The Pangos Frosh/Soph Camps have been around since 2001 and the All-Midwest Cream of the Crop Top 30 game may have been the best all-star competition and closing of the last 15 years! Like any other showcase camp, the play was up and down at times, but the camp's best players closed it out in spectacular fashion, as Brandon Weston hit a 35-foot, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift his team to a come-from-behind victory. Watch the raw footage of the final minutes!
Midwest players are known for their toughness and grit, so it should come as no surprise the best players at the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp took the challenge from camp director Dinos Trigonis to close out the camp with a competitive Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game. That game is designed for the camp's best players and it certainly did not disappoint.
Trigonis and the media on hand were a bit disappointed to the ending of the talent-laden Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp last weekend in Dallas in terms of intensity with regards to the all-star games and he didn't want that repeated. It wasn't unexpected the players at the Chicago edition took the challenge, but the ending was definitely a pleasant surprise.
The Black team was trailing the White team 94-86 and it appeared they would waltz away with the victory. Then a "battle" broke out in the final minutes between the Black's Joel Watts of St. Rita (Chicago) and the White's Treye Tucker of Christian Life (Rockford, Ill.). Watts, a 5-foot-9 freshman (2020) who was quiet offensively for a majority of the game, caught fire and Tucker, a 5-foot-8 sophomore (2019) whose flashy moves and handle gave him the nickname "White Chocolate", attempted to match him.
Watts only had one field goal (a 3-pointer) through the first 48 minutes of the game (two 25-minute running halves). Then in approximately two minutes, he scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers to help his team erase its eight-point deficit while at the same time thoroughly entertaining the crowd with showmanship and a game within a game of "top this". The Black team finally took the lead, 109-108, after trailing a vast majority of the game on Watts' 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining. The White team quickly took the lead back on a steal and "and1" layup with approximately 27 seconds remaining by 6-foot-2 2019 Kejuan Clements of Simeon (Chicago). After a mad scramble by the Black team to potentially tie the game, Clements came up with the ball. It looked like he was intentionally fouled to stop the clock after dribbling into the corner in his frontcourt, but the referee's whistle was to signal out of bounds Black ball with 2.2 second remaining.
That set up the dramatic ending, as 6-foot-3 2020 Brandon Weston of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy (Delafield, Wis.) via Brooklyn, N.Y., took a pass on the left side of the the Black's frontcourt and nailed a 35-foot 3-pointer falling to his left at the buzzer to give his team a 112-111 victory. It was Weston's only 3-pointer of the Cream of the Crop contest.
"The player taking the ball out of bounds said 'I'm going to give it to you' so I shot it," said Weston, who finished with nine points. "I noticed nobody was open and I knew I was going to shoot it when I took a dribble. I knew it was going in and that's why I ran into the bleachers."
It was an exciting finish to a camp with quality players all over the Midwest. Clements led all scorers with 21 points. Watts finished with 16 points and has to be given plenty of credit for hitting some clutch baskets to get his Black team back in the game. Kansas commit Markese Jacobs, a 5-foot-11 power guard from Uplift Community (Chicago), added 14 points for the Black team. Jalen Windham, a 6-foot-4 2019 strong scoring wing from Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.), had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Black team.
For the White team, 5-foot-8 2019 point guard Justin Warren of Whitney Young (Chicago) had some nifty moves and finished with eight points, three steals and four assists. Scoring point guard Marquise Walker (6-foot, 2019) of St. Joseph (Westchester, Ill.) had 11 points, while 6-foot-2 2020 Nimari Burnett of Morgan Park (Chicago) added 13 points.
Patrick McCaffery played for the Black team, but though he wasn't too involved offensively and didn't have a big scoring Cream of the Crop Top 30 Game (2 points), it didn't take away from his stellar all-around performance at the event. The 6-foot-9 2019 forward was named the camp's Most Outstanding Player.
As far as the Cream of the Crop Game goes, nobody helped their overall evaluation at the camp based on that game more than Warren and 6-foot-8 2019 power forward Trayce Jackson-Davis of Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.). Jackson-Davis was active in transition, displayed some crafty moves around the basket and good timing on defense and agility on defense. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots while impressing the scouts and media in attendance.