Charles Bassey, a 6-foot-10 freshman at St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas) via Nigeria, showed why he's getting the early nod as the nation's best prospect in the 2019 class by demonstrating eye-popping skills at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp at the Mac Sports Center in Dallas. Other first day standouts include Texan Chris Smith and Louisianan LaDarius Marshall.
Lewisville, Texas -- Usually at a camp featuring up-and-coming young talent such as the Pangos Frosh/Soph series, there is a feeling out process and it takes a while to establish a pecking order to determine the event's top prospects.
That certainly wasn't the case on the first day at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp in Dallas.
Charles Bassey, a thin and ultra-talented 6-foot-10 14-year old freshman (2019) from St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas), wasted no time establishing himself as the top prospect at Dinos Trigonis' two-day event reserved for some of the best sophomores (Class of 2018) and freshmen from Texas and other Southern states. With his smooth gait, patient offensive approach to go along with his combination of size, skill, jumping ability and athleticism, it's going to be hard to find a better prospect in the freshman national class than Bassey.
We first started hearing about Bassey's immense potential from Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop after his performance at the John Lucas Enterprises 40/40 Combine in The Woodlands, Texas a month ago. According to Francis, Bassey was even better at the John Lucas Enterprises Midwest Invitational in Louisville, Kentucky last weekend.
Bassey can finish above the rim two notches higher than nearly everyone at the Pangos Camp and his springs are also quick and quite coordinated for a kid who began taking the game seriously at the age of 12. Bassey also has a great feel for moving to the correct openings on the court, whether it's throwing a pass and sliding into the paint or cutting in from the wing.
We'll see if Bassey concludes the camp strong on Sunday and if he can dominate the competition as he did on Saturday in the Crème of the Crop Top 25 game. Either way, he made quite the lasting impression on the first day.
Ordinary Names Among Pangos Standouts
Chris Smith and Charles Smith are common American names. In the basketball realm, there was a Charles Smith who played forward for the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks around the same time in the late 1980s Georgetown University had a slick guard with the same name. In the same era, UConn had a guard by the name of Chris Smith who played at the same high level as Georgetown's Smith.
At the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp, 6-foot-4 2019 prospect Charles Smith IV from Westbury Christian (Houston) and Chris Smith, a 6-foot-8 2018 prospect from Country Day (Ft. Worth, Texas), made a name for themselves with their play on the first day.
Charles Smith finished well and displayed quality scoring moves around the basket, while Chris Smith impressed scouts with his highly-coveted skill package.
Chris Smith along with Bassey, was one of the half dozen or so big men (6-foot-8 or taller) who got the most attention from scouts and the media contingent on hand -- and rightfully so.
"Really I came here to see my weaknesses against better competition and know what I have to work on to get better," Chris Smith said. "I need to get in better shape and get better dribbling the basketball. My strength is being a facilitator and leader and putting teammates in the right position."
Chris Smith definitely has an unselfish approach to the game and is capable of facing up and knocking down the perimeter shot. Combine that with his long limbs and explosive first step and you have a high-riser in the national 2018 class.
Some of the other big men who turned heads on the first day of camp included 6-foot-5 2018 prospect Jordan Phillips of Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas), 6-foot-6 2018 prospect LaDarius Marshall of Forest Hill (Jackson, Miss.), 6-foot-8 2019 prospect Tyreek Smith of Advanced Preparatory International (Dallas), 6-foot-6 2018 prospect Joshua LeBlanc of Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.), 6-foot-9 Franklin Aguananne of Denton (Denton, Texas) and 7-foot Ousmane Ndim of St. Louis Academy (St. Louis, Mo.).
Marshall is one of the most explosive finishers in the national 2018 class and while they are not quite the prospects or as far along in their development as Bassey, Aguananne and Ndim are intriguing in their won right. That duo went toe-to-toe in an opening camp game with Aguananne coming up with the big plays to help his team win. It was a physical battle inside that Aguananne ended by converting a contested lay-up in sudden-death overtime.