It was a big man affair at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp and three of the best camp away with honors at its conclusion. Six-foot-9 Franklin Aguananne of Denton, Texas and 6-foot-6 LaDarius Marshall of Mississippi were Co-MVPs of the Cream of the Crop Top 30 All-Star Game. To the surprise of no one, Charles Bassey, the 6-foot-10 freshman phenom from St. Anthony of San Antonio, Texas, is the camp MOP.
Lewisville, Texas — When there are all-star games at the conclusion of individual camps, there is always worry that the event’s big men won’t get to showcase their skills because those games tend to be dominated by guards. Because the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp was full of talented big men, scouts and interested onlookers held their breath to see how the top game would play out.
The guards did a solid job of not being selfish and finding the big men — and there were plenty of good ones on both teams. When the dust settled, the game was competitive and the post players were just too talented and impactful to be denied, as the Black club rode the ability of Franklin Aguananne and LaDarius Marshall to a 95-94 victory over the White team.
Aguananne, a 6-foot-9 sophomore (2018 class) at Denton (Denton, Texas), was dominant on the glass and displayed solid offensive post moves for a young player so physically dominant. Aguananne would be a force in a high school game even if he didn’t score because he make his presence felt by taking up space (defenses must account for him in the paint) and with his relentless nature to go after the ball. He dominated action for the Black club in the first half to help keep his team within range as the White led 39-37 at intermission.
While the Denton High big man patrolled the paint early, Marshall, a 6-foot-6 sophomore forward at Forest Hill (Jackson, Miss.), took over down the stretch to seal the win for the Black club. The athletic and muscular forward hit a big 3-pointer and had a conventional 3-point play down the stretch. He then made the play of the game, stealing the inbounds pass after teammate Zarek Thomas scored on a driving baseline lay-up, and then converting that steal into another conventional 3-point play with approximately 13 seconds remaining to account for the game’s final one-point margin.
Marshall finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds — with 10 of those points coming in the closing minutes. Aguananne finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds to earn game co-MVP honors with his teammate. Marshall does need to develop a post game and improve his face up game in terms of driving past defenders with solid moves, but his explosiveness, power and jumping ability allowed him to stand out and dominate at times over the two-day event. His style attacking the basket and dunking with powerful windmills is similar to former Michigan St. and NBA forward Jason Richardson.
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 freshman (2019) guard out of Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas), hit two 3-pointers and finished with 18 points for the winning club.
Charles Bassey Leaves No Doubt
It was clearly evident early on that Charles Bassey, a 6-foot-10 freshman at St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas), was the best prospect in attendance at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp. The talent evaluators on hand wanted to see if he could retain his focus and intensity and put forth a dominant performance with the camp’s best players on the floor.
The answer was a resounding yes, as Bassey dominated in the Cream of the Crop setting as much as he did during a regulation camp game. Bassey’s ability to finish around the rim with a quick drop step, spin move, or blow by in tight quarters is something you see from a freshman his size perhaps once every five years. He has that much talent and potential. Bassey’s timing with regards to block shots and getting to ones out of his area is also special.
Bassey led the White club with 20 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots, including four of the you-got-to-be-kidding me variety where he swatted away jump shots or balls you normally don’t see ninth or tenth-graders getting to.
Other Top 30 participants that stood out both statistically and with their combination of production and potential included 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Chris Smith (Country Day, Ft. Worth, Texas) with nine points and nine rebounds, 6-foot-3 sophomore Chris Mullins (Mansfield-Timberview, Mansfield, Texas) with 13 points and four steals, and 6-foot-8 Tyreek Smith (Advanced Preparatory International, Dallas, Texas) with eight points six rebounds.
Shooters Stand Out In Top 60 Game
While a vast majority of the top big men participated in the Top 30 Game, there were some excellent shooters and wing types in the Cream of the Crop Top 60 Game — and a few of them would have been deserving of a spot in the camp’s top game.
The White club rolled to a 120-74 victory over the Black club by shooting the ball with remarkable accuracy in the first half. The White club made 10 3-pointers and shot over 50 percent on those attempts to build a big lead and roll to victory.
Leading the way was Max Abmas, a 6-foot freshman guard out of Jesuit (Dallas, Texas). He made four 3-pointers, displayed sold shot selection and also showed good rebounding ability from the guard position.
Another standout was Jeremiah Gambrell, Jr., a 5-foot-11 sophomore guard out of Madison (Houston, Texas). Gambrell made positive plays happen with his good ball-handling, passing and shooting ability. What stood and was unique in this particular camp was his ability to push the ball and pass ahead with either hand.
The Top 60 game didn’t have all the top shooters, however, as 6-foot-2 Jalen Crutchfield of Norman North (Norman, Okla.) displayed his fine stroke throughout the weekend. He only made one 3-pointer in the top all-star game, but left little doubt he was arguably the best spot up shooter at the camp. The son of University of Oklahoma assistant coach Chris Crutchfield has a mature approach and good length for a 2018 guard who is still growing. He does need to improve on attacking defenders and finding lanes off the dribble, but he’s already a solid high school player who should contribute to a talented team likely to begin the season ranked in the FAB 50 national rankings.