LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Friday night, the 2012 edition of the Pangos All-American Camp tipped off at Long Beach's Cabrillo High School. As is usually the case during the first round of games at a camp, things were a little sloppy as kids got to know each other and shook off their day's travel. But, there were also some nice performances and Karviar Shepherd, Anthony January, Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Hamilton were among those who impressed.
Shepherd leads the flock
Karviar Shepherd is just happy to be playing. The 6-foot-9 power forward at Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep sat out his junior year due to transfer rules, but he didn't show any rust on Friday night.
Shepherd has always had good hands and played with confidence on the offensive end. Now, he's catching, turning and facing the defender and going to work with jab steps, jumpers and good decisions. He looked polished and seemed like he was ready to play.
"I just came out to play like I would any game really," Shepherd said. "I try to get involved on both ends. I play defense, I rebound and I try and do everything I can to help out my team."
On the school front, Shepherd took an unofficial visit to LSU this past Monday and then stopped by UCLA on Friday morning. Both Shepherd and his summer coach Jazzy Hartwell mentioned Kansas as a likely visit and Louisville as an upcoming stop. Georgetown, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Tennessee were among the other programs mentioned.
According to Shepherd, he's in no rush to make a decision and he's just happy to be back on the floor.
"It feels good," Shepherd said. "To get to play after sitting out for the season is a lot of fun."
January is versatile
In the final rankings of the class of 2012, Anthony January sits at No. 63. Now, January is planning to do a year of prep school after busting out as a player during his senior season at Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft.
A 6-foot-8 combo forward, January is a talented and versatile player. He's a playmaker off the dribble with length and athleticism who can also hit a pull-up jumper and has the ability to defend on the wing.
"Coaches are recruiting me as a combo," January told Rivals.com. "They are looking at me as a three in the future."
January still has work to do, but he has played to his ranking and is a bona fide prospect.
He isn't 100 percent decided about where he'll attend prep school next year, but January mentioned La Jolla (Calif.) Prep as where he's looking at most right now. On the college front, January says that UNLV, San Diego State, Long Beach State, Washington and UCLA are among those involved with his recruitment.
* In case anybody had any questions about his level of skill on the offensive end, Isaac Hamilton showed again that he's got the complete package. A physical, 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Hamilton is so clever on the offense that defenders really don't have much of a chance. The range on the jumper is there, he's an astute passer and is learning to compete on the defensive end.
* Nobody ran the point better than Isaiah Briscoe during the games Rivals.com watched Friday night. The class of 2015 floor general from Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's was in total command of the Cabrillo gym. A strong and tough guard with a low center of gravity, Briscoe is a controlled ball handler and skillful passer who scores often at the rim because of his changes of speeds and ability to finish through contact.
* Hadn't ever seen 6-foot-10 Jeremiah April of Glendale (Ariz.) Joy Christian before Friday night. He's a slender big man with a pretty solid skill base, lots of length and what look to be good hands.
*Vince Hunter will get looks from upper-tier, mid-majors and high majors simply because of how active he is on both ends of the floor. A 6-foot-8 listing on the rosters is way too generous, but he's big enough at around 6-foot-6 and plays with tremendous energy. The Detroit (Mich.) Consortium small forward has a good-enough-looking jump shot and is an intriguing player.
*Chris Sandifer is a 2014 West Coast wing with a lot of potential. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Gardena (Calif.) Serra is an explosive athlete and willing aggressor on the offensive end. He will be fun to watch develop and is a potential high major prospect.
* UNLV commitment Christian Wood is a very talented kid. At around 6-foot-9, he's a lean, perimeter oriented big man with a pretty jump shot. Wood is also starting to develop off the dribble and has some elements in his game that are similar to a young Jonathan Bender. Friday night, Wood got into the paint a bit and played active around the rim and also finished breaks with big dunks to go along with his jump shooting.