The 2018 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp concluded Sunday with the Creme of the Crop All-Star Games and once again the top guards stole the show and put their stamp on the event. None were more impressive than sophomores Issa Silva of Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.) and Devin Askew of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). When it was all said and done, both lead guards closed out the camp strong with Silva earning top all-star game MVP honors and Askew taking home camp Most Outstanding Player.
Westminster, Calif. -- With the sheer amount of standouts through the camp games, it wasn't surprising there was lingering questions as to whom would emerge as 2018 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp Most Outstanding Player. That is not always the case, as sometimes there is a clear-cut No, 1, but in this instance the dust hadn't settled among the top campers, especially the top shelf guards who performed so well on Saturday.
Isa Silva of Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.), a 6-foot-2 sophomore (2021) point guard, teamed up on the same camp team as fellow tenth-grade lead guard Zaon Collins of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) and both had terrific outings during the camp. The thought process was to place that duo on separate all-star teams and have Silva match up with talented freshman (2022) lead guard Richard Isaacs Jr., from Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) with Devin Askew, a 2021 prospect from Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) teaming up with Silva.
Silva and Askew proceeded to start off the Crean of the Crop Top 30 Game completely on fire from the outside for the White Club and it was just too much for the Black Club to overcome despite a valiant effort. Silva hit two long 3-pointers in the first half while Askew nailed four and made a ton of defensive plays to spark their club. The Black club quickly trailed 22-3 and 22-8 as there wasn't anything Collins and Isaacs could do to slow down the heavy rain of 3-pointers.
Silva had his normal IQ and nifty passing game working, but when he has the deep outside shot flowing like his did on Sunday, there are few high school defenders that can do anything with him. Same holds true for Askew, who is just as good a physical scoring lead guard as Silva is a true pass-first guard. Askew's intensity, ability to push the ball, and combination of size and quickness made him virtually unguardable despite a multitude of defenders taking their turn to slow the Mater Dei standout down.
The Black Club eventually fought back behind the outshine shooting of Isaacs and Tsalta "T.J." Wainwright, a 6-foot-1 2021 guard from Santa Monica (Calif.). Isaacs had 10 first-half points and Wainwright went bonkers from the outside, nailing four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points before intermission. The Black Club also got excellent play from 6-foot-4 2021 off guard John Christofilis of O'Dea (Seattle, Wash.), who had all seven of his points in the first half. Christofilis was one of the camp's most consistent long range shooters and he also is a quality rebounding guard with a good feel for the game.
The Black Club actually took a 54-50 halftime lead, but with the game in the balance Silva continued to connect from deep range and Askew imposed his will on the game's outcome, as the White Club pulled away to a 102-86 victory.
Silva led all scorers with 26 points, including four second half 3-pointers, and also contributed four rebounds and four assists for the winning club. Askew closed out with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals. It ended up being a close call and both players were deserving, but based on his all-around play on both ends on the floor in the camp and all-star games, Askew was chosen Most Outstanding Player.
"I came to the camp expecting that it would be a competitive and fun environment," Silva said. "It's been a great camp for years now and it didn't disappoint. Once the first game started I just wanted to play my game and show all the tools and attributes I bring to the table. I wanted to make my mark on this year's camp and establish myself as an elite prospect not only on the West, but nationally.
"In the all-star game, I felt some rhythm in my step and knew I was going to catch fire. It was a great feeling that a shooter lives off. It was great to finish the camp with a good game and the win."
Silva was named one of the top all-star game MVPs along with Wainwright, who finished with 18 points and four rebounds and Isaacs, who netted 14 points. Isaacs was the top incoming freshman guard in attendance, while the top freshman big man was 6-foot-8 Kijani Wright of Windward (Los Angeles), who nine points and six rebounds for the White Club.
The camp's top performers among the freshman "off" or wing guards were 6-foot-3 Joseph "Jo Jo" Hunter of San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.) and 6-foot-4 Christian Moore of Brentwood (Los Angeles). Hunter is praised for his slashing and scoring ability, but his hit-ahead passing in the open court is what separates him from most. Hunter can stroke the outside shot and is still a bit more consistent from long range than Moore, but the incoming Brentwood freshman also is an unselfish wing-type who knows how to play the right way and is fantastic finishing in transition. Hunter hit two 3-pointers and finished with six points and had four rebounds for the White Club, while Moore had eight points for the Black Club.
Six-foot-9 Wilhelm Breidenbach of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), arguably the top big man among sophomores, had four points and five rebounds for the White Club. Kennedy Reece Dixon, a rapidly improving 6-foot-4 sophomore wing guard from Dorsey (Los Angeles), had a terrific outing with 13 points for the White Club.
Frankie Collins, a 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard from Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.), chipped in nine points for the Black Club, while Marsalis Roberson, a 6-foot-4 emerging sophomore sleeper from NorCal power Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.), chipped in nine points and two blocked shots.
Other Sunday Standouts
With over 210 campers in attendance and an abundance of talent, selecting the players for the top all-star game was no easy task. So it comes as no surprise the three players who elicited the most discussion and were probably the closest to making the Top 30 game were the actual standouts of the Creme of the Crop Top 60 Game.
Those three players were 5-foot-10 2021 point guard Mike Anderson of Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), 6-foot-1 2022 combo guard Dylan Andrews of Windward (Los Angeles) and 6-foot-1 2021 combo guard Aaron Burgin Jr. of San Diego (Calif.). Anderson is your prototypical Philly lead guard: a stocky and strong take-no-prisoners type who can will his way to the basket while keeping defenders honest with the perimeter shot. He scored 20 points, while Andrews slashed his way to a game-high 24 points. Burgin Jr., the son of San Diego County scout and former Birmingham (Van Nuys, Calif.) player Aaron Burgin Sr., has always been known for his IQ game and on-ball defensive ability. Over the course of the past year, however, the younger Burgin has transformed his body in order to keep pace with the elite 2021 West Coast players without losing any of the other skill or intangibles he brings to the game. He netted 11 points.
Speaking of Birmingham, 5-foot-11 sophomore Dave Elliott is a Patriot to watch this season. The quickly-emerging tenth-grader had 14 points.
We'd be remiss to not mention two players who performed admirably, but did not play in either all star game. In fact, the duo arguably could have played in the top all-star game with little dissent or fall-off. They are 6-foot-1 2022 combo guard Davion Wright of Franklin (Elk Grove, Calif.) and 6-foot-3 2021 combo guard Jaden Phillips of Foothill (Bakersfield, Calif.). Wright was one of the best long-range shooters in attendance while Phillips is more of a streaky shooter with a long frame who will be a big-time high school player with added physical maturity.