Sophomores guards Jules Bernard of Windward (Los Angeles) and David Singleton of Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) were named co-Most Outstanding Players of the 2015 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp. Sophomore Riley Battin of Oak Park, Calif. and Harrison Butler of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) were co-MVPs of the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game put on for the camp’s top standouts.
Norwalk, Calif. — The depth of the 2015 Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp reflected the vast amount of quality players in the West’s 2018 and 2019 classes. There were approximately 15 players in attendance who are a notch above the rest in terms of long-term college potential, but that group dominated camp games to varying degrees. No one player put his stamp on the camp as the undisputed top performer.
There were a vast amount of standouts in the second tier and a number of players had legitimate cases to be selected to the camp’s Cream of the Crop Top 60 game, which is for the best performers not selected to the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game, which is designed for the camp’s top performers as selected by camp directors and media in attendance.
There was plenty of discussion about the merits of some of the campers who weren’t selected for the camp’s showcase games or the ones who perhaps should have been in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game instead of the Top 60, but when the dust settled two shooting guards emerged as the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp MOPs. David Singleton, a 6-foot-4 sophomore combo guard from Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), and Jules Bernard, a 6-foot-5 left-handed wing guard from Windward (Los Angeles), were as close to the ideal combination of high major prospects who consistently dominated camp games as there were at the two-day event.
Singleton had multiple 20-point games to follow up on the excellent performances he stringed together at the recent Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic for Bishop Montgomery. Singleton is also a throwback in terms of competitiveness regardless of camp atmosphere and because of his will to win in every situation. The sophomore wasn’t too pleased his team lost in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game despite his 15-point, 6-rebound, 2-steal performance.
With his advanced triple threat game and ability to cover ground while driving, in addition to keeping the defense honest with a dependable jumper, Bernard was arguably the toughest perimeter check at camp. He came as close as any player to dominating camp from start to finish, but a sprained ankle suffered in a Sunday game kept him from producing at his normal level over the second half of the event on Sunday. Bernard finished the Top 30 game with seven points and one rebound.
Two players who might have made their case as camp MOP has they participated in the Top 30 game were 6-foot-5 freshman wing Cassius Stanley (Harvard-Westlake/North Hollywood, Calif.) and 6-foot sophomore point guard Spencer Freedman (Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif.).
Stanley wasn’t available on Sunday because his high school team was competing in a fall league game (in which he went for 41 points). Freedman didn’t play in the Top 30 game because of an academic priority. Stanley is favorably compared to former Compton (Calif.) High School and NBA All-Star Demar DeRozan because of his athleticism and world-class leaping ability. As far as Freedman, it would have proven difficult to find a better perimeter shooter at the event.
The Top 30 game was a close affair until 6-foot-5 sophomore wing Harrison Butler (Mater Dei/Santa Ana, Calif.) of the White club made some big plays down the stretch to help his team pull out a 96-87 win over the Black club. Butler knocked down a clutch 3-pointer, made three of four free throws, and came up with five rebounds in the final three minutes of the contest. Butler finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Leading the way in the first half for the White club was 6-foot-8 sophomore power forward Riley Battin (Oak Park, Calif.). Battin used his wide variety of slick post moves and good positioning to score on the inside and clean up on the glass. Battin is coming off knee surgery and wasn’t moving as well as his normally does, but his fundamental play made up for the lack of mobility. Last year’s freshman All-American (as named by GrassrootsHoops.net) finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Payton Moore’s Coming Out Party
Six-foot-4 Payton Moore, a power combo guard from Windward (Los Angeles), didn’t come into the camp with the national reputation of some of the West’s top sophomore prospects, but he upped his national profile because of his standout play. There were probably a dozen or so prospects with more projected “upside” than Moore in attendance, but no player from start to finish played consistently harder on both ends of the floor. Inch-for-inch, pound-for-pound, Moore was the camp’s best rebounder and he displayed tremendous finishing ability around the basket.
“Honestly, when I’m out on the court, I think I’m the best player on the floor,” Moore said about his mindset coming into the camp. “I pride myself on being a high motor player and doing the right thing. I had a lot of confidence coming in, because I knew with my rebounding I would touch the basketball.”
Moore, who has been offered by USC and Boise State, is excited about Windward’s upcoming season. The Wildcats have Moore (who came off the bench last season), Bernard and 6-foot-8 Shareef O’Neal (the son of former NBA standout Shaquille O’Neal who wasn’t in attendance) for three more seasons. They also have junior point guard Jaylen Harris returning and could be FAB-50 ranked in 2016-17 — and perhaps this upcoming season with continued development.
Long Trip Pays Off For Trey Johnson
While Kamaka Hepa flew from the Northernmost part of Alaska to attend the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, the amount of traveling 6-foot-5 Trey Johnson did to get to the camp is commendable.
The sophomore from Hillcrest (Idaho Falls, Idaho) came with his father via a 16-hour automobile ride and the road trip back home likely felt shorter than the ride in to Southern California after his 15-point performance in the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game. Johnson is a solid athlete with a good inside-outside offensive game. He has the ability to hit the deep-range shot or take defenders off the dribble and is an active rebounder.
There wasn’t an official Top 60 game MVP named, but Johnson and 5-foot-10 point guard Ethan Anderson (Fairfax/Los Angeles) would have been the prime candidates. Anderson is explosive with the ball in his hands and is nicely developing his lead guard skills. Anderson was one of three talented 2019 prospects from Fairfax — the other two being 6-foot-4 Robert McCrae and 6-foot Dijuan Chumack.
The Lions’ best player, however, in attendance was 5-foot-10 sophomore point guard Jamal Hartwell. A camp veteran, Hartwell has cut down on his turnovers in this type of setting over the last year and is making sound decisions once he gets in the key or past first level defenders. This is significant because he gets the nod as the guard with the best first-step explosiveness in the camp. He finished with five points and six assists in the Top 30 game.
Some of the names prominently mentioned that would have been suitable for the Top 30 game who participated in the Top 60 were Anderson, 6-foot-2 sophomore Jalen Flanagan of El Camino (Oceanside, Calif.), 6-foot-6 sophomore Kaveon Batiste of Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) and 5-foot-11 sophomore Taurus Samuels of Vista (Calif.).