Pangos All-American Camp: Shooters Steal Show

Terrific perimeter shooters close out 2023 Pangos All-American Camp in grand style, as prolific shooting and scoring made difference in Cream of the Crop All-Star Games to close out the camp. Big man Flory Bidunga of Kokomo (Ind.) and wing Cam Scott of Lexington (S.C.) named Pangos Camp co-MOPs.

The 2023 Pangos All-American Camp, the 21st edition of the top-notch summer individual showcase event annually held in Las Vegas, grew on veteran scouts and media-types over its two and a half days of competition. Over the past 20 years, camp director Dinos Trigonis has spoiled scouts with his talent assembly line, so initially it was easy to focus on some of the elite players that were unable to attend because of commitments to international events taking place in the same time frame in a compacted summer grassroots calendar. When it was all said and done, however, there was plenty of depth present and many players who rose to the occasion.

Since 2018, the Pangos Camp has been event certified for NBA scouts to evaluate and the 27 teams that sent representatives this year had to take positive note on the sheer amount of quality shooters at the event. And it wasn't just your normal two-guards and combo guards doing the best work from the perimeter; it was a wide range of players who displayed marksmanship from the perimeter, including one who was named co-Most Outstanding Player of the event.

That particular player was 6-foot-6 rising senior (2024) Cam Scott, a sleek wing who had a unique combination of skill, shooting ability and a projectable frame that will only make him a better prospect as it continues to fill out. Scott, a Ballislife Underclass All-American at Lexington (S.C.) this past high school season, was as good end-to-end and as light on his feet as any Pangos Camper in recent memory. Similar to former St. John's standout and New York City high school legend Felipe Lopez, Scott's feet look like they barely hit the hardwood when he's in transition or looking to attack. Combine that with his knock down shooting and it's easy to see why he netted the camp's second most overall points (99) and was its third leading scorer (24.8 ppg). Scott closed out by making 4-of-7 3-pointers, 6-of-9 shots from the field, good for 16 points plus five assists, in the Black jersey team's 167-131 victory over the Blue jersey-clad club in the Top 30 Cream of the Crop Game.

Scott has plenty of college suitors and recently visited Oregon.Β 

"I had good people (teammates) around me and they trusted my abilities," Scott said at the conclusion of camp. "My mindset was to come in and do what I do best and be consistent to show the country where I was at."

He was far from the only standout shooter who performed well in the game designated for the camp's top overall performers. The camp's scoring leader (32.0 ppg) was also named team MVP for the Blue team. That was 6-foot-5 2024 guard Vyctorius Miller of AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.), who started the camp with a bang and also closed strong. Miller was efficiently knocking down shots from all three levels and showing good discipline in his selection and play-making. In the Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game, he had 22 points (on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and 9-of-13 from the field) and added five rebounds and three assists. Just before the all-star selections were made, Miller's shooting was the difference in his final camp game, as he knocked down a deep, game-winning perimeter shot on the left wing with six seconds remaining over the out-stretched arms of 6-foot-9 2024 power forward Flory Bidunga of Kokomo (Ind.).

In addition to Miller, the standout shooting for the Blue club was done by 5-foot-11 2024 point guard Rob Wright of Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), who canned 3-of-6 3-pointers and 9-of-12 field goals good for a team-high 23 points, 6-foot-4 2024 shooting guard Jalil Bethea of Archbishop Wood (Philadelphia, Pa.), who made 2-of-3 3-pointers and had 12 points, and 6-foot-4 2024 point guard Trent Perry of Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), who made 2-of-4 3-pointers and had 11 points.

Wright joined Miller as team MVP for the Blue jersey-wearing club in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game.

In addition to Scott, deep range shooters who brought out the heavy artillery for the victorious Black team included 6-foot-8 forward Ryan Jones of The Rock School (Gainesville, Fla.), who made 4-of-6 3-pointers and had 14 points, 6-foot-3 2024 shooting guard Mercy Miller of Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), who made 2-of-3 3-pointers and had 17 points, 6-foot 2024 point guard Ahmad Nowell of Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.), who made 3-of-4 3-pointers and 8-of-10 field goals for a team-high 19 points along with a team-high eight assists, 6-foot-1 2024 point guard Tahaad Pettiford of Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.), who canned 3-of-6 3-pointers and had 13 points, 6-foot-6 2024 small forward Rakease Passmore of Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.), who made 4-of-6 3-pointers and had 16 points and 6-foot-4 2024 point guard Labaron Philon of Baker (Mobile, Ala.), who knocked down 3-of-4 3-pointers and had 13 points.

Nowell and Houston-bound Mercy Miller, Vyctorius' cousin and the son of Rap Mogul Master P, were named team MVPs for the winning Black jersey-wearing club.

It was only fitting Wright was given an MVP award because from the point guard position he was easily the most dominant player and would have been a worthy Most Outstanding Player choice. Wright found creases and lanes better than any player in attendance and with his feel, explosiveness in tight spaces around the key and two steps ahead vision was playing the position as if he came down from the college level to put on a demonstration for the campers. This was in addition to his toughness and prowess as a scorer with terrific lower body strength who knows how to use his leverage against taller players.

"I may not be as athletic of some of the guys here, but I know how to use my body and strength to my advantage," said, Wright, who will play his senior season in the NIBC at Montverde Academy after a terrific junior year at Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.). "I really like to play to win and it's just another step to close out the summer strong by winning Peach Jam."

The Baylor Bears are not only getting a talented point guard who knows the game, they are also getting one who produces on winning teams. Wright is one of talented trio of guards who has led Team Final to a 15-1 won-loss mark on the spring Nike EYBL 17U circuit. Wright would like nothing more than to win Peach Jam and then help Montverde Academy to the NIBC title in 2023-24.

