Texas Does it BIG at Pangos All-South! BIG Dunks & Blocks!
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 2018 Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp was the largest in the 18-year history of the event. Not only was there over 260 campers in attendance, there was talented players and an abundance of bigs who performed admirably. The bigs battled in the all-star games and made their marks throughout the event, but in the end it was wing forward Arthur Kaluma (Universal Academy, Coppel, Texas) who copped camp Most Outstanding Player at the two-day event held at The Drive Nation facility in Dallas.
The 2018 Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp has all the ingredients necessary for a great underclass showcase event: deep numbers, size, talent, and most important…intensity. There were 11 states represented among the 261 campers in attendance and even more impressive than the raw numbers was all the long timber patrolling the paint during the camp games.
Guards tend to dominate grassroots showcase events, but at this camp with 25 players 6-foot-7 and taller, the perimeter players were met with plenty of resistance in the painted area. There were plenty of swats and shot alters during camp games and it carried over to the two Cream of the Crop all-star games at the conclusion of camp.
Sophomore KJ Adams is like a football player who decided he wanted to dominate in basketball ??? pic.twitter.com/iwrJV6ExB5
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 15, 2018
In the Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game reserved for the most outstanding players as selected by veteran media members in attendance in conjunction with camp director and founder Dinos Trigonis, some of the best banging and battling was done by 7-foot sophomore (class of 2021) Onu Ayomide (Texas Christian, Houston), 6-foot-9 sophomore Jerrell Calbert (Sam Rayburn, Pasadena, Texas), 6-foot-10 freshman (class of 2022) Lee Dort (Bethany Christian, Plano Texas) and 6-foot-8 Arthur Kaluma (University Academy, Coppel, Texas) all had multiple blocked shots, many of the “ohhh” variety, in the White Team’s 92-67 victory over the lads donning the Black-colored uniforms.
The camp’s top all-star game had a wild beginning, but the competitive spirit of the campers took over and was well-played until the game’s final minutes after the White team had pulled away. The White unit held a 34-21 halftime lead and put the game away during a key stretch where its defense took. Not only did Kaluma and Calbert come up with key blocks, perimeter players such as 6-foot-1 sophomore Devon Barnes (The Lawton Christian School, Lawton, Okla.) and 6-foot-3 freshman Nick Smith came up with some steals in the backcourt. The terrific defensive sequence concluded with a backcourt turnover by the black club that led to a 3-pointer by 6-foot-5 sophomore Terran Williams (Barton, Marianna, Ark.) that gave his White club a 56-41 lead with 12:38 remaining in the second half (20 minutes each was played).
From that point on, the White club put on a show and many of the highlights plays came courtesy of K.J. Adams, a chiseled 6-foot-6 sophomore from Westlake (Austin, Texas). Adams was arguably the most explosive big guard/wing forward in attendance, as he finished the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game with 17 points, four rebounds and two assists. With his physique and rim-attacking tendencies off two-feet, Adams reminds us of a mix between former NBA small forward Tremaine Fowlkes (CAL/Fresno St.) and current NBA forward Harrison Barnes (North Carolina). Adams took home game MVP honors in the top game.
Kaluma was excellent on both sides of the ball and for his overall two-way effort throughout and performance in the top all-star game, the ever-aggressive small forward was named 2018 Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Most Outstanding Player. On the defensive end, Kaluma started his Cream of the Crop performance with a big swat and also got it done on offense. He loves attacking from the top of the key and shoots the deep ball well enough to keep defenders honest. Kaluma tied with Adams for game-high in points (17) while nailing three 3-pointers and also contributed four rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. To us, his game is a bit reminiscent of former NBA forward Tim Thomas (Seton Hall), who was the No. 2 player in the national class of 1996 behind some player named Kobe Bryant. Thomas likely had more natural all-around talent at the same stages of development, but Kaluma has a motor that just doesn’t stop.
Dort, a freshman who knows how to demand the ball and create space to operate in the post, had three blocked shots while Calbert added four rebounds and two blocks of his own for the winning White club. Smith, who was one of the final additions to the top all-star game and was nearly overlooked because of the vast amount of teams (28) competing in the event, quickly proved he belonged. The talented combo guard displayed a nice offensive repertoire and finished with 11 points and two steals. Another standout for the white club was 15-year old sophomore Alec Zambie, a member of the Lebanon Junior National team who attends Plano West (Plano, Texas). The 6-foot-5 Zambie can score in a variety of ways with either hand and can operate inside-out, as he displayed when he hit a beautiful turn-around fall-away jumper in rhythm that many next level players wouldn’t be able to execute. He finished with eight points and five rebounds.
Nothing but straight blocks from Pangos All South Camp…yeah that’s right some actual defense. pic.twitter.com/DaPH0xpxgU
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 15, 2018
It there was a MVP for the Black unit, it would have been 6-foot-3 sophomore Joseph Vandzant (Midland Christian, Midland, Texas). Vandzant displayed a terrific all-around floor game and put pressure of defenses with his efficient dribble drive attack and decision-making. He finished with 10 points and two rebounds.
