere to be one of the better young guards in the camp. His jumper is a tad inconsistent, but the 6-foot-5 guard scored the ball at all three levels and played solid, fundamental basketball in a camp that can sometimes produce some bad basketball.