NORWALK, Calif. — With so much talent of equal proportion on display at the Pangos All West Frosh/Soph Camp this past weekend at Cerritos College, identifying the single best player in those respective classes at this respective event proved to be an agonizing process.
For the freshmen, the performances of 6-6 guard Johnny Juzang (Studio City Harvard-Westlake), 6-4 wing Jaylen Clark (Corona Centennial) and 6-1 guard Keith Dinwiddie (Verbum Dei) all did their part in making the choice of 6-4 guard Jalen Green as the top 2020 player of the weekend all the more difficult.
Green, who attends San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno, displayed effortless combination of smoothness, explosion and the ability to score in a variety of ways.
Before beginning his first season as a high school hooper, Green will make a pitstop at USA Basketball in early October, and sure looks to be well-deserving of that invitation.
Juzang nipped the heels of Green all weekend long, capped by an impressive 43-point performance in his last “camp” game Sunday morning. The rangy combo guard is as versatile as they come and can score in a multitude of ways.
Juzang was knocking down spot-up and pull-up 3-pointers, finding his spots for mid-range pull-up’s and attacking the basket with purpose.
Dinwiddie is a tough, strong and heady point guard prospect who showed the ability to control the pace of a game, even though the camp setting doesn’t necessarily lend to that sort of atmosphere.
The 6-1 freshman looks to be wise beyond his years with the ball in his hands, doesn’t get sped up and plays to his strengths on the offensive end - bullying smaller guards while “out-quicking” bigger defenders.
Moving to the sophomores, 6-6 forward Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo), 6-foot point guard Ethan Anderson (Los Angeles Fairfax), 6-6 forward Kirk Smith (Los Angeles Fairfax), 6-3 shooting guard Jarod Lucas (Hacienda Heights Los Altos) and 6-1 point guard Gianni Hunt all turned in efforts worthy of top 2019 camper, but 6-8 forward Darren Jones (San Bernardino Cajon) out-shined the rest over the course of the weekend.
Jones is one of those guys with an endless motor, but he was also able to harness that energy and utilize it to his (and his team’s) benefit without venturing too far outside of his comfort zone.
The 6-foot-8, (probably) 210-pounder sprints the floor in transition, dunks everything around the rim and can hit the face-up 15-footer and 3-pointer with ease. Jones is one of the better purely gifted athletes you’ll find just about anywhere you look.
2019 forward Kirk Smith.
Another 2019 guy who was (kind of) under-the-radar prior to the weekend was Kirk Smith of Fairfax. Smith played his freshman campaign at Executive Prep in the Los Angeles-area and then for a non-shoe company affiliated club program, Los Angeles Elite, in the spring and summer.
For those who didn’t know his name prior to the event, they do now. Smith, like the above-mentioned Jones, never takes a play off. He defends, rebounds, outlets, sprints the floor and finishes strong around the basket and can hit a face-up jump shot.
Hunt was looking to score more than normal and was able to string together some buckets, but really got back to his strength as a distributor in the Top 30 “Cream of the Crop” game - the aspect of his repertoire that makes him such an intriguing prospect.
2019 point guard Gianni Hunt.
I touched on Jaquez, Lucas and Anderson in my Saturday report from the camp, and all three of those talented prospects carried over their strong performances to Sunday.
Six Breakout Performers:
2019 Joseph Octave (6-3, G, San Pedro, CA, Mary Star of the Sea) - Octave is pure scorer, plain and simple. He has a pretty jumper, and, while not overly quick or athletic, uses sound footwork and creativity to get good looks in the paint.
2019 Finnley O’Rourke (6-6, F, Los Angeles Brentwood) - O’Rourke has a nice mix of size, strength and athleticism while also being skilled for his size. He can beat you with a face-up jumper, or put it on the deck for a blow-by dunk.
2019 Justin Rene (6-1, G, Long Beach Poly) - Rene played in the lower levels of the Poly program last year, but his evolving ball skills and ability to spread the floor with perimeter shooting might earn him some time on Shelton Diggs’ varsity squad this season. What will truly earn him minutes will be how he defends and he did a lot of that over the weekend.
2019 Dylan Aiono (6-5, Wing, Eastvale, CA, Roosevelt) - Aiono had a very productive Sunday which earned him a spot in the “Cream of the Crop” Top 60 game. The Inland Empire product has a solid two-guard/small forward skill set with a nice feel for the game.
2019 Jace Roquemore (6-4, G, Henderson, NV, Foothill) - Roquemore has good basketball genes (his brother Evan played at Santa Clara) and those showed on multiple instances with his sweet 3-point shooting stroke and high basketball IQ.
2019 guard Jace Roquemore.
2019 Max Cheylov (6-2, G, Canoga Park, CA, Faith Baptist) - Cheylov had one of the sweeter shooting strokes in the building and put it to use all weekend. His stock should rise as he continues to tighten his handle.
Top 20 Sophomores (alphabetical order)
Max Agbonkpolo, F, 6-6, Rancho Santa Margarita (CA)
Ethan Anderson, G, 6-0, Los Angeles Fairfax
Graham Cook, G, 6-3, Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon
Julien Franklin, SG, 6-4, Villa Park (CA)
Sedrick Hammonds, G, 6-2, Las Vegas Clark
Gianni Hunt, PG, 6-0, Torrance (CA) Bishop Montgomery
Jaime Jaquez, F, 6-6, Camarillo (CA)
Darren Jones, F, 6-8, San Bernardino (CA) Cajon
Jamon Kemp, G, 6-5, Seattle Garfield
Jake Kyman, F, 6-7, Rancho Santa Margarita (CA)
Samba Kane, F/C, 6-9, Aurora (CO) Regis
Jarod Lucas, 6-3, SG, Hacienda Heights Los Altos
Robert McRae, G, 6-4, Los Angeles Fairfax
Isaiah Mobley, F, 6-8, Temecula (CA) Rancho Christian
Abdul Mohamed, F, 6-7, Seattle West
Finnley O’Rourke, F, 6-6, Los Angeles Brentwood
Jace Roquemore, 6-4, G, Henderson (NV) Foothill
Kirkland Smith, F, 6-6, Los Angeles Fairfax
Marcus Tsohonis, G, 6-4, Portland Jefferson
Jaxen Turner, G, 6-2, Moreno Valley (CA) Rancho Verde
Top 15 Freshmen (alphabetical order)
Devin Askew, G, 6-0, Sacramento (CA) Country Day
Josh Christopher, G, 6-3, Lakewood (CA) Mayfair
Jaylen Clark, G/F, 6-4, Corona (CA) Centennial
Isaiah Cottrell, F, 6-7, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman
Keith Dinwiddie, G, 6-1, Los Angeles Verbum Dei
Peter Erickson, G, 6-4, Enumclaw (WA)
Ryan Evans, G, 6-2, Rancho Santa Margarita (CA)
Jalen Green, G, 6-4, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial
De’Shawn Johnson, F, 6-5, Los Angeles View Park
Johnny Juzang, G, 6-6, Studio City Harvard-Westlake
Philix Kilbourne, G, 6-0, San Ysidro (CA)
Evan Mobley, F, 6-7, Temecula (CA) Rancho Christian
Aidan Prukop, G, 6-3, Santa Ana Mater Dei
Jordan Shelley, G, 6-2, Woodland Hills (CA) Taft
Noah Taitz, G, 6-1 Las Vegas Bishop Gorman