LONG BEACH, Calif. – Consider the summer basketball circuit officially here. Though the players have been toiling at various events for the last two months, the Pangos All-American Camp for many evaluators, ring in a new batch of prospects.
Camp director Dinos Trigonis invited 125 players, there were a handful of no-shows and four of the five injured players did not attend.
The genius of the camp is less is better, though. Trigonis put together the three-day camp at Cabrillo High’s East Gym on a shoestring sans shoe company input.
Nike and Reebok will hold their camps next month in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, respectively.
The camp concluded Sunday afternoon with Top 30 and Top 60 Cream of the Crop games, meaning the top-60 players – as voted on by the evaluators and media – competed on a larger stage after playing four pool games.
Clearly, the standout of the camp was Cliff Alexander of Curie (Chicago). The 6-foot-9, 240-pound rising junior demonstrated ferocity in the post, a pro body, solid handle in leading the break and power rebounding.
Alexander was tabbed the Most Outstanding Player is the prized recruit from Illinois in the Class of 2014. During camp several rumors have Alexander, who lives on the west side of Chicago, transferring schools. He projects to be a force of nature as a 4-man at the next level.
Alexander says he’s interested in Marquette, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan State, Georgetown and Indiana. Check him out with Team Rose this summer.
A trio of players walked away with Top 30 all-star game honors, but also made statements with their superior play.
Conner Frankamp, a 6-1 point guard from Wichita (Kan.) North is a true combo guard. The Kansas recruit makes sound decisions, distributing the ball in camp environs that begs for players to shoot-first. Frankamp’s skills have expanded recently.
As a junior, Frankamp pumped in 32.3 points per game and will play for the USA Basketball U17 Team that will compete this summer in the FIBA World Championships in Lithuania. He’s a surefire candidate for the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago.
Additionally Stanley Johnson and Zena Edosomwan excelled in the Top-30 game. Johnson, a 6-8 rising senior from Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), is skilled in the low post and hits the offensive glass. He recently committed to Harvard University.
“I really liked the coaching staff and a Harvard education is invaluable; I’m really excited,” Edosomwan said.
Johnson, a rising junior Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) is an aggressive 6-6 wing. He took a strong to the rim and is deadly on the break. He doesn’t take time off on defense.
Here’s a look at the remainder of the Top 30 selections:
Class of 2013: 6-1 Solomon Poole, Parker (Jacksonville, Fla.); 6-3 Billy Garrett, Jr., Morgan Park (Chicago); 6-5 Dakari Allen, Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.); 6-6 Jaron Hopkins, Basha (Chandler, Ariz.); 6-3 Brandon Austin, Imhotep (Philadelphia); 6-4 Kendal Harris, Berkner (Richardson, Texas); 6-5 Isaac Hamilton, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.); 6-8 Vince Hunter, Consortium (Detroit); 6-10 Christian Wood, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); 6-8 Mike Young, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.); 6-9 Johnathan Williams, Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.); 6-9 Karviar Shepard, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas).
Six-two Ikenna Iroegbu, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.); 6-2 Zach LaVine, Bothell (Wash.); 6-2 Anton Gill, Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.); 6-7 Stephen Domingo, St. Ignatius Prep (San Francisco); 6-7 Jordan Bell, Poly (Long Beach, Calif.); 6-8 Jarrell Martin, Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.); 6-9 Jermaine Lawrence, Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.); and 6-5 Roschon Prince, Poly (Long Beach).
2014: 6-8 Kavon Looney, Hamilton (Milwaukee); 6-4 Namon Wright, Pacific Hills (Los Angeles); 6-5 Wayne Selden, Tilden (Keene, N.H.); 6-6 Shaqquan Aaron, Victorville (Calif.); 6-7 Daniel Hamilton, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.).
2015: 6-4 Tyler Dorsey, Ribet Academy (Los Angeles); 6-8 Ben Simmons, Melbourne, Australia; 6-2 Isaiah Briscoe, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.).
Additionally, keep an eye on Dakari Allen of Sacramento who stood out as a defender, shutting down Georgetown-bound Stephen Domingo of San Francisco and Shaqquan Aaron.
