Competitive Pangos Camp Ends With Bang!

The 2024 Pangos All-American Camp closed with two competitive All-Star Games and when all the dust settled, it might have been the most competitive camp in the event's 22-year history. Guard Meleek Thomas takes home camp's Most Outstanding Player and plenty others shine on the big stage.

Many times in an individual showcase camp for elite talent, the play can be less than inspiring or sloppier than talent scouts or NBA personnel would hope to see. But the 2024 edition of the Pangos All-American Camp certainly didn't have that problem. The games were well-played, and most importantly, were ultra competitive from the first ones on Sunday through the final top all-star game on Tuesday afternoon.

For the first time in the event's history, there was a team championship game prior to the Cream of the Crop All-Star Games to reward winning basketball. Illinois representing the Big 10 Conference and took on Notre Dame representing the Atlantic Coast Conference both went 3-0 during regular camp games to qualify for the championship.  The Illini then came up with a 86-73 come-from-behind-victory to finish 4-0.

Leading the way for the camp's best team with his steady play was 6-foot-3 2025 guard Jerry Easter of La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Also netting 15 points for his team was 6-foot-5 2025 Jermaine O'Neal Jr. of Dynamic Prep (Dallas, Texas). Turning heads with his play on the interior was 6-foot-10 2025 Badara Diakite of South Kent Prep (Conn.). He finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

Notre Dame held a 43-41 lead at halftime but couldn't sustain it, as Illinois out-rebounded the Irish (39-37)and were credited with more assists (20-15). Joshua Lewis, a 6-foot-7 2025 forward from Blake (Tampa, Fla.) chosen for the Cream of the Crop Top 60 Game, led Notre Dame with 20 points. It should also be noted that when Brayden Burries, the 6-foot-5 2025 from Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.) and Notre Dame's top overall player, was out of the game, his team consistently gave up leads. Burries was the unifying force with his unselfish passing and overpowering finishes and rebounding. Burries' plus/minus likely was off the charts throughout the camp and he showed why he could successfully play on or off the ball at the next level.

Burries was arguably the best all-around player at the camp, with the only difference between he and Easter was the latter's efficiency from the field. Easter was credited as shooting 7-of-8 from the field in the championship game (plus his team got the win), while Burries was 4-of-10. In the Cream of the Crop Top 30 All-Star Game designed for the camp's top performers among 110 participants from 31 different states, Easter was 6-of-7 from the field (good for 15 points), while Burries was 2-of-7 (good for 10 points). Easter was just super efficient all weekend long with his controlled game, change of pace and high percentage shot attempts. He let the game come to him and has that knack for keeping defenders just a bit left or right when he attacks or on his release point. Easter has been a well known commodity on the circuit since middle school, but feels playing in a balanced attack at La Lumiere in the scholastic setting durning his junior season helped him coming into Pangos Camp.

"I came in with the mindset to go out, play and compete," Love said. "It definitely helped me get better to play with guys like Chuck Love and Jalen Haralson and in six months (playing EYBL Scholastic) I got alot better. I just love the game and I just want to have fun and at the same time be a leader."

Love and Burries actually played on the same team in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game and their Red-clad team came out on top over the Blue jersey-wearing unit, 114-106, in a competitive game. The Blue team actually led by 12 points in the first half and at halftime, 56-50. The game was tied 90-90 with six minutes remaining before the Red team took control behind some nifty passes from Burries, some steady play-making from Easter and a big 3-pointer down the stretch from the team's leading scorer, 6-foot-5 2025 wing Tounde Yessoufou of St. Joseph (Santa Maria, Calif.). Yessoufou was pulling the trigger on his open looks all camp long and finished the final game with 20 points. Yessoufou made 3-of-7 three-pointers and all of his five free throws, including two clutch ones in the game's waning moments.

Seven-foot center Xavion Staton of Sierra Vista (Las Vegas, Nev.) continued his defensive dominance and helped the Red team to victory with five blocked shots. Also playing well was Kayden Edwards, a 6-foot-2 2025 southpaw guard from Duncanville (Texas) who made 4-of-7 three-pointers and had 12 points, and Dylan Mingo, a 6-foot-5 2026 point guard from Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.), who finished with 10 points. Also making positive final impression were O'Neal Jr. and steady Devin Brown, a 6-foot-7 2025 from Milwaukee Academy of Science (Wis.).

