Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei is Most Outstanding Player at 2013 Pangos All-American Camp. Others such as Deonte North of Corona Centennial and Marquese Chriss of Elk Grove Pleasant Grove use platform to make a splash among national scouts.
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Long Beach, Calif. — The Pangos All-American Camp traditionally brings some of the nation’s best high school basketball talent to Southern California to kick off the summer recruiting season.
The camp has solidified the national reputation of some of the nation’s top prospects in recent years such as Mr. Basketball USA picks Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors, John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Shabazz Muhammad, a likely first round pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The three-day camp has also served as a platform for lesser-known talents to make a name for themselves and expand their recruiting reach.
Two players who definitely served notice for the upcoming summer evaluation period were 6-foot-4 senior-to-be Deonte North from Centennial of Corona and 6-foot-7 junior-to-be Marquese Chriss from defending CIF Division I state champ Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove.
For North, the camp was a great gauge of where his skills stood among many of California’s best perimeter players since last season he often played out-of-position for a perimeter-oriented, state-ranked Centennial club. Following his breakout spring, North continued to shine at the Pangos Camp by displaying solid fundamentals and good energy at the defensive end. North needs to continue to work on his deep perimeter shot, but it should come around as he gains more experience playing the two-guard position.
North was an honorable mention selection for the two Cream of the Crop All-Star games and stated he’s picked up interest from Pacific, UC-Riverside and Long Beach State.
For Chriss, the camp was a great experience going up against the abundance of talented 6-6 to 6-9 wing forwards, which were the strength of the camp. He is still slight of frame, but did have his moments scoring around the basket and making an impact in transition. It’s evident from Chriss’ performance this weekend that he has a bright future.
“Last year, the seniors on the team (at Pleasant Grove) took me under their wing,” Chriss said. “This upcoming season I have to be more of a leader.
“I wasn’t starting at the beginning of the season, but became an impact player.”
His impact should continue for the rest of the summer playing alongside talented young players such as Colin Slater (Clovis North) and Devin Young (Sacramento) for the NorCal Wildcats. Chriss also has lofty goals for the upcoming season, although Pleasant Grove loses a talented senior class.
“I think making all-state is a realistic goal,” Chriss said.
Local Talent Takes MOP Honors
In recent years, the performance of the camp’s top player has been a near coronation and it took away most of the suspense for the presentation of the Most Outstanding Player award. This year, however, there was a group of five players — forward Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana), guard Emmanuel Mudiay (Prime Prep Academy, Dallas), forward Chris McCullough (Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H.), guard Josh Perkins (Regis Jesuit, Aurora, Col.) and wing Rashad Vaughn (Robbinsdale Cooper, New Hope, Minn.) — that were all outstanding. Any one of them could have been chosen MOP without much dissention.
In the end, Johnson was chosen MOP. It wasn’t a slam dunk choice by any means, but the reigning Cal-Hi Sports State Junior of the Year displayed a rare combination of power and perimeter skills. The versatility in his game has some scouts comparing him to a combination of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Ron Artest and the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce.
At times during the camp, Johnson was over dribbling and penetrating, but was productive enough to become the first California native to earn Pangos Camp MOP honors since 2007. At that time, Brandon Jennings (who was in attendance on Sunday), was at Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. He began his high school career at Compton of Dominguez.
Johnson had an explanation for his increased ball-handling role and what some perceived as playing away from his strengths.
“Next season (at Mater Dei), I am going to be playing more point guard and will look to facilitate the offense,” said Johnson, whose college list includes Arizona, Kentucky and UCLA as the names most often mentioned. “I am not a selfish player, but I will take what the defense gives me and if they are not going to come out and guard me, I will take the opening.”
If Johnson continues to develop his perimeter skills and combine them with his improved outside shot, perhaps one day comparisons to Pierce won’t only be projections.
Cream of the Crop: Out-Of-Staters Shine
At the conclusion of the three-day camp on Sunday afternoon, scouts and media in attendance assisted camp director Dinos Trigonis in selecting the participants for the “Cream of the Crop” Top 60 and the “Cream of Crop” Top 30 All-Star Games.