Speaking of Aaron his name was linked to transfer rumors. Nothing concrete but he would likely land at a West Coast power program.
Aaron, who is home schooled, has several high-majors in pursuit.
Zach LaVine from the Seattle area opened the eyes of many with his NBA three-point range, emphatic drives punctuated with power dunks, long arms and fearless approach. At 6-4, he has several Pac-12 schools on board but some feel he’ll verbal to UCLA this summer.
In case you missed it, power forward Mike Young is back at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J. Last season he attended Hudson Catholic in nearby Jersey City, helping his team win their first county title since 1975, going 25-3.
The 6-8, 220-pounder averaged a double-double, 15.9 points and 11.6 rebounds. He has interest from Seton Hall, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Florida, West Virginia, Miami, Rutgers and Pittsburgh. Young is a solid post, with crisp interior moves.
In the Top 60 Game, Kevin Zabo of Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) scored 14 points, making two 3-pointers, and Martez Harrison of University Academy (Kansas City, Mo.) added nine as the Blue squad topped the White squad, 69-66.
Rising junior JaQuan Newton of Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) scored 14 points, sinking 7 of 9 shots for the White squad. Newton is a fearless 6-3 combo guard who will get his teammates involved in the offense but is strong enough to beat his man off the bounce en route to the lane.
Zabo, who plays for a national powerhouse program, is a floor leader with great court awareness and above average defending skills.
One of the finds of the Pangos Camp was 6-8 Ben Simmons, an Australian from the Class of 2015. Simmons is a 6-8 wing forward who looked comfortable playing against some of the top players in the two classes preceding him.
His father, David, a native of Bronx, N.Y., played at South Bronx High and then Oklahoma City University, an NAIA power coached by legendary Abe Lemmons. David Simmons then launched a pro career in Australia’s competitive league, was married and started a family there.
Now son, Ben, is about a year away from attending high school in the United States. Ben, who attends Box Hill Secondary College School in the east suburb of Melbourne, would have at least two years. He’d be a good fit at a national at a boarding school such as Findlay Prep, Oak Hill Academy, St. Benedict’s, Huntington Prep (W.Va.), Montverde (Fla.) Academy or La Lumiere School (Laporte, Ind.). Findlay and La Lumiere coaches attended the camp.
Ben Simmons is a lefty wing, with a nice stroke. He also battles on the boards and isn’t afraid to mix it up in the lane. Once he physically matures, Simmons will be a high-major target.
The gym was buzzing Saturday night when 7-5 Mamadou Ndiaye arrived. Ndiaye, a native of Senegal, is believed to be the tallest high school player in the U.S. He came to Brethren Christian in Huntington Beach, Calif., last year. He lives with a host family in Orange County and is a strong Christian.
Ndiaye recently had a tumor removed from his pituitary gland, which led to his growth spurt and caused reduced sight. He is now healthy and excited about a college decision.
He’s already receiving attention from West Coast schools. Ndiaye said, he’s interested in attending school in southern California and has not ruled out local maid-majors like UC Irvine, Fullerton State and Long Beach State.
On the court, he’s a future pro. “You can’t teach that kind of height,” one West Coast evaluator said.
Ndiaye is a work in progress and would benefit from the knowledge of training with a skilled big man’s coach. His sense of timing blocked shots is a step too late but he definitely can redirect shots from 15 feet and in. He has nice form from the free-throw line and is a low-post mismatch. At Pangos, he was guarded by defenders eight or nine inches his junior.
Once he seals his man and receives a feed, Ndiaye is deadly. He has long, graceful strides and runs the floor well. His wingspan resembles the length of the Golden Gate Bridge.
There’s a high ceiling on this affable Senegalese prospect.
Christopher Lawlor is a Senior Writer for Blue Media and compiles the Blue Star Go-To 25 national boys and girls high school basketball rankings during the season. Lawlor, an award-winning writer, is a voting committee member and advisor for several national high school events, including the McDonald’s All-American Games. He previously wrote for USA TODAY and ESPN.com, where he was the national preps writer, while compiling the national rankings in four sports. He also managed the Gatorade national high school player of the year award program for a decade at Scholastic, Inc.
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