Inside for the Black unit Ayomide had a standout game with six points, six rebounds and there spectacular blocks, while Dort had three blocks of his own. Offensively, 6-foot-6 freshman Jordan Walsh (Faith Family, Cedar Hill, Texas) put forth a nice effort with his rim-attacking style, finishing with 11 points.
More Talented Timber In Top 60 Game
Although a bit more raw and with less polish than their counterparts in the top all-star game, the big men in the Cream of the Crop Top 60 Game displayed plenty of promise and would have been candidates for the Top 30 game at other recent Pangos Frosh/Soph Camps. There was just that many big men with promise to choose from at this particular All-South camp.
The Black team jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead and never looked back, recording a 78-54 victory over their counterparts wearing the White uniforms. The unofficial MVP for the game was the Black team’s 5-foot-10 freshman point guard Dallas Hobbs (Lakeridge, Mansfield, Texas), who finished with 14 points and four assists. Hobbs knows hot to effectively run a club with fundamental ball-handling and pinpoint passing and is a respected shooter. He knocked down two early 3-pointers to get the Black team rolling and had the best crossover of the camp, as he ripped one right in front of his defender and swished home a 14-foot jumper that got the crowd hyped up.
Among the big men who had relatively strong moments in the second all-star game were the Black’s Vincent Iwuchuwn, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Cole (San Antonio, Texas), 7-foot sophomore Clayton White from Keller Central (Keller, Texas) and 6-foot-8 sophomore Damion Collins from Atlanta (Texas). Iwuchuwn, who hails from the same high school that produced NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, contributed four rebounds and two blocks in limited time (there was at least 15 players on each team in both all-star games). White contributed four points and five rebounds while Collins, who look and game resembles 2018 McDonald’s All-American and Maryland freshman Jalen Smith, had four points and three rebounds and displayed excellent long-term potential.
Athletic 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Tracy Steele (North Little Rock, Little Rock, Ark.) had 10 points for the Black and displayed good rebounding ability throughout the camp. Yet another outstanding performer for the winning club was 6-foot-5 sophomore wing Jaxson Robinson (Ada, Okla.). He has a smooth demeanor on the court and an effortless jumper that was on point most of the weekend. Robinson finished with eight points and three rebounds. The Black’s Cason Wallace, a 6-foot-3 freshman combo guard from Richardson (Texas) was among the most active and productive players in either all-star game. He was consistently pushing the ball up court and finished with seven points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Jesse Washington, a 6-foot freshman point guard from Annie Camp Junior High (Jonesboro, Ark.), lit it up for the White club, hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with 14 points. Washington has a terrific shot fake, knows how to get in the key to finish and is an excellent passer.
Among the big men on the White club, 6-foot-10 freshman Mohamed Ngom (Texas Christian, Houston) and 6-foot-11 eighth grader (class of 2023) David Oyona (Covington-Douglas, Covington, Okla.) had excellent moments. Ngom was protecting the paint all camp long and finished the all-star game with two points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Once Oyona gets more comfortable playing good competition and works on getting his hands ready to catch the ball in the paint, he’ll be a terrific prospect down the line. He finished with four points, five rebounds and a block.
Other Pangos Standouts
There were nearly 100 prospects nominated for one of the two all-star games and we’d be remiss not to mention some of the better prospects who unfortunately just missed the cut. With the size of this particular camp, there were clearly some deserving players who could have easily made the Cream of the Crop Top 60 Game.
This 10th Grader Juan Reyna is shooting that thing here at Pangos All South? pic.twitter.com/h5RiGu9mBd
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 14, 2018
Those players included 6-foot-1 freshman Karter Dutton of Summer Creek (Humble, Texas), 6-foot-4 sophomore Christopher Felix of Hightower (Houston), 6-foot-1 freshman David Martinez of Atascocita (Texas), 6-foot-2 freshman Myson Huff of Liberty (Frisco, Texas) and 6-foot-3 sophomore C.J. Noland of Waxahachie (Texas).
Dutton has nice ball skills and was penetrating with ease throughout the camp. Felix has some nice moments teaming up with 6-foot-1 sophomore Jonathan Box of Heritage (Frisco, Texas), who made the Top 60 game. Martinez has a nice burst and was active all weekend long. Huff is a talented scorer and Noland made positive things happen for his camp team.
Some of the assorted camp standouts who either didn’t perform well in the all-star games or weren’t able to play include 6-foot-5 sophomore Latrell Moore (Willowridge, Houston), 6-foot-3 freshman Keyonte George of Lewisville (Texas), 6-foot-5 freshman Tre White of Little Elm (Texas), 6-foot-8 sophomore David Dixon of Briarchrest (Memphis, Tenn.) and 6-foot-3 sophomore Juan Reyna of Antonian (San Antonio, Texas).