Ahamad Bynum, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard at Simeon (Chicago), closed out the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp the same way he started it, by cooking those that tried to stop him. Bynum is a volume shooter that is also a volume scorer who gets things done on the court. His 30-point performance led his team to a 85-79 victory in the Cream of the Crop T0p 30 game. Other top performers include Chase Courbat (Cedar Falls, Iowa), A.J. Casey (Simeon, Chicago), Anton Brookshire (Kickapoo, Springfield, Mo.), J.R. Konieczny (St. Joseph, St. Bend, Ind.) and two-time camp MOP Patrick Baldwin (Hamilton, Suzzex, Wis.)
There is plenty of difference between a shot taker and a shot maker and Ahamad Bynum certainly qualifies as the latter. The sophomore from traditional FAB 50 power Simeon (Chicago) has never met a shot he didn’t think he could make, nor one he couldn’t make. Bynum displayed that during the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp Top 30 Cream of the Crop all-star game at The Park District (La Grange, Ill.). Bynum doesn’t lack for confidence and will keep firing until someone can effectively slow him down. That didn’t happen at this two-day event, as the nephew of former Crane (Chicago) standout, NCAA Final Four participant (Georgia Tech) and NBA player Will Bynum imposed his scoring will on the opposition.
Bynum is stronger than he appears and has a wide variety of weapons in his offensive arsenal. It’s not the fact that Bynum takes shots, it his ability to hit from a variety of spots that is his true calling card and impact on the game. Deep three, step back, right side, left side, blow by, crossover, pull up and floater, Bynum has it all. He’ll need to play with controlled confidence and that killer instinct to help the Wolverines keep pace with rival Whitney Young in the Chicago Public League and Bellville West in the quest for the Illinois Class 4A state crown.
Bynum led the way for the White club to victory in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game with 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. He hit six 3-pointers from various spots on the floor in eight attempts and also had a steal and a shot block in the second half with the game in the balance in an eventual 85-79 victory over the Black club. The White club led 46-35 after Anton Brookshire of Kickapoo (Springfield, Mo.) nailed an off-balance buzzer-beating 3-pointer right at intermission (two 20-minute halves). The 6-foot-2 sophomore (2021) point guard was one of the standouts for the winning White team and breakout performers at camp. Brookshire knows how to initiate offense, shoots the outside shot with consistency and has a knack for being around the ball. He finished the contest with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Other standouts for the White club were 6-foot-7 freshman (2022) forward Jalen Washington of Westside (Gary, Ind.), who displayed a high activity level, nailed a 3-pointer and finished with nine points, and 6-foot-6 freshman Khamari Lands of FAB 50 mythical national title contender La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.). Lands, one of the most highly-regarded 2022 prospects to emerge nationally (so far), is a gifted scorer. He contributed seven points to his team’s victory.
Setting the pace for the Black club was 6-foot-9 sophomore Patrick Baldwin, a do-it-all forward from Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.), who is making it difficult with each passing day to consider anyone else the No. 1 prospect in the national 2021 class. He was effective in the open court by getting out in front of with the ball, finding lanes and with his passing ability. Baldwin also uses an effective face up triple threat game and can operate comfortably on the block. He finished with 11 points, including two 3-pointers, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Bynum’s new high school teammate, 6-foot-2 freshman Jaylen Drane, showed why coach Robert Smith has to be happy about his backcourt situation for the next three years at Simeon. Drane can really cover ground with his dribble penetration, can slither through small gaps and score from various angles and uses his long arms to get his hands on loose balls or pick-pocket ball-handlers. In fact, Drane made such an impression that he has to be considered one of the very best freshman point guards we’ve seen through three frosh/soph camp stamps with the New Jersey/Philadelphia stop upcoming. Drane finished with 17 points, five assists and five steals for the Black club
One of the campers who used the Cream of the Crop game to evaluate his standing at this camp was the Black club’s Chase Courbat, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward from Cedar Falls (Iowa). He played well during camp games and was a deserving all-star selection, but his activity level and performance in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game was off the charts. Courbat was finishing strong around the rim while displaying soft touch in traffic. He also crashed the boards with a vengeance, and had at least two impressive contested offensive rebounds put backs. Courtbat finished with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Another camper who used the all-star setting to elevate his camp stock was 6-foot sophomore guard Isaac Haney of Dora (Mo.). He was named Cream of the Crop Top 60 Game Most Valuable Player after leading the White team to a 73-69 come-from-behind victory over their Black jersey-wearing counterparts with 10 points, four rebounds, thee assists and two steals. Haney has a nice burst and change of direction and is as tough a customer we evaluated. He even took a clean charge on the most physically dominant guard in the Top 60 Game: 6-foot-3 sophomore Jaylin Gibson of Evanston (Ill).
Gibson used his quickness and strong frame to get in the key and make shots and regularly crashed the defensive glass to start fast-break opportunities. Gibson had 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
One of the best passers among the 220 participants was 5-foot-11 sophomore Tyrese Hunter of St. Catherine’s (Racine, Wis.). Hunter can see lanes and uses a variety of passing angles to make up for the fact he can’t always see over the defense. He also knows when to put steam on it, or take something off, and can thread the needle like Betsy Ross. He went for 11 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Black club.
Overall, the all-star games were well played and opened up our eyes to some players that perhaps had more pedestrian camp game performances. A couple of other players who stood out on the camp’s final day were 5-foot-11 sophomore Trey Shearer of Montezuma (Iowa), 6-foot-10 Sekou Kalle of Aspire Academy (Louisville, Ky.) and 6-foot-4 sophomore Delon Zollicoffer-White of Rufus King (Milwaukee, Wis.).