Five observations from the Pangos All-American Camp

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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.

Miles Kelly leads Georgia Tech to 79-77 win over rival Georgia

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 02 Northeastern at Georgia Tech
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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Miles Kelly hit another winning shot against a state rival.

Terry Roberts endured a nightmarish final minute for Georgia.

Kelly hit a long 3-pointer and then a drove for the game-winning floater with 23 seconds remaining as the Yellow Jackets rallied to beat Georgia 79-77 on Tuesday night.

Kelly hit the winning shot in similar fashion against Georgia State on Nov. 12. He did it again to beat the Bulldogs, finishing with a team-high 17 points after failing to score in the first half.

“I’m going to continue to keep shooting, no matter how many times I miss,” Kelly said.

Roberts missed a 3-pointer, turned the ball over twice with bad passes, and was called for an offensive foul as he was trying to drive for the basket that would’ve sent the game to overtime.

“A tough finish for us,” Georgia first-year coach Mike White said. “We were in position to steal one on the road.”

A pair of second-chance buckets seemingly put Georgia (7-3) in control with a 77-73 lead.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t score again as Kelly led the comeback for the Yellow Jackets (6-3) – with a big assist from Roberts.

He had a chance to essentially seal it for the Bulldogs, but his jumper beyond the arc clanked off the rim.

Georgia Tech grabbed the rebound and raced down the court, where Kelly swished a 3 from well behind the stripe that brought Georgia Tech within a point with about a minute left.

Trying to work the ball inside, Roberts made an ill-advised entry pass that was deflected and stolen by Deivon Smith, setting up Kelly’s drive for the basket that put the Yellow Jackets back ahead,

Roberts tried a drive of his own, only to have it blocked by Jalon Moore. Georgia retained possession, but Roberts’ inbounds pass was stolen by Moore, who was fouled and made one of two free throws.

Roberts took the ball again and hurriedly dribbled toward the basket, only to be called for an offensive foul when he sent Smith flying.

“Just sacrificing my body for the team,” Smith said.

Georgia stole an inbounds pass around midcourt, giving Karlo Oquendo one last shot to launch a 3 that still would’ve won it for the Bulldogs. It bounced off the rim.

The game was tight throughout. Neither team led by more than eight, and a sequence in the second half showed just how tightly these rivals were matched.

With both squads playing at a frenetic pace and showing little regard for defense, the lead changed hands on eight straight possessions as the teams traded baskets.

Stunningly, they combined to score on 19 straight possessions before Georgia’s Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe missed a pair of free throws with 5:17 remaining.

FIRING UP THE CROWD

Perhaps the biggest cheer of the night came when Georgia Tech football coach Brent Key addressed the crowd at halftime.

Key, who served as interim coach for the last eight games of the season, was introduced Monday as the full-time choice for job.

He fired up the fans by getting them to chant “To hell with Georgia” over and over again. When a smattering of Bulldogs fans responded with barks, Key smiled and egged on the Yellow Jackets crowd to drown them out.

He also declared Georgia Tech to be the “greatest school in the entire state, the entire country,” following up his vow the previous day to not back down from the defending national champion and top-ranked Bulldogs.

BIG PICTURE

Georgia: This will be a tough one to swallow for Roberts, who led his team with 16 points and seven assists. The Bulldogs lost despite shooting 53.4% from the field.

Georgia Tech: Four players scored in double figures, and two others players finished with eight points. But it was Kelly, as usual, who had the ball in his hands at the end of a tight game.

UP NEXT

Georgia: After a nearly two-week break, the Bulldogs return to Atlanta on Dec. 18 to face Notre Dame at State Farm Arena in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event.

Georgia Tech: Head to North Carolina on Saturday for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against the struggling Tar Heels.

No. 17 Illinois rallies late, beats No. 2 Texas 85-78 in OT

Illinois v Maryland
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NEW YORK – Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining, and No. 17 Illinois rallied to hand second-ranked Texas its first loss of the season, 85-78 on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic.

Jayden Epps added 11 points, including the final five points of regulation – a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left and two tying free throws with 8 seconds remaining. Epps then blocked Marcus Carr’s jumper in the lane just before the buzzer to force overtime in an entertaining showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Matthew Mayer, who faced Texas several times at Baylor, tied a career high with 21 points as he made his first seven shots and finished 8 of 10.

Shannon, who missed eight of nine shots in regulation, took over in the extra period to help Illinois (7-2) beat a ranked foe for the second time this season. He opened overtime with a jumper after Marcus Carr was called for traveling and then hit an open 3 from the right wing over Brock Cunningham for a 73-70 lead.

Shannon then converted a reverse layup and finished off a three-point play to make it 77-70 with 2:16 left. Carr hit two free throws to get Texas within one with 1:28 remaining. Jayden Epps hit a layup, RJ Melendez sank two free throws to put Illinois ahead by five, and Shannon made two free throws with 27.7 seconds left.

Timmy Allen scored a season-high 21 points for Texas (6-1), which failed to open 7-0 for the first time since 2014-15. Tyrese Hunter added 10 points but Carr was held to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting as Texas had 12 shots blocked and shot 42%.

Texas took its only double-digit lead when Dillon Mitchell hit a layup with 8:28 left. Illinois cut the lead to 58-56 on a 3 by Melendez nearly four minutes later. After Cunningham hit an open 3 with 4:15 remaining, Si’Jabari Rice made a 3 for a 64-58 lead.

