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Pangos A-A Camp: All-Time Dandy Dozen

Harrison Barnes celebrated his 17th birthday by going out and earning MOP honors at the 2009 Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach, Calif. Barnes now plays with the Golden State Warriors. Photo: Scott Kurtz

Harrison Barnes celebrated his 17th birthday by going out and earning MOP honors at the 2009 Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach, Calif. Barnes now plays with the Golden State Warriors. Photo: Scott Kurtz

With the Pangos All-American Camp entering its 12th year, we decided to take a look at the national camp’s top dozen performers over the years. Many are now household NBA names, while others never seem to shine brighter than they did during this annual three-day basketball showcase.  

The Pangos All-American Camp, now in its 12th year, has become a must-stop on the summer grassroots basketball circuit. Founded by fullctpress.net editor and publisher Dinos Trigonis, the camp will bring together 120 of the nation’s best high school players May 30-June 1 at Cabrillo (Long Beach, Calif.).

Trigonis founded the camp in June 2003 as a tool to help promote the Pangos brand nationally and expand on his Pangos All-West Camp, which was held for 16 years beginning in 1998. The Pangos All-American Camp has served as a national “coming out” party for many up-and-coming prospects such as 2010 Mr. Basketball USA Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors) and 2014 Mr. Basketball USA Cliff Alexander (Kansas).

“The camp has helped our brand development and it also is great for kids who might not have had a strong spring,” Trigonis said.

The camp has also showcased sleeper prospects who played on a national stage for the first time and later emerged as big-time players. Examples who fall into this category include Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), who was a virtual unknown when he attended the camp in 2005, and Derrick Williams, who was MVP of the event’s second level all-star game (Cream of the Crop Top 50) in 2008 and later was the No. 2 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.

With the 12th Pangos All-American Camps rapidly approaching, we decided to take a look back at the top dozen performers through the first eleven years of the event. The following list is based on how the selections performed at the event only. Special consideration was given to those who earned Cream of the Crop Top 25 All-Star Game MVP or Camp MOP.

1. Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-1 PG (2007)
The Compton, Calif. native gets the nod among the Dandy Dozen because of his combination of talent, living up to his tremendous reputation coming in and playing up to his ability the whole weekend. He capped off his MOP performance by scoring 12 points and dishing off 10 assists in the Top 20 Cream of the Crop All-Star Game. Jennings currently plays for the Detroit Pistons.

2. Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) 6-7 SF (2009)
Not every year does the camp’s top talent play hard every single game and make his teammates better, but that’s exactly what Barnes did. Like Jennings, he came in with a tremendous reputation and lived up to it. He capped off his weekend with 26 points, eight rebounds, 8-13 field goals, and 7-7 free throws in the Top 25 Cream of the Crop All-Star Game. Trigonis also helped Barnes celebrate his birthday by giving him a cake and throwing him an impromptu celebration.

3. Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-6 SF (2011)
In a top-heavy camp, Muhammad was the most consistently dominant and explosive athlete. It got to the point where the other elite players in this camp and the Class of 2012 stopped challenging him. The ultimate high school alpha male was the leading scorer in the five camp games in which he played. He closed out with 23 points, four rebounds, four assists, 8-12 field goals, 1-3 3-pointers, and 6-7 free throws in the Cream of the Crop Top 25 All-Star Game.

The Buzz 1504. Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana Calif.) 6-7 SF (2013)
He gets rewarded for being dominant in two camps and elevating his game the second time around. As a junior-to-be, Johnson had 18 points on 8-10 field goals and five rebounds, but he was even better last summer. He showed his versatility to play just about any position on the court and an improved outside shot. He edged point guard Emmanuel Mudiay of Prime Pep (Dallas) for MOP honors and finished off by hitting four 3-pointers in last year’s Cream of the Crop Top 30 All-Star Game before leading Mater Dei to a fourth consecutive California major division state title this winter.

5. John Wall, Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.) 6-3 PG (2008)
There was little doubt Wall was the top talent at this camp. In fact, if this list was compiled based on pure talent, Wall might be No. 1 or No. 2 as the most talented player to come through a Pangos All-American Camp. Wall was bored with the competition at times or just did enough to remind everyone he was the top guard prospect in the class. He had 13 and 15 points in his last two camp games and 14 in the Cream of the Crop Top 25 All-Star Game. His natural talent and athleticism were off the charts and everyone knew it, including himself.

6. Cliff Alexander, Currie (Chicago) 6-9 PF (2012)
Had his national coming out party and Alexander did nothing over the next two years to dispel the notion the 2012 Pangos Camp rubberstamped him as one of the nation’s best players. “That camp made his rep,” said Hoop Scoop publisher Clark Francis. “And he followed up at NBPA Top 100 Camp with another dominant performance.” Alexander was second at Pangos in scoring with 17.7 ppg, sixth in rebounding with 6.0 rpg, and third in blocked shots with 1.3 bpg. Like Jennings, Barnes and Muhammad, he eventually earned Mr. Basketball USA honors as the nation’s top player.

7. Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-2 PG (2010)
Talk about having a great weekend. Kabongo might not be the most talented player among the Dandy Dozen, but everything went right for him in 2010. The camp MOP displayed leadership skills, ran his team to perfection, played great defense and got into the key at will to finish or dish off. When it came to working hard in drills and giving effort in every aspect of the game, no player in camp history has been as locked in as Kabongo was that weekend. He had a genuine interest in learning from the national scouts in attendance and enjoyed his experience.

8. James Harden, Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) 6-6 SF (2006)
Frank Burlison of BulisonOnBasketball.com felt Harden was SoCal’s best player for two years and he showed why in the 2006 Cream of the Crop All-Star Game. He finished with 19 points, five rebounds, and seven assists and was named camp MOP. Harden led the best team in California for two years, but gets knocked a few notches on this list because some scouts felt Jamelle Horne and/or Matt Simpkins played just as well as Harden that weekend. Today he’s a perennial all-NBA player with the Houston Rockets.

9. Andre Drummond, St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.) 6-10 C (2011)
As good as Muhammad was, some felt this talented big man was just as dominant. Others felt he slowed flashes, so that’s why he gets dinged a bit on this Dandy Dozen list. There is no denying Drummond nearly tore the rims down with thunderous dunks and got major respect from his peers. We’d also be remiss not to mention another player on coach Bob Becker’s team at Pangos Camp that year: 6-foot-8 Anthony Bennett of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). He easily could crack this list, too, with the incredible combination of strength, skill and athleticism the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft displayed that weekend.

10. Demar Derozan, Compton (Compton, Calif.) 6-6 SF (2007)
One of the most explosive players ever to attend a Pangos All-American Camp, Derozan capped off a good weekend with a 30-point performance in the Cream of the Crop Top 25 All-Star Game. Derozan was a bit raw in high school, and in many ways is more famous for helping take the mix tape craze that is now standard in the industry to a new level, than he is for his actual accomplishments. He was overlooked for honors in high school by players such as Jennings, Harden and Jrue Holiday, but he’s now come into his own in the NBA.

11. Danny Williams, Fremont (Los Angeles) 6-3 SG (2004)
After a spectacular performance at the 2004 Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions the prior weekend, this Grid-Hoop stud shot well from the outside and dunked everything around the basket at the second Pangos Camp. He was arguably one of the top five performers along with Jerry-Davon Jefferson of Lynwood (Lynwood, Calif.). The 6-foot-8 forward was named MOP the next year, but both he and Williams get dinged a bit on this list because they were post-graduates in 2005. Williams gets the nod over his H-Squad summertime running mate because he was more consistent and played every night at the 2005 event whereas Jefferson did not. It seemed Williams could do almost anything athletically, but his college career was cut short by a serious car accident.

12. J.T. Terrell, Cummings (Burlington, N.C.) 6-3 SG (2009)
When it comes to lighting it up at the Pangos Camp, few have done it better than this streaky guard who signed with Wake Forest out of high school and eventually ended up at USC. This gunner was hot all weekend long and capped it with a MVP performance in the Top 25 Cream of the Crop All-Star Game. Terrell finished with 28 points on 10-15 field goals including six 3-pointers.

Honorable Mention:

Olek Czyz, Reno (Reno, Nev.) 6-8 PF (2007)
Anthony Davis, Perspectives Charter (Chicago) 6-9 PF (2010)
Jamelle Horne, San Diego (San Diego, Calif.) 6-8 SF (2006)
Kyle Lowry, Cardinal Dougherty (Philadelphia) 6-0 PG (2003)
C.J. Miles, Skyline (Dallas) 6-6 W (2004)
Jawaan McClellan, Milby (Houston, Texas) 6-6 F (2003)
Anthony Randolph, North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 6-10 PF (2005)
Michael Snaer, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.) 6-5 SG (2008)
Karviar Shepard, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) 6-10 C (2012)
Matt Simpkins, Capital Christian (Sacramento, Calif.) 6-9 PF (2006)
Robert Swift, Bakersfield (Bakersfield, Calif.) 7-0 C (2003)
Lance Thomas, Scotch Plains (Scotch Plains, N.J.) 6-8 F (2004)
Rashad Vaughn, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-6 SG (2013)

For more info about the Pangos All-American camp and the 2014 camp schedule, please visit fullctpress.net. The official Twitter hash-tag for the event will be: #PangosAACamp

Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop contributed to this report.

Ronnie Flores is the Publisher and Editor of GrassrootsHoops.net. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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