A Young T-Mac? Jalen Green Turns Out Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp!
National Grassroots Editor
Ronnie has evaluated basketball talent for 20 years and has over 15 years of experience in publishing, editing and managing high school sports websites for companies such as Student Sports, ESPN and Ballislife. Ronnie compiles the FAB 50 National Team Rankings while serving as an account manager and consultant for grassroots event run by Ballislife and other companies, in addition to serving as a color commentator on high school broadcasts.
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The 2016 Pangos Frosh/Soph Camps kicked off with the All-West edition and the first of five stops did not disappoint in showcasing some of the West’s best young talent. Wing Jalen Green of San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.) has yet to play a regulation high school game, but it’s quite apparent he’ll have an immediate impact on the statewide scene as a freshman. Green was one of a handful of 2020 standouts on the camp’s first day along with wing Shermar Morrow of La Mirada, Calif. Among the tenth-grade (2019) standouts were forwards Abdul M0hamed and Jamon Kemp of Seattle, SoCal forward Jaime Jaquez and guard Gianni Hunt and Colorado big man Samba Kane and Green’s high school teammate Dion Stroud.
Norwalk, Calif. — One-hundreded and seventy-four of the better freshman and sophomore players on the West Coast descended upon Cerritos College to partake in the first of five Pangos Frosh/Soph Camps taking place this fall around the country. The camp has its origins in the West and the 16th edition in SoCal hasn’t disappointed so far. Players from seven Western states plus British Columbia were represented and the most impressive performer on the camp’s first day with a silky freshman wing from California’s Central Valley.
Six-foot-4 Jalen Green of Fresno, Calif. first made waves in SoCal last February at the 2016 Pangos Jr. All-American Camp and is proving at this camp he’s one of best players in the national Class of 2020. Green showed at the camp in February he was a terrific athlete, but this weekend he’s proving to be as complete an all-around player the Golden State has among 2020 players. Green is quite explosive in the open court and changes direction with under control finishes quite smoothly and easily for someone who won’t turn 15 years old until February 2017. Green also has uncanny rebounding instincts and unlike some other young prospects, doesn’t give up on plays if his shot doesn’t go in. He also can keep defenders honest enough with his shooting and has high-level defensive ability with long arms and chattering feet.
Green obviously has plenty of development ahead of him, but some of the names being thrown around as quick NBA comparisons in terms of build and ability include Scottie Pippen, Tracy McGrady and Eddie Jones. While Green is obviously not on those players’ level just yet, there is already a lot to like about this young prospect and it’s easy to predict he has a bright future considering he has three years of Grassroots and four years of high school basketball left before college.
Green could turn out to be the best wing-type at San Joaquin Memorial since Quincy Pondexter (one of his travel ball coaches for Cali United) or even the best from Fresno overall 2000 McDonald’s All-American DeShawn Stevenson, who like Pondexter went on to play in the NBA. Green is one of three campers who will participate in the eighth annual USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October Minicamp in two weeks. The other two are 2020 lefty wing Shermar Morrow of La Mirada (Calif.) and 2019 small forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. of Camarillo (Calif.).
Morrow is an ultra-athletic wing who excels in transition and is already well-known on the grassroots basketball circuit. After all, he’s been dunking since sixth grade. Jaquez has a multitude of skills and if you wanted to win a high school basketball game today, right now, he might very well be the first pick in a draft of the players at this camp. Jaquez won’t ever have Green’s defensive instincts on the perimeter or win a foot race, but he’s offensive skill level is off the chart, as he can face up and shoot, has a good crossover plus plenty of secondary moves, and finishes with authority around the basket.
Jaquez was involved in the sequence of the day at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, trading highlight plays with 2019 forward Darren Jones of Cajon (San Bernardino, Calif.). Jaquez threw down a facial on the athletic Jones, who came back and flushed one of his own to the delight of the fans in the gym. This past summer Jaquez played travel ball for The Truth 16U EYBL team and is proving to be “the truth” among California’s top 2019 prospects.
The city of Seattle was well-represented with the likes of 6-foot-7 2019 forward Abdul Mohamed of West Seattle (Wash.) and 6-foot-6 Jamon Kemp of Garfield (Seattle, Wash.). Mohamed was one of the better all-around forwards on the first day, impacting both ends of the floor. He can block shots, finish around the rim and wasn’t trying to do too much out of his normal element. Kemp was flying around the rim looking for put-backs and rebounds and is oozing with potential. While he won’t be the stud on his high school team (which will likely appear in the preseason FAB 50 national rankings in November), he’ll one day be a big-time prospect. If the name sounds familiar to basketball fans in Seattle, yes, he is the son of Shawn Kemp, the former Sonics all-star forward and one of the best dozen or so high school players of all-time. “The Reign Man” was in the building checking out Jamon and had to like what he saw.
The best true big man so far is Samba Kane, a native of Senegal who attends Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Col.). The 6-foot-10 Kane has a solid skill level for a 2019 prospect, with good timing on both ends of the floor. The most impressive aspect of his game is keeping the ball high on offensive post moves and showing patience around the rim. He’s also a fine shot blocker and runs the floor fairly well. The likes of Wichita St., Wyoming, Northern Colorado and Colorado have already been by Regis Jesuit to check Kane out and you can bet there will be more national suitors down the line.
Two of Green’s high school teammates at San Joaquin Memorial also stood out. Dion Stroud, a bouncy 6-foot-5 sophomore wing, had some of the most impressive finishes at the event so far. Stroud has grown physically since we’ve last seen him and is ironing out the kinks in his jump shot. His handle is not quite as tight, nor his first step quite on the level of Green’s, but he’s one heck of a long-term prospect in his own right. Justin Huelskamp, a 6-foot-3 2019 guard, is one of the sleepers in attendance. Not many scouts know about him, but there is plenty to be desired. Huelskamp’s activity level is on-par with the best in the camp and his pull-up game was on point.
Fightingly, Saturday’s camp games ended in spectacular fashion with 6-foot-2 Gianni Hunt of Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) hitting a 38-foot bank shot at the buzzer to give his team a 81-78 victory.