What I liked: Eric Bossi from Pangos All-American Camp
CERRITOS, Calif. -- The 2018 Pangos All-American Camp kicked off Friday night on the campus of Cerritos College and this year there was a twist, the camp was open to NBA Scouts. As usual, camp director Dinos Trigonis lined up lots of big time talent and here's a look at what I liked on Friday night.
... The explosive scoring of Anthony Edwards
The class of 2020 is setting up to be one that is loaded with explosive scorers and few, if any, can get hot the way that Atlanta's own Anthony Edwards can.
A strong and athletic two guard, Edwards took some time to feel his way through the first half of Pangos before getting hot in the second half. Once he gets it rolling, high school defenders pretty much have to hope to he misses because they aren't staying in front of him, keeping him from the rim or stopping his jumper.
Georgia, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and other programs in the Southeast have made him a priority but his recruitment is about to go national. UCLA has jumped in, Kentucky has recently checked in and plans to watch closely this summer and many more should be coming this summer.
... The energy of Xavier Foster
Anytime a big man goes to an All-Star camp type setting he can't rely on getting many touches because there isn't much offense designed to get them the ball, but Xavier Foster has it figured out. The five-star from Iowa just played with tremendous energy and let his athleticism along feel for things as a defender and rebounder take over. The result was one of the best performances I saw all night.
Perhaps the best big man prospect from the state of Iowa since Raef Lafrentz who graduated high school all the way back in 1994, Foster is major target of Iowa and Iowa State and has been on campus at both schools. They've offered along with Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri, Creighton and Illinois. Foster has also been on campus at Kansas and said that the Jayhawks are starting to turn things up a bit.
... The explosion of Jonathan Kuminga
When we compile class of 2021 rankings for the first time after the summer, it's hard to imagine that 6-foot-7 (maybe bigger) combo forward Jonathan Kuminga won't rank pretty highly. It's also hard to imagine that a player who just finished his freshman year of high school can be as wildly athletic as Kuminga is but I saw it with my own eyes on Friday night.
An aggressive attacker of the rim who can put the ball on the floor a bit, Kuminga even dropped the jaws of a few of the NBA scouts in attendance on some of his towering jams in transition. A native of Congo, Kuminga is surely going to see big time programs jump all over him this summer.
... The long term upside of Mark Williams
A near seven-footer from Virginia, Mark Williams is very much a work in progress but he is one with significant upside.
Like Xavier Foster, I was impressed with Williams activity and refusal to be a casual bystander while guards zipped up and down the court around him. He can run, he has long arms, sneaky bounce off the floor and the makings of a dangerous go to move in a jump hook that he can drop over the top of pretty much anybody. He's also got some touch and when he doesn't rush it, can make a mid range jumper.
Strength will come with physical maturity but he's already a pretty good rim protector and has a great attitude. He mentioned that he's been on campus at Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina and rattled off a school list that also included the likes of California, VCU, TCU, Stanford, Penn State, Rutgers, LSU, Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Clemson among others.
... The look on the face of NBA scouts trying to figure it all out
NBA scouts haven't been entirely absent from high school events since the ability to enter the Draft straight out of high school was wiped away in the summer of 2005. However, their viewings have only been of the most elite players in the pretty controlled settings of post season All-Star events like the McDonald's All-American Game and International play. This weekend, 20 or so NBA personnel requested credentials for the Pangos All-American Camp and I don't think they had any idea what they had gotten themselves into.
A few of them told me that they had prepped for the event by reading up on Rivals.com and other recruiting websites and thanks the magic of the World Wide Web they knew about players like five-star stud Kyree Walker -- who played his usual brand of bully ball on Friday night -- but watching them move from court to court with very little idea of who and what they were supposed to be watching was pretty interesting.
The real story here is that the NBA telling their people that they can attend events like this -- and more are going to be cleared this summer -- lends an awful lot of credence to the thought that they'll be opening up the Draft to high schoolers again soon and 2020 is the class that keep getting brought up as the most likely class.
Just as interesting is the wide difference in how different NBA people think they should approach high school scouting. Some think a regional guy who checks in on things from time to time is enough while others feel like they may have to develop an entire department to it. I think they are going to find that the year of college they've been getting to evaluate players is way more valuable than they realized and the smart teams will realize that they have to put a lot of resources into scouting younger players because it's a much bigger gamble.
... The sneaky productivity of Ismael Massoud
Four-star combo forward Ismael Massoud didn't have the greatest spring shooting the ball in Nike's EYBL, but he took a nice step forward on Friday night. He should be a guy who can stretch the floor in college and he's got a motor that has really improved but he's also sneaky productive across the board.
He's an excellent passer, has great hands and once he adds weight to his thin frame Massoud will be a good college rebounder. He has become more physical and in time should be a consistent player who does many things. Harvard, Yale and many other academics are trying to get him to go that route while others like Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, Creighton, St. Louis, Illinois, Florida State, Texas Tech, Rutgers and many more are making their overtures.
... The funky game of Dain Dainja
He's a big bodied insider who can handle the ball like a guard, has great hands and is a productive rebounder. Dainja can create for others, moves his feet better than you would expect on defense and is a stone cold lock to make the next top 100 in 2020. Illinois is is most recent offer joining others like Minnesota, Iowa and West Virginia.