While Vaughn didn’t earn camp MOP honors, his performance in the Top 30 game didn’t make the selection of Johnson any easier. He came into the camp with a reputation as one of the nation’s best outside shooters, but during the event displayed solid decision-making skills in the open court and better-than-advertised athleticism while attacking the basket.
Vaughn earned all-star game MVP honors for the victorious red team. He led six players in double figures for the winning team with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Not only did he make 3-of-6 3-pointers, but he came up with timely baskets when the blue team attempted to take control. With seven minutes remaining in the game, the blue team pulled within two points, but Vaughn answered with a 3-pointer as his team pulled away down the stretch to record a 123-113 victory.
“People know now I’m a scorer on three levels (outside, driving, inside) and I can pass and lock up on defense,” Vaughn said. “I think I played well this weekend, but you can always play better.”
Johnson also had a big game with 16 points while making all four of his 3-point field goal attempts. The other Californian to reach double figures for the winning team was junior-to-be guard Tyler Dorsey of St. John Bosco of Bellflower. He finished with 15 points and six assists.
Mudiay, the most physically dominant guard at the event, led the blue team with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting and had five rebounds and six assists. Wing Daniel Hamilton of St. John Bosco of Bellflower, who was matched up at the beginning of the game with Vaughn, had a solid outing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
In the top Top 50 game, three Californians went for double figure scoring for the blue team in its 117-110 victory over the read team.
Leading the way was guard Rex Pflueger, who will spend his junior season at Mater Dei of Santa Ana after playing at JSerra of San Juan Capistrano as a sophomore. He had 21 points, five assists and two steals. Guard Devin Watson of Army-Navy Academy of Carlsbad had a 13-point, five-assist, four-steal performance and wing Isaiah Bailey of Compton chipped in 13 points.
Scoring a game-high 17 points for the blue club was guard Terrence Phillips, the younger brother of Jennings, who now plays for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Like his older brother once did, Phillips attends Oak Hill Academy.
2013 Pangos All-American Camp Awards
(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)
Bill Russell award (best shot blocker): Carlton Bragg, Villa Angela St. Joseph (Cleveland, Ohio) 6-9 2015
Kevin Love award (best post interior passer): Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-11 2015
Scott Skiles award (best perimeter passer): Tra Holder, Brentwood (Los Angeles) 6-0 2014
Rafer Alston award (best ball-handler): Josh Perkins, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Col.) 6-2 2014
Ronnie Fields award (best dunker): Chris McCullough, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) 6-9 2014
Kurt Rambis award (hardest worker in paint): Andre Adams, Westview Prep (Avondale, Ariz.) 6-8 2014
Mario Elie award (pleasant surprise): Jaylen Johnson, Ypsilanti (Ypsilanti, Mich.) 6-9 2014
Lamar Odom award (not playing to potential): Chris Sandifer, Serra (Gardena) 6-4 2014
Ralph Sampson award (not using god given talents): Cameron Walker, Righetti (Santa Maria) 6-6 2015
Schea Cotton Award (looks good in camp environment): Elijah Thomas, Prime Prep Academy (Dallas) 6-8 2015
Phil Ford award (would shine in more structured setting): Trey Kell, St. Augustine (San Diego) 6-3 2014
Player who deserved to be in Top 60 game: Trey Kell
Best Top 60 player who deserved to be in Top 30 game: Michael Humphrey, Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-9 2014
Top 30 player better suited for the Top 60 game: Namon Wright (Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.) 6-4 2014
Biggest sleeper that emerged: Michael Humphrey
Best Overall Prospect: Thon Maker, Carlisle School (Martinsville, Va.) 7-0 2016
Camp MVP (highest consistent level of play in every game): Emmanuel Mudiay, Prime Prep Academy (Dallas) 6-4 2014
Pangos Camp All-Time MOPs
2013: Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 6-7 SF
2012: Cliff Alexander, Currie (Chicago) 6-9 PF
2011: Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-6 WF
2010: Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-2 PG
2009: Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) 6-7 WF
2008: John Wall, Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 6-3 PG
2007: Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-1 PG
2006: James Harden, Artesia (Lakewood) 6-5 SG
2005: Jerry-Davon Jefferson, Lynwood 6-8 WF
2004: C.J. Miles, Skyline (Dallas) 6-6 WF
2003: Robert Swift, Bakersfield 7-0 C