The 14th Pangos All-American Camp held in Southern California is easily the top independent camp on the annual grassroots circuit and this year's edition just might be its most talent-laden ever. The games have had their hits and misses, but the individual standouts have been plentiful, including 2017s Michael Porter, Hamidou Diallo, Trevon Duval, and DeAndre Ayton.
It's never easy getting the nation's best players under one roof in their busy grassroots schedules and with shoe company influence steering them to particular events when not participating on one of the three major grassroots circuits: the Nike EYBL, adidas Gauntlet or Under Armour Association. With that in mind, the Pangos All-American Camp is the top independent camp on the circuit and this year the talent pool is arguably the best in its 14-year existence.
To give some perspective, veteran McDonald's All-American voter Frank Burilson feels there are 13 or 14 serious Mcdonald's All-American candidates in the fold, not to mention a vast amount of underclassmen who will be at that level in due time. Among those probable McDonald's picks next winter who have stood out so far include point guard Trevon Duval, who will be returning to his native Tri-States area for his senior season after playing as a junior at Advanced International Prep (Dallas), forward Michael Porter Jr., who will be moving to the Pacific Northwest after winning a Missouri Class 3A state title at Father Tolton (Columbia, Mo.), and Quade Green, who led Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) to a state crown as well.
Here's a look at some of the Pangos Camp top performers so far (alphabetically):
DeAndre Ayton, Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix, Ariz.): The National Junior of the Year is critiqued to the tee at this level and he does need too improve his consistency being an anchor on defense, but there is so much to like about him as a prospect. Ayton has fluid moves, can pass and rebound well, and beat defenses in multiple ways. Ayton is running the court well and offensively around the basket can convert as he pleases, but some national scouts would prefer he didn't spend so much time on the perimeter. He's capable of making jumpers and they look fluid, which in itself is impressive for a seven-footer.
Hamidou Diallo, Putnam Science Academy (Putnam, Conn.): Diallo has been a ball of energy from the onset and it doesn't appear he'll slow down anytime soon. He's arguably the bounciest off-guard in the country and one of the most athletic players, period. He is beginning to show more consistency with his shooting and all-around ball skills. Diallo has been impressive so far getting by defenders on the wing and making solid decisions.
Trevon Duval, Advanced International Prep (Dallas): This Delaware native is the point guard the others are chasing and there hasn't been a more impressive all-around performer from the lead guard position. Duval has gained five to ten pounds of pure muscle in recent months and it hasn't compromised any of his lateral quickness. Duval feels more comfortable driving, but his somewhat inconsistent outside jumper is beginning to fall with more consistency and that makes him nearly unguarable at this level. Duval has split defenders and converted a powerful finish multiple times and has also shown some great defensive ability. He has a chance to be a quality defender and is the most physical two-way guard at this event.
Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia): A true lead guard, Green's tool box is one of the most impressive of any Pangos camper. At about 5-foot-11, Green can finish at the rack, is a capable mid-range shooter and can shoot the deep ball with innate scoring skills to boot. He knows how to set up teammates with what they need (soft/hard pass, location, etc.) and does a good job of keeping them engaged, even though he has the ball in his hands quite a bit. His passing versatility is about as good as you are going to see at this level.
Michael Porter Jr., Father Tolton (Columbia, Mo.): If he lands at a power program in the Pacific Northwest for his senior season such as Rainier Beach or Garfield, were talking about perhaps a Mr. Basketball USA front-runner for 2016-17. He's already one on the best candidates, regardless. Porter is that skilled, with excellent offensive ball skills combined with good footwork with the ability to cover ground. His size and athleticism combination would be enough to make him a high major prospect without the fundamentals and intangibles thrown in. National scouts have been impressed with his performances so far at this event and he is a strong Most Outstanding Player candidate.
Billy Preston, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.): He's topping out at close to 6-foot-10 and with his overall package, Preston has a tremendous ceiling. He can face and score, drive in either direction and finish, or draw and kick with good efficiency. Preston is most comfortable with the ball in his hands, but does have a good feel once the defense is drawn towards him. He has a tendency to handle too much and could utilize a back-to-the-basket game more, but the skill level he possesses at his size doesn't come around often at this level. What he lacks, can be taught and Oak Hill coach Steve Smith should be able to bring out the best in his game as a senior.
Here's a look at some of the fast-risers at the Pangos Camp (alphabetically):
Victor Bailey, McNeil (Austin, Texas): This 6-foot-4 shooting guard was more of a role player on his 17U travel team last summer, but he is making quite the individual impact so far at Pangos. Bailey explodes by defenders and has the agility and athleticism to finish a high percentage around the rim. He is efficient as well and his shown unselfish tendencies with a strong work ethic. His type of game won't go unappreciated at the next level.
Jaylen Hands, Balboa School (San Diego, Calif.): He didn't get to the camp until Saturday (thereby missing a Friday matchup versus Trevon Duval), but no defender can keep him in front. His stop and starts are just too smooth and his explosiveness is quite uncanny for an athlete with a relatively thin frame. Hands also utilizes a strong pull-up jumper and can score from a variety of angles if he's gets pushed off balance. One area he needs more consistency at is taking the challenge of locking down defenders, but he's more than capable with solid feet and good instincts.
Brandon Huffman, Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.): Inside Huffman has simply been a monster playing alongside DeAndre Ayton. When he gets the ball around the rim, he finishes with authority and the rim just sounds different when he flushes it compared to any other camper. Huffman can utilize the half hook and does a good job of keeping guards from racking the ball away despite his penchant for catch and gather, two-handed finishes. One area he needs to improve upon is his physical conditioning, so he can remain engaged at all times on the court.
Brandon Williams, Crespi (Encino, Calif.): This two-time state champion shooting guard packs a big punch in his 6-foot frame. He's one of the most fearless guards in the country; he doesn't think any guard in this event, or anywhere else for that matter, is better. Williams can score from all three levels and is one of the few smaller guards in the camp who can shoot the jumper over longer defenders. Williams is relentless in his offensive attack with a short memory should he miss or make the wrong read. Williams is also adapt and keeping the dribble alive in tight quarters and makes quality, under control decisions at full speed.
Keith Williams, Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, N.Y.): One of the nation's most underrated shooting guards, Williams is a relentless competitor who puts winning before individual accolades. He was terrific on Friday night, but wasn't quite as effective on Saturday. With his approach, a quality outing should be expected on Sunday. Williams has a scorer's mentality and doesn't let defenses dictate what shot attempt he goes after.