"We lost the second game on the first session before we knew who we were as a team," Wright said.

One team that will look to knock off Team Final in North Augusta, S.C.,July 6-9, is Cordova, Tenn.-based Team Thad, which includes not only includes knock-down shooters Passmore and Philon, but three more players who made the Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game and have helped the travel ball club to a 11-3 EYBL mark. Those players are 6-foot-5 Jasper Johnson of Woodford County (Versailles, Ky.), a dynamic point guard in the rising junior (2025) class, 6-foot-4 2024 shooting guard Larry Johnson of SoCal Academy (Valencia, Calif.) via West Virginia and 6-foot-7 2024 forward Derrion Reid of Grovetown (Ga.), yet another capable deep-range shooter.

Joining Scott as camp co-Most Outstanding Player was Bidunga, the camp's most dominant post player by a fairly wide margin. Bidunga was the most outstanding player at last fall's Pangos All-American Festival in Southern California and used that as a springboard to a fine performance in Las Vegas to become the second consecutive Indiana big man to earn Pangos Camp MOP honors following Michigan St-bound Xavier Booker of Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.). Bidunga was able to join an illustrious list of MOPs with his intensity, improved skill level and approach. Bidunga set the tone early in each game and made defenders feel him with punishing finishes and big blocks. For some veteran observers, his traditional game makes him a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type prospect, while other scouts feel he's just scratching the surface of his potential on the offensive end. Either way, Bidunga's impact is undeniable and his work ethic and team-oriented nature will make some P5 D1 school very lucky in 2024-25.

According to 247Sports.com, Budinga has visited Auburn, Florida, Kansas and Michigan and will look to make his college choice in the fall with Cincinnati also expected to vie for his services. He would like nothing more to cap off next season with an Indiana state title after leading Kokomo to a runner-up finish in Class 4A behind FAB 50 No. 4 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.), not to mention another title at the Pangos All-American Festival in September.

"Last year's Pangos Festival for sure gave more more confidence coming into the camp," Bidunga said. "I'm ready for another MVP performance; We're for sure thinking about state after we came so close to it."

There were many players perhaps deserving of a spot in the Top 30 Game and Trigonis challenged Top 60 Game participants to take advantage by playing hard and performing well. Three players took heed the most and earned Top 60 game MVP honors.

Jase Richardson, a 6-foot-3 2024 point guard from Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), and Styles Phipps, a 6-foot-2 2024 point guard from St. Mary's (Phoenix, Ariz.), netted 25 and 23 points, respectively, for the Blue team in its 124-105 victory over the Black club. Richardson was explosive around the basket and made some nifty passes, although he was credited with only one assist because teammates couldn't handle his pin-point passes. In fact, three nifty dimes were ruined on consecutive possessions. Both players shot 10-of-13 from the field and Phipps, who was recently offered by Boston College, has long been arguably the most crafty point guard in the 2024 class and one of its strongest rebounders from the lead guard position. He played with confidence on both ends and continued to demonstrate his prowess pushing the ball off the glass to facilitate or score with power finishes.

Earning MVP for the Black club was Arizona-bound Jamari Phillips, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.). Phillips can be streaky, but he was on target for most of the camp and finished strong with a team-high 18-point performance on 4-of-7 shooting from long range and 7-of-11 overall from the field.

Other Top 60 Game standouts who were initially considered for the Top 30 Game by the selection committee included San Diego State-bound, 6-foot-6 wing Taj Degourville of Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.), Washington State-bound, 6-foot-2 2024 point guard Adam Njie of Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.), 6-foot-4 2025 guard Alexander Lloyd of Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and 7-foot-1 2024 center Khaman Maker of Trinity International (Las Vegas, Nev.).

Pangos Camp All-Time MOPs
2023: (co): Flory Bidunga, Kokomo (Ind.) 6-9 PF
2023: (co): Cameron Scott, Lexington (S.C.) 6-6 SF
2022: Xavier Booker, Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 6-11 PF
2021: Jalen Duren, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-10 C
2020: Jabari Smith, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.) 6-10 PF (Festival)
2019 (co): Cade Cunningham, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-7 G
2019 (co): Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) 7-0 C
2018: Charles Bassey, Aspire Academy (Louisville, Ky.) 6-10 C
2017 (co): Cole Anthony, Archbishop Malloy (Queens, N.Y.) 6-2 PG
2017 (co): Charles Bassey, St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas) 6-10 C
2016 (co): Trevon Duval, API (Dallas) 6-2 PG
2016 (co): Michael Porter Jr., Father Tolten (Columbia, Mo.) 6-9 SF
2015 (co): Rawle Alkins, Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 6-5 SG
2015 (co): Mustapha Heron, Sacred Heart (Waterbury, Conn.) 6-5 SG
2014 (tri): Isaiah Briscoe, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-3 PG
2014 (tri): Tyler Dorsey, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 6-5 SG
2014 (tri): Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 7-0 PF
2013: Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 6-7 SF
2012: Cliff Alexander, Currie (Chicago) 6-9 PF
2011: Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-6 WF
2010: Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-2 PG
2009: Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) 6-7 WF
2008: John Wall, Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 6-3 PG
2007: Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-1 PG
2006: James Harden, Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) 6-5 SG
2005: Davon Jefferson, Lynwood (Calif.) 6-8 WF
2004: CJ Miles, Skyline (Dallas) 6-6 WF
2003: Robert Swift, Bakersfield (Calif.) 7-0 C

Ronnie Flores is the National Grassroots Editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached atΒ [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter:Β @RonMFlores

							

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