In a showcase camp designed for some of the West Coasts’ standout eighth and seventh graders, it was 6-foot-3 Moses Moody, a wing player from Little Rock, Ark., that put himself on the map with a standout performance over the two-day event. Moody also displayed some of the best long-term potential among the 25 players at the Pangos Jr. All-American Camp selected for the Best of the Best Game at the camp’s confusion. Some of the other standouts included local SoCal products D.J. Davis, Josh Christopher, Paris Dawson, and Ryan Evans.
Lakewood, Calif. — The purpose of the Pangos Jr. All-American Camp held over the weekend in Southern California was to give some of the West Coasts’ top middle school players exposure to an elite camp setting, allow them to test their skills against other elite talent and challenging the participants to break the recent trend of lackluster team play regularly found in grassroots camp settings.
The lackluster me-first attitude of play is proving to be difficult to change overnight, but there were signs of the young teenagers getting the message. They played with a competitive spirit and the ones with a humble attitude and solid work ethic proved to stand out the most among the 120 campers from eight different states in attendance.
One player who combined the correct attitude and work ethic with tremendous talent and oozing potential was 6-foot-3 Moses Moody of Little Rock, Ark. The 13-year old wing is a slasher with the ability to knock down the perimeter shot at a solid percentage. Moody has good length and covers a tremendous amount of ground in the open court where he’s most dangerous. Despite being one of the younger eighth-graders in attendance, Moody also had the foresight to know exactly what he needs to work on in order to improve is game.
“People back home say I play like a young Kevin Durant and that is the goal for me, to play like K.D.,” Moody said. “He’s more explosive than I am and has a better first step and that’s where I need to improve.”
Moody put his stamp on the weekend with a 23-point, 6-rebound performance in the Best of the Best Game designed for the camp’s best overall players regardless of class. He nailed five 3-pointers and made 9-of-12 shots from the field (best among all players) to lead his “Black” team to a 133-100 victory. There is a good chance Moody will end up at Parkview High School in Little Rock this upcoming fall.
Another player unknown in local circles who stood out over the weekend was 6-foot-4 Jalen Green of Fresno, Calif. Green is a terrific multi-dimensional athlete with great burst to beat defenders. He also was one of the camp’s high flyers and threw down the most memorable dunk of the event that served notice Green’s ability was not to be overlooked. Even though he didn’t play particularly well in the Best of the Best Game for the losing “White” team, Green was one of the event’s standout performers.
Besides Moody and Green, some of the most explosive players, whether in the open court or with their first step, were 6-foot-3 eighth-grader Khamron Joseph Cantrell of West Los Angeles, 6-foot eighth grader Josh Christopher of Carson, Calif., 5-foot-7 seventh grader Keon Henderson of Detroit, Mich., 5-foot-10 eighth grader Paris Dawson of Carson, Calif. and 5-foot-9 seventh grader Richard Sarmiento of Phoenix, Ariz.
Dawson, a confident guard who can score in bunches, was joined by 6-foot-1 Malik Thomas as the only seventh graders (Class of 2021 prospects) to participate in the Best of the Best Game, which was filled with a vast majority of the most mature and physically developed crop from the camp. Thomas, a big-bodied guard with a variety of scoring skills, was one of six players in double figures for the White team with 11 points. The Alta Loma, Calif. product is the cousin of San Diego State standout and 2015 Ballislife All-American Game participant Jeremy Hemsley.
Leading the way for the White club was 6-foot-6 eighth grader Johnny Juzang of Tarzana, Calif. A fluid and mobile player who grabs offensive rebounds and uses his quick hands and feet to score in a variety of ways, Juzang finished with a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds. Christopher, the younger brother of NBA player Patrick Christopher, added 13 points.
In addition to Moody, the Black team got a terrific performance from 6-foot-1 eighth-grader Ryan Evans of Trabuco Canyon, Calif. and 5-foot-9 eighth grader D.J. Davis of Moreno Valley, Calif. Evans is a sweet-shooting two-three combo who competitive nature with the ability to shoot at a high clip when his feet are set. He finished with a game-high 26 points, including three 3-pointers, and five rebounds. Davis is a natural scorer who can light it up from all three levels. He finished with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, and three assists.
The best overall stat line was turned in by the Black’s Yassine Gharram, a 6-foot-1 guard from San Diego, Calif. Gharram sees the floor and is an instinctual rebounder who can do a bit of everything out on the court. Gharram finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and one steal.
In the Top 40 (second game), 6-foot-1 eighth grader Dalen Terry of Phoenix, Ariz. had an outing that was on par with Moody’s and Gharram’s performance in the top game. Terry had 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, but his White team came up just short against the Black, 74-71. Terry continously looks ahead for the open man and knows how to create for others or get an open look for himself. Similar to Moody, Terry is also a 13-year old heading to high school in the fall and it was evident the lanky point guard was one of the better long-term prospects of the 120 participants. An area of improvement for Terry is finishing high percentage field goal attempts around the basket, which will likely be addressed as he adds strength.
Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop felt Terry was the best player in the second game, while Sarmiento (14 points, 4 assists) and Henderson (17 points, three assists, two steals) were the standouts in the Top 7th Grade game. Sarmiento is a shooting guard who gets to where he wants on the court and is an advanced scorer, while Henderson was one of the best on-ball defenders and is already an elite ball-handler.
There were a handful of sixth and fifth grader in attendance, and two sixth graders (Class of 2022) deserving of recognition were 4-foot-11 guard Josiah Johnson of Sacramento, Calif. and 6-foot-3 post player Christian Moore of North Hollywood, Calif.