There was a strong local contingent of ninth and tenth graders at the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp at The Park District in La Grange, Ill. A handful of players from the other 11 states in attendance make quite an impact including Corvon Seales, Jordan McCabe, and De' Sean Allen-Eikens.
La Grange, Ill. -- As the Pangos Frosh/Soph Camps have grown in popularity, participants have made the extra effort to come from a long distance in order to increase their national profile and showcase their skills in front of national scouts.
The city of Chicago is one of the greatest talent bases in grassroots basketball history and there was no shortage of talent from the Windy City at The Park District in suburban La Grange. The game used to be dominated by America's big cities, but the grassroots talent base has expanded and that was clearly evident on the first day of the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp.
Some of Saturday's standouts emerged from places such as Eldridge, Iowa, Kaukauna, Wis., Greenfield, Wis., Southfield, Mich., and Williston, N.D.
One of the gems uncovered at the camp was 6-foot-2 sophomore (2018) point guard Corvon Seales of North School (Eldridge, Iowa). Seales didn't come in with the national reputation of some of the camp's top players, but clearly displayed the talent level to one day be one of the most sought-after 2018 talents in the Midwest. Seales can push the ball in the open court and does a good job of setting his feet and getting under his jump shot. He also is an excellent athlete, which translates nicely for him on the defensive end. Seales also has a nice feel on offense with regards for when to attack or shoot the jump shot.
Seales resembles and has a similar style to current 2016 McDonald's All-American candidate De'Aaron Fox. While he doesn't quite play to that level just yet, that is the target for the unassuming Seales.
Some of the campers who came in with much bigger reputations than Seales who played up to par included 5-foot-10 2018 prospect Jordan McCabe of Kaukauna (Kaukauna, Wis.) and 6-foot-6 2018 prospect De' Sean Allen-Eikens of Williston (Williston, N.D.).
It will be hard to find a more confident prospect among the 180 than McCabe, who keeps defenders honest with his ability to distribute, run offense or stroke the outside shot. McCabe also does an excellent job of keeping his dribble alive and finishing defenders off with the use of his crossover. McCabe also has the whip-ahead pass in his arsenal which he can deliver cross court. If he keeps growing physically, McCabe will become an excellent college table setter.
Allen-Eikens was named to the 10-player 2014-15 freshmen all-american team by GrassrootsHoops.net for Williston High School after turning out the Pangos All-Midwest Camp last October and didn't disappoint of the first day this year. Allen-Eikens is the most physically imposing player at camp and no one player can stop him from getting the interior shot he desires. He also has a good face-up first step and has a high skill level offensively. How high Allen-Eikens can rise in 2018 national rankings depends on how much consistency his deep range jump shot can develop.
The most explosive player we evaluated on the first day of camp was 6-foot-4 2018 wing Bryce Washington of Southfield Christian (Southfield, Mich.). He runs the floor like a gazelle, moves well without the ball and can score in a variety of ways. Washington also has excellent size and could become a high-major college two-guard with normal development. Washington, who joined The Family club team in sixth grade, credits his new-found dedication for the game in taking the next level as both a player and prospect.
"I came here to show what I can do and show that I've been working a lot harder on my game," said Washington, who attempts to pattern his game after Kevin Durant and Paul George. "Before I was just going through the motions when I played. I do realize this is serious business."
Windy City Standouts
Among the Chicagoans who stood out on the first day of the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp were Xavier Pinson, a 6-foot 2018 prospect out of St. Patrick (Chicago), Messiah Jones, a 6-foot-5 2018 prospect out of Simeon (Chicago), Kejuan Clements, Jones' teammate at Simeon who is a 6-foot 2019 point guard, Talen Horton-Tucker, yet another player from Simeon who checks in at 6-foot-3 and is also in the class of 2018, and Raekwon Drake, a 6-foot-5 2018 prospect out of Orr (Chicago).
Simeon, the Chicago Public School League preseason favorites and a team seriously being considered for a preseason FAB 50 spot, has a large contingent of young players at the camp and Horton-Tucker was arguably the most impressive. The burly forward came to play on both ends and made three spectacular defensive plays -- two of them pocket-picks out top and the third a clean run-down block on a lay-up. Horton-Tucker also has the ability to knock down the perimeter shot.
Jones, a wing prospect who plays with a competitive spirit, also impressed scouts. He has a solid crossover, but must continue to develop his off (left) hand in order to keep defenders honest. Clements has great agility and coordination and is a fine passer, but like many of the guards in attendance tends to get a bit carried away with the dribble and looks for the spectacular play too often.
The high risk, high reward plays were plentiful on Saturday and we'll see if the guards can clean it up and take their play to the next level on day two.
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