The Blue team built its first half lead behind the hot shooting of 6-foot-6 2026 shooting guard Jacob Lanier of Maumelle (Ark.). Lanier played within himself throughout the event and didn't force much, and in the all-star game when he was open on the outside, he let it fly. Lanier made all six of his 3-point attempts and finished with 20 points. He definitely showed why he should be near the top of any credible 2026 national rankings.

Meleek Thomas, a 6-foot-5 2025 guard from Lincoln Park (Midland, Pa.), was the Blue Team's leading scorer with 22 points. After arriving from Western Pennsylvania on Monday, Thomas put his stamp on each game he played and evaluated the level of competition and competitiveness in the camp with his energy and presence. Thomas came into the event with the mindset to dominate, and outside of a few rushed shots, did just that. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named 2024 Pangos Camp Most Outstanding Player.

"I came in wanting to be vocal and be a leader," said Thomas, who has already been an All-American Elite team selection twice in his Lincoln Park career with a season to go. "Coming from a winning high school program plays a part, but it's also about me individually wanting to win at every event I play in and be the best."

The one player we were most vocal about deserving a Top 30 roster spot was 6-foot-7 2025 Chuck Love III, Easter's teammate at La Lumiere. He went out and proved his worth as the top performer in the Top 60 game. Love made a variety of mid-range pull-ups and deep shots to finish with a game-high 25 points in his Blue Team's 103-99 victory

Point guard Jalen Reese, a 6-foot 2025 from Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) also played well for the winning Blue team. Another standout was 6-foot-6 2026 Herly Brutus of Umatilla (Fla.).

For the Red Team, both Kelvin Odih, a 6-foot-5 2025 from South Kent Prep (Conn.), and Amari Allen, a 6-foot-7 2025 from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), stood out. Both finished with 12 points.

We always like to point out a few top performers who were not chosen for either all-star game. The best of a deep lot this year were arguably one big and one wing. The big was 6-foot-10 2025 Jayden Everett of Chapin (El Paso, Texas) and the wing was 6-foot-6 2025 Jaden Vance of Bella Vista Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.).

Pangos Camp All-Time MOPs

2024: Meleek Thomas, Lincoln Park (Midland, Pa.) 6-4 SG
2023: (co): Flory Bidunga, Kokomo (Ind.) 6-9 PF
2023: (co): Cameron Scott, Lexington (S.C.) 6-6 SF
2022: Xavier Booker, Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 6-11 PF
2021: Jalen Duren, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-10 C
2020: Jabari Smith, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.) 6-10 PF (Festival)
2019 (co): Cade Cunningham, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-7 G
2019 (co): Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) 7-0 C
2018: Charles Bassey, Aspire Academy (Louisville, Ky.) 6-10 C
2017 (co): Cole Anthony, Archbishop Malloy (Queens, N.Y.) 6-2 PG
2017 (co): Charles Bassey, St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas) 6-10 C
2016 (co): Trevon Duval, API (Dallas) 6-2 PG
2016 (co): Michael Porter Jr., Father Tolten (Columbia, Mo.) 6-9 SF
2015 (co): Rawle Alkins, Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 6-5 SG
2015 (co): Mustapha Heron, Sacred Heart (Waterbury, Conn.) 6-5 SG
2014 (tri): Isaiah Briscoe, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-3 PG
2014 (tri): Tyler Dorsey, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 6-5 SG
2014 (tri): Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 7-0 PF
2013: Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 6-7 SF
2012: Cliff Alexander, Currie (Chicago) 6-9 PF
2011: Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-6 WF
2010: Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-2 PG
2009: Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) 6-7 WF
2008: John Wall, Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 6-3 PG
2007: Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-1 PG
2006: James Harden, Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) 6-5 SG
2005: Davon Jefferson, Lynwood (Calif.) 6-8 WF
2004: CJ Miles, Skyline (Dallas) 6-6 WF
2003: Robert Swift, Bakersfield (Calif.) 7-0 C

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of He can be reached at [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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