Pangos Midwest: Is Markese Jacobs the Next Sherron Collins?
Flores, RonnieRonnie has scouted and evaluated high school basketball talent for 20 years (and counting) and has over 15 years of experience in publishing, editing and managing high school sports websites for companies such as Student Sports and ESPN. He also serves as a manager and consultant for grassroots high school events run by Ballislife, as well as other independent operators and major shoe companies. Ronnie also serves as an account manager and production supervisor for television and online streaming broadcasts while working with companies such as ESPN and Facebook. Ronnie has been quoted in numerous publications such as the Los Angeles Times and has appeared on radio sports talk shows to discuss high school and grassroots basketball, as well as serving as a color commentator on numerous high school broadcasts. The only scout/prep journalist to once serve on the prestigious Long Beach Press-Telegram’s Best of the West panel for both football and boys’ basketball, Ronnie has also served on the selection committees for the Gatorade Athlete of the Year program, the John Wooden Award for high school basketball players and as a player personnel director for the Ballislife All-American Game and Under Armour Elite 24.
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Chicago guards got plenty of attention as the All-Midwest edition of the Pangos Frosh/Soph Camps kicked off Saturday in La Grange, including Kansas commit Markese Jacobs, but players from Nebraska (Amauri Pesek) and Iowa (Patrick McCaffery) were just as impressive. Jacobs now is being compared to former Windy City high school All-American and NCAA champion Sherron Collins. Is the comparison legitimate?
The Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp has 200 players on hand displaying their talents at The Park District of La Grange in suburban Chicago. Of those players, only one is committed to a college. That would be 5-foot-11 sophomore (2019) guard Markese Jacobs of Uplift Community (Chicago), who plays travel ball for the Mac Irvin Fire and committed to Kansas University earlier in October.
Hailing from the Windy City and being a stocky and explosive guard, Jacobs naturally draws comparisons to another Chicago guard who brought grit and talent, not to mention a NCAA championship to Lawrence: former Crane High standout Sherron Collins.
“People said I have a really similar game to him and being another guard from Chicago, it made sense,” Jacobs said at the conclusion of his camp game on Saturday at The Park District. “I got to meet Sherron this year and I am beginning to work out with him. My uncle (Antonio Jones) goes to his open gym and knows him real well. The best piece of advice he’s given me so far is to set up teammates and don’t make it always about you.”
As far as the comparisons to the 2006 McDonald’s All-American who was one of the three best guards in high school basketball for the 2005-06 season along with Mike Conley of FAB 50 national champ Indianapolis Lawrence North (who is now the richest player in the league) and NBA vet Ty Lawson of perennial FAB 50 contender Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, they are fair and give Jacobs something to strive for because its still early to call him a lock high school All-American in two years. The potential is there, as Jacobs attacks the rim with a vengance, using his strong frame to fend off bigger defenders, and has potential as an elite ball harasser on the defensive end. As most young players do, Jacobs feels he has to better utilize his off (left) hand and he does have to clean up his offensive repitriore, but he’s one of the best undersized rebounding guards we’ve seen at a Pangos Frosh/Soph Camp in recent memory.
Jacobs has an older brother he plays with at Uplift Community, senior Demarius Jacobs, and he too will be playing college basketball. The 6-foot-2 senior is verbally committed to Southern Illinois and together they hope to lift the small school on Chicago’s North Side to the ISHA Class 2A state title. Markese Jacobs has a take-no-prisoners attitude and the brothers are quite competitive. So what happens when they go one-on-one? “He still wins all the time,” Markese said with a smile. “He’s long and lanky and gets it over me. He’s getting better, but I have more time to develop, and I’m going to be the better player.”
Markese, who chose Kansas because of the way it develops and utilizes its guards, definitely doesn’t lack for confidence and it shows in his play so far at the camp.
“I feel I can’t be stopped. I’m very confident in myself.”
Other Pangos Standouts
The top overall performer on the camp’s first day and potentially the best long-term prospect at the event was 6-foot-9 Patrick McCaffery of Iowa City West, one of the best teams in the state of Iowa. McCaffrey is skilled in nearly every aspect of the game and has a chance to be one of the nation’s best players in the 2019 class. He runs the floor and finishes with smoothness and is excellent in the half court as well.
Another day one standout was 6-foot-3 2019 guard Amauri Pesek of Omaha South in Nebraska. Pesek is a physically imposing shooting guard who is relentless in his attack and shoots well enough to keep defenders honest. Iowa had plenty of standout performers at the event that we’ll discuss in more detail in our camp recap.