Long Beach, CA - For the tenth year in a row the Pangos All American Camp was put on in California. Considered by some to be the official start of the summer AAU season, kids from all across the country spent three days competing and trying to show everyone what they were made of. This year the event was back at Cabrillo High School.
The event started off Friday night with former college and NBA coach Dave Miller firing up the kids with his no nonsense, no sugar-coating speech. Miller, the former coach of NBA point guard Chris Paul, spoke to the kids about being intense as well as not worrying about the rankings. He described former camp alumni Chandler Parsons and Landry Fields as players who no one knew about but are now earning a living in the NBA. Miller’s candid approach was very refreshing to hear and the players seemed to respond.
As is usual for the Pangos event, multiple recruiting analysts and even former NBA player Reggie Theus spoke to the kids. This recruiting roundtable is to give the kids a sense of reality and to teach them a bit of responsibility. Dave Telep gave the kids a great speech about the current NCAA transfer rate which he stated was at about 40%. He challenged the campers to not hide from adversity and simply transfer to a different school, but to instead take it head on. (for more on the Duke prospecte, subscribe to BDN Premium) [private]
Perhaps my favorite speaker was former NBA player Reggie Theus. Reggie was at the camp to watch his son Reggie Theus Jr play. Theus spoke on the passion that players play with and to use that passion in their everyday lives. He challenged them to do everything with intensity and heart. He ended his speech with a flashback anecdote about his rookie year in the league. He described his first game guarding George ‘Iceman’ Gervin and how the Iceman was a true pro. He explained to the campers that Gervin didn’t talk trash when he started taking it to him and that true pro’s don’t need to talk trash, they simply let their game talk for them.
While there weren’t many Duke prospects there were some that Duke has contacted and likely will look at in the near future.
Cliff Alexander: This was the first opportunity to see the 6’9 2014 Chicago big man and he did not disappoint. Cliff ran the floor as well as any big at the camp and seemed to constantly put forth that energy you wish to see from a big man. As most camp settings go the guards do not always pass to the big men, but that didn’t stop Big C (he has this tattooed on his right shoulder) from hustling and getting put backs in. When a guard did dump it off to him in the post he knew exactly what to do with it. Cliff showed the instincts to keep the ball up high and go straight up for dunks, eliminating any pesky guards from reaching in and stripping it away from him. He showed off a beautiful spin move across the baseline in which the defender had no chance of stopping and went straight up for a easy flush. Alexander also showed off a bit of range as he knocked down back to back 20 footers from the right baseline. Overall it was easy to see why he is considered to be one of the better big men in his class.
Stanley Johnson: By now I’ve had a chance to see Stanley a few times and he continued to bring that same defense that he was heralded for. The 6’6 Mater Dei wing has a solid frame for his age and displays some nice bounce as well. Reviewing one of Andrew’s earlier articles with him he had stated he felt his shooting and ball handling was a weakness of his. While he isn’t a deadly sniper his jumper was pretty smooth and he dropped it fairly consistently this weekend. He stated in my video interview with him that he had been working hard on it and it seemed to show. He also showed off an ability to get into the lane and attack the basket. Johnson seemed to be everywhere on the court and always playing hard defense on his man.
Wayne Selden: I was fortunate enough to see Wayne a few times last summer at the Nike EYBL in Los Angeles so it was intriguing to see how he had improved since last summer. He seemed to be slightly bigger than I remember last summer. Selden was listed at 6’5 and he looks pretty close to that listing. Wayne is very powerfully built and that alone allows him to bulldoze his way through defenders that stand in his way. Defenders had a difficult time dealing with his relentless attacking of the rim. Wayne threw down a few nice dunks showing off his power and leaping ability. Selden also put on display his shooting ability this weekend. He showed off a very smooth stroke from deep as well as some mid range game. One aspect of his game that I was surprised to see was his passing ability. He fired off numerous pin point passes over the weekend that would make some viewers light up in surprise. Andrew had stated to me that Wayne wanted to expand his game some and play point guard. While I’m not sure if he could run a team fulltime, he certainly could have a decent portion of the offense run through him with his playmaking ability. At this point he’s such a talented guard that he’s going to attract some attention, creating the possibility for open teammates to get easy looks. It was very easy to see why he is considered one of the best in 2014.
Isaiah Briscoe: Known as ‘Boogie’ on the courts, the 2015 freshman played extremely well this weekend. This was my first chance at seeing him but I was fortunate enough to catch about 3 games from the Newark, New Jersey native. The cousin of former Duke guard, and current NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, Briscoe seems to play the game with almost an older players mindset. He plays with extreme composure for such a young player. He is also built like a prospect that might be in his junior or senior year of high school. Briscoe was all over the court playing some defense as well as showing off his driving ability and shooting ability. He made some nice passes this weekend but unfortunately his teammates were unable to connect at times. Briscoe definitely looks the part of a top 2015 player and at this point there’s no reason to see him slowing down. He was very impressive this weekend and Duke fans would be happy to see him follow in his cousins footsteps.
Chris McCullough: The 2014 Bronx native was very active this weekend. Andrew introduced his game to me this weekend and I came away fairly impressed. Listed at about 6’10 the big man has some nice length for his size. At this point he’s on the thinner side but you can see his frame is built to add some weight. McCullough had some very nice put backs this weekend and was active up and down the court. He showed some driving ability from outside but I’m not sure that will be his game down the road. However, it did show the talent that he possesses at such a young age. Once he puts one more weight McCullough should be difficult to handle.
There were two PG’s that were supposed to be at the event that supposedly had Duke as dream schools. As Andrew had mentioned on the board 2014 PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright was one of them but he would likely end up picking Arizona. Unfortunately Parker was not at the event. The other was 2014 Las Vegas prospect Shaquille Carr. I was told that Carr’s dream school was Duke but wanted to confirm it. I spoke with him briefly and he lit up when I asked him if he had any dream schools. It was refreshing to see a prospect be so honest. He told me that Duke was always his dream school and that he would probably commit on the spot if offered. I asked Carr what he liked about Duke so much and he stated it was the offense that Coach Krzyzewski ran. He enjoyed how much freedom and responsibility the guards were given. Carr said he considered himself a floor general and that his strength was getting to the rim. I caught him on a few occasions and he showed an ability to drive and dish off to the man down low. He also was able to thread the needle on a few occasions this weekend. He’s currently considered anywhere from a three to four star prospect. Regardless, it was refreshing to see a player be so honest and show love for Duke this weekend.
2015 prospect Stephen Zimmerman was supposed to be in attendance but was not.
Allerik Freeman also did not attend as apparently he had been missing too much school due to various basketball events.
Former Duke great Johnny Dawkins was briefly in attendance to watch his son Aubrey.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown also was in attendance briefly to watch his son Elijah Brown.
Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck was in attendance likely catch his player Christian Wood. [/private]