Allen found Cunningham for an open jumper that counted when officials called goaltending on Illinois’ Coleman Hawkins. That gave Texas a 65-61 lead with with 1:51 remaining.

Carr’s rainbow jumper in the lane made it 68-63 with a minute left and Illinois had a 3-pointer by Melendez waved off because it called timeout with 45.3 seconds left. After the timeout, Epps made an open corner 3 with 33 seconds remaining.

Hunter missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to set up Epps’ tying free throws.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: The Illini continued to struggle with turnovers, committing 17. But only two of them came in the final 10-plus minutes of regulation or overtime. Illinois’ 15th turnover was an offensive foul by Mayer, which sent him to the bench with four fouls with 10:42 remaining.

Texas: The Longhorns had little offense beyond Allen and Hunter. While the duo was a combined 13 of 29, the rest of the team missed 24 of 40 shots.

UP NEXT

Illinois hosts Penn State in its second Big Ten game on Saturday. The Illini lost their conference opener to No. 13 Maryland.

Texas hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the Jimmy Blacklock Classic on Saturday.

Clark, Gardner lift No. 3 Virginia past James Madison, 55-50

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Kihei Clark scored 18 points, Jayden Gardner had 14 points and eight rebounds, and No. 3 Virginia beat feisty in-state rival James Madison 55-50 on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers (8-0), who lost starting guard Reece Beekman to a right leg injury early in the first half, prevented the Dukes (7-3) from winning a second straight December game in Charlottesville. James Madison beat Virginia 52-49 last Dec. 7.

Clark had seven assists while playing nearly 39 minutes with Beekman sidelined.

“Kihei gave everything he had and I had to, you know, ride him,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Sure, he missed some free throws. And I know he made some mistakes, but you could just see him, you know, how tough-minded he was.”

Dukes coach Mark Byington said he told Clark – who’s playing his fifth season for Virginia – after last year’s game that he loved watching him play.

“He’s seen everything and nothing you’re going to do is going to surprise him,” Byington said. “There’s nothing Kihei Clark hasn’t seen out there, and he’s poised. I mean, you can’t rattle him. … So I told him this time I was like, `Look, I better never see you in college basketball again.’ But he’s one of my favorite players to watch just because he’s tough, talented, and he’s a winner.”

Takal Molson scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half for James Madison, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 42-all with 7:47 to play. Gardner responded for Virginia by scoring five straight points in a 9-1 run.

The Cavaliers kept the Dukes in the game by missing eight of 13 free throws over the last six minutes.

Molson made an acrobatic layup while being fouled with 1:51 left, but he missed the free throw. He scored again with 1:01 left, pulling the Dukes within 52-50, but freshman Ryan Dunn answered with a strong move on the baseline for Virginia with 35 seconds to play.

James Madison threw the ball away on its ensuing possession.

BIG PICTURE

James Madison: The Dukes came into the game leading the nation in scoring (93.3 points per game) and having scored as many as 95 points five times. They were shooting 52.7% for the year, but made just four of their first 19 shots and finished 15 of 55 (26.9%). Vado Morse scored 11 points, the only other JMU player in double figures.

“Yeah, we knew how good they were and they showed it in spots tonight,” Gardner said. “But I think you saw a lot of resiliency tonight on the defensive end getting crucial stops.”

Virginia: The Cavaliers played the final 36 minutes without Beekman and gave extensive minutes to freshman Isaac McKneely. Virginia will hope Beekman, its third-leading scorer and a primary ballhandler and defender, recovers in time for its showdown with No. 1 Houston on Dec. 17.

UP NEXT

The Dukes return home to play Gallaudet on Saturday night.

Virginia has a 10-day break before hosting the top-ranked Cougars.

No. 25 Villanova women beat American University 83-42

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VILLANOVA, Pa. – Maddy Siegrist had 24 points and seven rebounds, Lucy Olsen added 14 points and No. 25 Villanova beat American University 83-42 on Tuesday night.

Siegrist scored 15 points in the opening 13 minutes as Villanova led 34-15. The Wildcats extended it to 46-23 by halftime before starting the second half on a 9-0 run for a 32-point lead.

Villanova added an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter for its largest lead of the game at 79-36. The Wildcats held American to 15-of-50 shooting (30%) and scored 21 points off 19 turnovers.

Christina Dalce scored 13 points for Villanova (8-2), which plays Saint Joseph’s on Saturday before taking a week off for final exams. Siegrist, who was coming off a 29-point performance on Sunday, made 10 of 17 shots as Villanova shot 56%.

Emily Johns scored 12 points for American (0-8), which hosts Marist (3-5) on Saturday.

No. 6 UConn star Azzi Fudd out 3-6 weeks with knee injury

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STORRS, Conn. — Sixth-ranked UConn’s top scorer, Azzi Fudd, is expected to be out three to six weeks because of a right knee injury she suffered during her team’s weekend loss to No. 5 Notre Dame, a university athletic spokesperson said.

The sophomore guard was injured in the first half of the game when a teammate collided into her. She returned midway through the second period to play four hobbled minutes, but sat the rest of the way.

“I think she’ll be all right,” coach Geno Auriemma said afterward.

Fudd entered the game averaging 24.0 points but finished scoreless on two shots over 13 minutes in the team’s first loss of the season.

The athletic spokesperson didn’t specify the type of knee injury Fudd sustained.

She underwent evaluation and an MRI confirmed the injury, the spokesperson said.

The Huskies host Princeton next.