NORWALK, Calif — There are few better places to watch the future of west coast basketball than the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp which began Saturday at Cerritos College.
Many of the top players in the classes of 2019 and 2020 - from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado - convened in Southern California to showcase their skill sets in two-day event.
There were plenty of standouts on the day/night and we’ll get into those after discussing the best (in my opinion) prospect of day one: 6-foot-6 sophomore small forward Jaime Jaquez of Camarillo high school.
2019 wing Jaime Jaquez.
Jaquez is of the “no nonsense” variety and is a high-level leaper and finisher both in transition and in the half-court. The 2019 prospect is beginning to round-out his perimeter package as noted by a nasty right-to-left cross from the 3-point line into the paint and finished with a cocked-back one-handed dunk.
While Jaquez rose to the top, literally and figuratively, he wasn’t the only Southern California prospect who played well.
Corona Centennial has “got one” in freshman Jaylen Clark. Clark is a burly and strong 6-foot-4 wing who can get a bucket just about every time he touches it. Clark is near impossible to stop in transition as his combination of strength, speed, agility and touch around the basket proves overwhelming for most defenders. He finished a couple highlight reel dunks on Saturday.
2020 wing Jaylen Clark.
Another local guard with a pretty jump shot continued to show why he’s considered one of the best shooters around and that was 2019 Jarod Lucas. The 6-foot-3 Los Altos product has tight and repetitive shooting mechanics; it seems like every time the basketball leaves his fingertips, it’s going in.
One of the most improved 2019 prospects in Southern California is 6-foot-5 Villa Park guard Julien Franklin.
Franklin has always had a pretty looking jump shot, but needed to add the ball skills of his older brother Myles - and he’s starting to do that. Franklin has great size for the two guard position and made it a point to put the ball on the deck and attack the basket. His dribble-drives resulted in a number of pull-up jumpers and finishes at the basket.
2019 guard Julien Franklin.
Class of 2019 Fairfax High teammates (and Pangos Frosh/Soph Camp teammates) Ethan Anderson and Robert McRae each had strong performances Saturday. Anderson is relentless in transition and his jumper is starting to be more consistent, while McRae is honing is throwback style with his craftiness around the bucket and mid-range scoring package.
Of the “out-of-towners” who made the trip to Norwalk, 2019 wing Marcus Tsohonis was among the lot who turned heads. The 6-foot-4 Portland Jefferson prospect is supremely talented on the perimeter. He’s equally smooth and awkward which works to his advantage when blowing by defenders and making an acrobatic finish in the lane.
One of the best 2020’s in Northern California, Jalen Green of Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, showed that his athleticism is catching up with his frame and skill set. Green’s combination of silky-smooth with a hint of explosion is reminiscent of Oregon State-bound Ethan Thompson, though Green might be a bit more “bouncy” based on a couple of his dunks and “meet me at the square” rebounds.
Two Seattle guys to make their presence felt were 2019’s Abdul Mohamed (West Seattle) and Jamon Kemp (Garfield).
Standing at 6-feet-7, Mohamed is a long, fluid and active four-man who has a good set of hands and great timing on his shot blocking. Mohamed sports a thin frame, but is a strong when finishing looks in the painted area.
Kemp, son of NBA great Shawn Kemp, is such a stellar athlete it looks as if he’s running on air. He gets great lift on his jump shot, has a nice size a 6-5+ and his ability to slash to the rim and finish over the defense worked to his advantage on many occasions.
Jace Roquemore, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Foothill High in Henderson, Nevada, was one of the more impressive prospects of the “Sin City” contingent. Roquemore, a sophomore, is smooth on the perimeter and has picturesque set and pull-up 3-point shots.
Class of 2019 Las Vegas Knicks teammates Sedrick Hammonds (Clark) and Nick Blake (Durango) represented Vegas very well. Hammonds is an impressive athlete with who plays with a ton of energy. He made his living on the defensive end Saturday, locking up on the perimeter with steals that led to easy buckets, while Blake, also an impressive athlete, is the more polished offensive player of the two, knocking down multiple 3-pointers and carving his way to the rack for numerous dunks.
Bishop Gorman has a couple of promising guard prospects in 2020 Noah Taitz and 2019 Chance Michels. Both Taitz and Michaels are approaching 6-foot-3 and have great feel as combo guards with the ability to knock down perimeter jumpers and make sound decisions in screen-roll situations.
One of the biggest bigs at the camp, Samba Kane, has a ton of potential at 6-feet-10. The 2019 prospect is a mobile and high-energy guy who snatches rebounds at the peak and can finish with touch at the basket.
More standouts: 2019 Aidan Prukop (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2019 Chris Cameron (Sheldon); 2020 Philix Kilbourne; 2020 Keith Dinwiddie (Verbum Dei); 2019 Malik Muhammad (Verbum Dei); 2019 Max Cheylov (Canoga Park Faith Baptist).