The 2018 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp jumped off on Saturday in grand style, and the flavor of the day was the terrific passing from the plethora of talented guards in attendance, led by the dynamic Issa Silva of Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.). The camp also featured plenty of sleepers who broke out and made a name for themselves on a national stage.
Westminster, Calif. -- In the atmosphere of a showcase camp, even one as well-established with a national reputation as the Pangos Frosh/Soph Camp series, it's easy for young players to fall into a trap consisting of individualistic or showmanship style of play. The 210 plus participants at the first of four stops on the 2018 national Pangs Frosh/Soph national tour definitely wanted to showcase their individual skill set and the ones who stood out the most on the first day understood a pass-first approach would get them noticed.
Nobody at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp at Westminster High School exemplified that approach better than 6-foot-2 point guard Isa Silva of Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.), one of the best sophomore (2021) prospects in California and the West Coast. Silva had a terrific freshman season for the Marauders and for Team Lillard 16s and is showing at this camp he's one of the more polished lead guards nationally in his class.
Silva sees the game a step ahead and always has his head on a swivel, but what separates him from most is his ability to thread the needle in half court situations and tight quarters. He makes the spectacular look routine and has teammates and on-lookers alike fooled and dazzled by his passing arsenal. Silva, who was in the running for 2018 CalHiSport.com State Freshman of the Year honors, has a good enough jump shot to keep defenders honest and is always in control using his change of pace off the dribble.
"I'm good off the pick-and-roll, but Silva makes the flashy passes look easy," remarked 6-foot-1 point guard Richard Isaacs Jr., a freshman (2022) from Coronado (Henderson, Nev.). "He's been the best passer here and he's got to be in the top five so far."
Isaacs, who goes by the nickname "Pop Pop", definitely had the pick-and-roll working on Saturday and did a good job of getting teammates involved. Already with a big reputation on the West Coast, defenders attempted to pick up Isaacs full court, but to no avail. Despite guards coming after him, he easily blew by defenders in the back court as one of the fastest guards end-to-end in camp. Isaacs also had a spirited matchup with, 6-foot point guard Jason Hart Jr., a 2022 prospect from Dorsey (Los Angeles) and the son of former NBA point guard and current USC assistant coach Jason Hart (Inglewood, Calif.). While Isaacs uses speed and his pull up jumper to control the tempo of a game, Hart uses change of speed and direction, plus his ability to slash the lane from various angles, to impact games. Hart also has an effective pull-up jumper in the key and good defensive instincts.
Two other elite point guards who are in the running for camp Most Outstanding Player are 6-foot-3 2021 Devin Askew of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) and 6-foot 2021 Zaon Collins of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.). Askew is the most physically imposing guard of the lot, using his large frame and quickness to impose his will on defenses. When he gets by defenders, and that is often, Askew makes the correct read and is an efficient scorer. Collins dominates with tenacity, stamina, and defensive IQ. He and Silva teamed up on the same camp team and it was impressive to see Silva having no trouble playing off the ball or Collins impacting the game without the ball in his hands.
While he is not a traditional lead guard, 6-foot-3 2022 wing guard Joseph Hunter of San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.) has terrific pass-first instincts and the ability to score off the bounce. Hunter, who goes by "Jo Jo" and who we coined "Madera Magic" in reference to his hometown and passing ability, impressed with his all-around offensive arsenal that opened up scoring opportunities because of the pass-first approach that seemed contagious on Saturday.
High Flyer Turns Heads
While passing was en vogue on the first day of the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, athleticism and leaping ability always turns heads and gets on-lookers excited. The player who got the most "ohh and ahhs" with rim-rattling dunks was 6-foot-2 2021 wing guard Kenneth Simpson Jr. of Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.). Simpson Jr. is a vertical leaper of the first caliber and caught two bigger defenders on Saturday. The first victim was 6-foot-8 2021 Wilhelm Breidenbach of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), as Simpson's bang on the Mater Dei big man woke the Westminster crowd up. Simpson then sent the crowd into a frenzied state his his thrown down over 6-foot-3 2021 Shaqir O'Neal of Crossroads (Santa Monica, Calif.). Yes, SHAQ has another son on the way up at Crossroads, where Shaqir O'Neal was actually a deep reserve on the Roadrunners' 2018 CIF D2 state title-winning club.
The bloodlines didn't matter on Saturday, as Simpson has the ability to rise up over nearly any player in his path. His ball skills are a work in progress and his overall performance will be closely watched on Sunday, especially if he chosen for one of the camp's all-star games.
Another terrific leaper in attendance is De'Vontes Cobbs, a 6-foot-2 2022 prospect hailing from Milwaukee, Wis., who is attending FAB 50 power Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.). Cobbs is a terrific specimen who got out in transition to throw down some powerful dunks.
With the large and talented group in attendance, it wasn't a surprise that many participants with little or no national reputation stepped up and played well against many of their 2021 and 2022 peers. The sleepers who stepped up on Saturday included players from both classes who hailed from various regions of the West Coast and played various positions as well.
The 2021 sleepers who performed well include: 5-foot-11 Juwelle Jack (Vallejo, Calif.), 5-foot-8 Rashawn Wilson (Denver East, Denver, Col.), 5-foot-9 Derrick O'Neal (Ceres, Calif.), 6-foot Brennan Rigsby Jr. (De Beque, Col.), 5-foot-10 Jeremiah Jones (Wood, Vacaville, Calif.), 6-foot-5 Anthony Swift (Desert Pines, Las Vegas, Nev.), 6-foot-1 Julian Hammond (Cherry Creek, Denver, Col.), 6-foot-3 Jaden Alexander (St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Vallejo, Calif.), 6-foot-4 Marsalis Roberson (Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland, Calif.), 6-foot-5 D.J. Johnson (Moreau Catholic, Hayward, Calif.), 6-foot-8 Chris Fan (Modesto Christian, Modesto, Calif.) and 6-foot-8 Grant Tull (Gridley, Calif.).
The best of the 2022 lot included: 6-foot-2 Devin Arlington (San Marcos, Calif.), 5-foot-10 Justus Brown (King, Riverside, Calif.), 6-foot-2 Milos Uzan (Desert Pines, Las Vegas, Nev.) and 5-foot-10 Tagipo Maui Jr. (Johnson, Sacramento, Calif.).
Making a big impact with their long-range shooting were 5-foot-10 2021 point guard Mike Anderson of Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) and 6-foot-1 2022 combo guard Davion Wright of Franklin (Elk Grove, Calif.).