The 13th Annual Pangos All-American Camp kicked off on Friday evening in Carson, Calif. with two sets of games. We take a look at some of the first day standouts and top the individual matchup.
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View my Pangos Camp Day 3 Recap | Link
The Pangos All-American Camp has evolved into arguably the top independent (i.e. non shoe-company sponsored) elite camp on the grassroots circuit. The event, founded and directed by Dinos Trigonis, has grown from a camp with a regional feel to one with a solid national outreach with a focus on potential “breakout” performers.
The top performance on Friday was turned in by 6-foot-5 shooting guard Mustapha Heron of Sacred Heart (Waterbury, Conn.). Heron used his strong frame and confidence around the rim to score 26 points in his team’s 66-55 victory. Heron, a 2016 prospect, dominated play with a combination of overpowering moves to the basket and crafty finishes.
Video: Mustapha Heron Highlights
Heron, who led his high school team to a 28-0 record and No. 26 Grassroots Hoop FAB 50 national ranking, knows how to set up defenders with hesitation moves that leads to open lanes to attack. In one sequence, he took a nice pass from 2018 guard Spencer Freedman of Santa Monica (Santa Monica, Calif.) and converted a hard angled layup. When Heron got fouled, he made the opposition pay as he converted 14-of-14 shots from the free throw line. In addition to the production, Heron was vocal with teammates and looked to lead by more than just example.
“A lot of us don’t know each other well, so the more vocal you are, the more comfortable guys can get with you,” Heron said. “The ball fakes are a natural part of my game; I’m just that type of player.
“Last season, we went 28-0 and the team came together at the right time. Individually, I’m just trying to get better in all aspects of my game.”
Heron is open in his recruitment with the St. John’s new coaching staff looking like they’ll be major factors in the race. He wants to make his decision by the start of his senior season.
Mario Kegler vs. Billy Preston Highlight Second Round Games
In a grassroots setting such as Pangos Camp, evaluators not only look for the top performers, but the top individual matchups of players who play similarly or the same position.
The top matchup we evaluated was 6-foot-9 junior-to-be Billy Preston of Prime Prep (Dallas, Texas) and 6-foot-7 senior-to-be Mario Kegler of Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.).
One thing we noticed right away is how much bigger Preston was, as he could eventually be a legit 6-foot-10 prospect with face-up guard skills. As Preston has grown in recent years, he hasn’t lost any coordination while his ball-handling and decision-making continue to improve. He still needs to work on his shot release (a bit low), but overall he’s easily one of the most versatile prospects at the camp.
Preston was able to overpower Keggler at times early in the game and controlled the offensive glass. Keggler adjusted and was a bit more active to get on the break to his advantage as the game wore on. Keggler got fouled and converted some easy buckets to help his team pull out a 59-46 victory.
Preston, a Southern California native, was credited with 11 points, including two 3-pointers, four rebounds and three assists. Keggler, a Mississippi native, made 7-of-14 field goal attempts to finish with 21 points and 6 rebounds.
The numbers favor Keggler on paper, but Preston performed as well as any game we saw during the high school season. His decision-making has vastly improved and his post passing out of double teams was on point.
As for Keggler, he made a positive impact as he tries to prove to national talent evaluators that he’s one of the best prospects in this class, which he told us is his main summer goal. Keggler is taking an unofficial trip to Arizona State after the camp and is excited to be on the West Coast.
“I’ve never really been out here much, so to see the city of Phoenix and what it’s like, that is going to be awesome,” Keggler said. “When I was in eighth or ninth grade, Texas was my dream school and Kevin Durant was the first basketball player I ever followed. When they saw me play for the first time, I had a good game and I even cried before it because I was so pumped up and happy. As I gotten older, I don’t know, I realize there is a lot of things out there to see and learn.”
“I’ve talked to coach (Bob) Hurley and he’s a great coach.”
Video:Billy Preston Highlights
Other Friday Pangos Standouts
Trae Young, Norman (Norman, Okla.) 6-2 2017 G: We watched Young play in the EYBL last weekend for Mokan Elite, and the more we watch him, the more we realize how much he impacts the game. Young has a nice pull-up jumper and even though he isn’t overly athletic, he makes up for that it with a knack for being in the right place at the right time and being a step ahead of the defense. He made two 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 11 points.
Bol Bol, Bishop Miege (Roeland Park, Kan.) 6-10 2018 C: What stands out right away about the son of former 7-foot-6 NBA center Manute Bol is how fluidly he runs the court for a young post prospect. Bol Bol didn’t always get the ball in the right positions when he was hustling, but it’s easy to see the talent and immense potential. We saw him block a shot and he had a highlight alley-oop finish. Bol Bol finished 3-of-4 from the field for eight points.
Video: Mustapha Heron and Mario Keggler Highlights
Taurean Thompson, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 6-10 2016 C: Had an awesome performance with 23 points, on 11-of-13 shooting, to go along with 10 rebounds. More than just numbers, Thompson stole a couple of rebounds offensively because of his great hands and gets after it on the defensive end. He’s just a competitor and doesn’t ever want to come out of the game.
Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores