Fantasy GM: Pangos All-American Starting 5s
LAS VEGAS — The 2023 Pangos All-American Camp brought together a collection of more than 100 of the best high school basketball prospects from across the country. The three day event at Bishop Gorman high school provided the prospects the opportunity to play in front of grassroots scouts, media and, most importantly, scouts from 28 NBA teams who were in attendance.
After watching each team at least once and the top 60 and 30 Cream of the Crop games I decided to play some fantasy basketball and draft my top three starting lineups. These teams aren’t in a rank order but rather are personnel I believe would fit well together based on skill-sets.
G Rob Wright III, Montverde Academy (FL)
In my estimation, Wright was the best pure point guard in the camp which is why I picked him to run my first team. The 6-footer played with elite pace, vision and basketball IQ. His willingness to be a set-up guy for teammates and create in transition and half-court settings makes him the perfect guy to run your offense and connect pieces that might not be familiar with one another. Wright is also a very good positional defender who can speed up opposing guards and create turnovers playing in passing lanes.
Rob Wright III of Montverde Academy
G Cam Scott, Lexington (SC)
Scott was one of the best all-around scorers of the event and definitely one of the top shooters in the gym, which is what earned him a nod as a Co-MVP of the camp. What I liked most about Scott was his ability to stretch the floor off the catch and impact the game with limited dribbles. He possesses great positional size at 6-feet-6 and is an effortless athlete who gets out, runs the floor and finishes above the rim in transition. Defensively, Scott has the length and lateral speed to guard 1 through 3.
Cam Scott of Lexington (SC)
G Vyctorius Miller, AZ Compass Prep
Miller was another premier perimeter scorer in this event and very few prospects across the country can match his creativity and shot-making off the dribble. The 6-foot-5 combo guard embodies the “three level scorer” term and sets up his drives with an elite pull-up jumper off the bounce that he can hit from mid-range and three-point range. Miller flashed his ability to get by defenders in isolation with his change of speeds and direction.
Vyctorius Miller of AZ Compass Prep
G/F Derrion Reid, Grovetown (GA)
Reid didn’t have the flashiest of offensive numbers at this event but his versatility at both ends of the floor are what made me put him on my first team. The 6-foot-7 wing has the size, length, athleticism and defensive IQ to guard multiple positions on the floor. That switch-ability is a crucial piece to building a team with the current way the game is played. Reid is a high-rate defensive rebounder both in and out of his area and has the ball skills to push the break and the vision and passing IQ to make good decisions. What I like most about Reid is his downhill driving and finishing along with his playmaking out of the mid-post.
Derrion Reid of Grovetown (GA)
F/C Flory Bidunga
Bidunga was named a Co-MVP of the event and that was due in large-part to his dominance inside on both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-9 lefty has two elite transferrable skills which are his defensive prowess and the motor he plays with. Bidunga is a freakish vertical athlete with length which lends to him being one of the best rim protectors in the country. Bidunga blocks and changes countless shots around the basket and had a number of contests on three-point shots that resulted in tipped or blocked shots. Offensively, the senior-to-be is a power finisher at the rim who is a lob threat in ball-screen action and a guy who rim-runs in transition.
Flory Bidunga of Kokomo (IN)
G Ahmad Nowell, Imhotep Charter (PA)
Nowell was my second-best point guard in the event by a very small margin to Wright which is why have him leading my second team. The 6-footer out of Philadelphia has elite command for the position, is an automatic paint touch in transition and half-court settings and can knock down open catch and shoot threes. The most important attribute Nowell brings to the floor is the toughness factor on both ends - both physically and mentally.
G Mercy Miller, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame
The Miller family handed out plenty of baskets as teammates during the camp games and the difference between cousins Victorious (first team) and Mercy (second team) was microscopic. Mercy Miller showed one of the smoothest three-point and mid-range jumpers in the event and his ability to fill up the scoring column in a hurry - and without breaking a sweat - is what landed him on my second team. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is an effortless space creator off the dribble who doesn’t seem to notice when a defender is draped all over him as he knocks down tightly-contested jumpers like layups.
G Larry Johnson, Southern California Academy
Johnson was one of many versatile wings in this camp but what set him apart from some of the other 6-foot-5-plus perimeter guys was his combination of strength and explosive athleticism. Johnson had a number of poster-like dunks in transition and attacked the basket with a fearlessness and confidence that you want in your athletic slasher. Johnson has a respectable three-point and mid-range jump shot which opens up the driving lanes for him to use his dynamic athleticism.
W/F: Ryan Jones, The Rock School (FL)
I like Jones on this team as a stretch four. The 6-foot-8 wing/forward was one of the better spot shooters in the camp and would fit alongside this guard trio like a glove because he doesn’t need to dominate the ball to be effective. I can envision Jones being effective in pick-and-pop action with Nowell and Miller while being a floor spacer for Johnson on drives. Jones averaged more than six rebounds per game in the event and his size and strength made him an impactful guy on the defensive boards.
F/C: Aiden Sherrell, Prolific Prep (CA)
This group has a chance to play fast, spread the floor, and attack offensively in many different ways which makes Sherrell the perfect fit at the five spot. The 6-foot-11 prospect in the class of 2024 has the ideal combination of mobility, athleticism, agility and coordination to be a rim-runner and finisher in transition and ball screener and vertical spacer in half-court or trial offensive situations. While not his biggest strengths just yet, Sherrell showed that he has some perimeter touch and the ability to take slower defenders off the bounce and get to the rim. The biggest impact Sherrell will bring to this team would be his rim protection, offensive and defensive rebounding, and defensive versatility in ball-screens.
G Tahaad Pettiford, Hudson Catholic (NJ)
When you’re talking dynamic scorers, Pettiford’s name has to be among the top five names discussed from this event. The 6-foot-1 lefty has microwave-like ability when heating up behind the arc and can pour in 20-plus points in the blink of an eye. Pettiford is a quick and shifty ball-handler who can create space for deep step-back jumpers or blow-by defenders and get to the rim. He’s also a guy who can really push the pace in transition and put pressure on the rim.
G Jasper Johnson, Link Academy (MO)
I like the pairing of Johnson alongside Pettiford because the 6-foot-5 combo guard has playmaking abilities for himself and teammates but really leans toward passing and brings an unselfish mindset to the floor. The class of 2025 lefty is a long, wiry and smooth off the dribble who also has a shiftiness to his off-the-bounce game that helps him get by defenders and into the lane for drive and kick or drive and score opportunities.
G LaBaron Philon, Baker (AL)
Philon is another big time scorer who showed he can impact the game across the board. The 6-foot-4 scoring guard combines the best attributes of Johnson (playmaking) and Pettiford (perimeter shooting) into a player who balances scoring and distributing well. There were games where Philon caught fire from deep and scored 25-plus points but his four assists per game average showed worked in plenty of high IQ passes.
W/F Naas Cunningham, Overtime Elite (GA)
Cunningham’s ability to stretch the floor off the catch would be an important piece to add to this team. Pettiford, Johnson and Philon can all create off the bounce for themselves and draw a ton of extra attention from help defenders which would leave Cunningham open for threes or on cuts to the rim for slash and finish buckets. With so many offensive weapons on the floor at one time, the 6-foot-7 wing would have plenty of chances to use his ball skills and athleticism to attack gaps and get to the rim.
F/C Jayden Williams, Overtime Elite (GA)
Williams would be a crucial component to this team because of his mobility, length and athleticism defensively. The 6-foot-9 Overtime Elite center is a hard-hat type of player who is willing to do the dirty work on both ends of the floor. With the amount of playmakers off the dribble, Williams’ athleticism out of the dunker spot would be perfect for lobs over the top while his relentless pursuit of offensive boards would allow him to track down long offensive rebounds. I’d put Williams in a lot of ball screen and dribble hand-off actions in a five-out scheme with the talented perimeter players on this team.