Pangos All-South: Defense Reigns Supreme!

Players in this post:
Tre Johnson

The Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp is always a lively event and the 2021 edition at the Duncanville Fieldhouse in Dallas didn’t disappoint. With 240 players from 19 states, the event was long on quality and the top all-star game was the highlight of the camp. Defense was the name of the game and when the dust settled, big man Parker Jefferson of Waxahachie (Texas) and wingman Tre Johnson of Lake Highlands (Dallas) emerged as camp co-most outstanding players.

The Dallas Cowboys were victorious on Sunday afternoon, but the best defense in Big D wasn’t being played at AT & T Stadium. It was being played at the Duncanville Fieldhouse at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp. Throughout the event, easy baskets were at a premium, as defenders ball-hawked 84 feet, denied post entry passes and contested shot attempts at the rim.

That style of play made for a competitive environment and that competitiveness was most evident during the Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game designed for the camp’s top performers. The White jersey-wearing club took a 28-27 halftime lead, but the club wearing the Black jerseys went on to record a 54-51 win after holding off a late White club rally in what was the lowest scoring Cream of the Crop Game in the annual event’s history.

Leading the way in the late comeback attempt for the White club was 6-foot-8 freshman (2025) forward Parker Jefferson of Waxahachie (Texas), who scored on a variety of silky post moves and smooth baseline shots to put his club within range to tie the game on its final possession. Jefferson got three quality looks at a potential game-tying 3-pointer. Two of them were of the in-and-out variety and the third was on line, but just long.

The fact Jefferson’s teammates kept feeding him the ball and he was able to get open speaks volumes of his ability and instincts for the game. Jefferson utilizes effective half hooks over both shoulders around the basket, smooth turnaround jump shots, bank shots off post entry passes and can finish well with either hand. He was by far the most polished pivot player at the camp and in one camp game looked like UCLA immortal Bill Walton vs. Memphis in the 1973 NCAA title game, continuously scoring on soft lay-ups off post entry lob passes over the top.

Jefferson netted 16 of his team’s 51 points in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game to cap off his co-most outstanding player honor. It’s fitting he was the game’s only double digit scorer, as the co-Cream of the Crop Top 30 Most Valuable Players were the brother duo of 6-foot-9 sophomore (2024) Israel Nansha and 6-foot-8 2025 Jed Nansha of Hillcrest (Dallas). The Nansha brothers were rewarded for their relentless defensive effort, as they stood out among a plethora of all-star players who were crashing the defensive and offensive glass and contesting field goal attempts around the cup. Israel finished with two points and seven big rebounds for the victorious Black club, while his younger brother and teammate added six points and four rebounds.

Other Cream of the Crop Top 30 standouts for the Black club included 6-foot-3 2024 guard Jayden Gambrell of James Madison (Houston) with seven points and 6-foot-2 2024 guard Malek Archie of McKinney (Texas) with five points. For the White club, 6-foot-5 2025 wing Jai’Chaunn Hayes of White Hall (Ark.) had a nice game, finishing with seven points, while 6-foot-5 2024 wing Jakeel Registe of Episcopal (Bellaire, Texas) had a strong start and finished with eight points.

Special recognition must be given to coach Kelan Jones of Hillcrest (Dallas). Jones was coaching the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game with passion and quality communication and helped raise the level of intensity ten-fold. There is little doubt his coaching approach to a sometimes laid-back affair helped the campers perform admirably to close the event.

Skill, Shooting, Defense Stand Out

Jefferson’s skill level is what separated him from a pack a quality big men with long term potential. From the wing forward position, the most skilled of the lot was 6-foot-5 2025 Hudson Greer of Lake Travis (Austin, Texas). He can score it in a variety of ways and is a quality shooter with lively legs who covers ample ground when he puts it on the deck. Greer didn’t particularly stand out in the top all-star game (six points), but over the course of the camp’s three games for each player he displayed terrific scoring instincts and a high offensive skill level. His father Josh Greer played at St Mary’s (Calif.) after a standout career at Esperanza (Anaheim, Calif.) and son is easily tracking to play on the WCC level and beyond.

From the wing guard position, Hayes was locked in throughout camp and had high-scoring outputs in each game. Hayes can stroke it, has good passing ability and a nice combination of skill and instinct for the game. He was just one of the many 2025 (freshmen) standouts at this camp with mid to high major potential. In fact, one third (10 of 30) of the players selected for the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game were freshmen.

Among the sophomore (2024) lot, there was plenty to like about from 6-foot-5 wing guard Tre Johnson of Lake Highlands (Dallas). He was named camp co-MOP and it’s easy to see why some evaluators are so giddy about his long-term potential. Johnson’s size-ball skill ratio stands out and he was one of the most explosive campers in attendance with an ability to finish in and above traffic or make a spectacular play on the defensive end. Johnson has a knack for being around the ball at opportune times and just needs to continue to polish up his shot and tighten his handle to become a bonafide high school All-American candidate.

Some of the perimeter shooters who stood out included 6-foot-4 2025 Adlan Elamin of Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.), 6-foot-5 2024 S. Trap Johnson of Belton (Texas), 6-foot 2024 Drew Ward of Longview (Texas), and 6-foot-3 2025 Jaden Nickens of Milwood (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Nickens had it going during the Cream of the Crop Top 60 game, leading his team to an easy 79-34 victory by nailing two 3-pointers and finishing with a game-high 18 points.

Nickens was the one player we felt whose evaluation was deserving of a spot in the top all-star game. We also would have reserved a spot for 6-foot-3 2024 Anthony Bates Jr. of Seven Lakes (Katy, Texas).

Our cinch choice for player most deserving of a Top 60 selection was 6-foot-1 2024 Cornelius Brown of The Walker School (Marietta, Ga.). Brown was one of the most explosive players off the bounce in attendance.

Defense was the name of the game at this camp, and the one player who earned a Creme of the Crop Top 60 berth mostly because of his defensive performances was 5-foot-10 2024 Rondae Hill of Calvary Baptist Academy (Shreveport, La.)

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at ronnie@ballislife.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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