Pangos: Day Three Checklist

The all-star game produced three MVPs

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Day three at the Pangos All-American Camp always opens with some sleepy round robins, followed by the meat of the day: camp all-star games. Two different games tip off, one featuring the top 30 players and another featuring the top 60. The Top 30 game's MVPs were, left to right in the photo, Ray Smith, Terrence Phillips and Isaiah Briscoe.

2015


Isaiah Briscoe, SG — Forced to choose an MVP not only from the all-star game, but also the camp overall, Briscoe would be my guy. He has devastatingly effective attacking off the dribble and excels at making up his mind late in the shot attempt to convert the rim. He's able to do that because he changes hands so well and can bend and twist to elude shotblockers, and that particular talent translates to very level of basketball. He also limited his jump shooting attempts and made many of those he did launch, thus proving to be both prolific and efficient. He has had a great travel season thus far and didn't do anything at Pangos to dispel his rising status.

Terrence Phillips, PG — The argument continues to rage whether Phillips is a high-major or ideally an upper mid-major prospect. I tend to fall in the high-major camp because he possesses the speed for that level and because he really wants to be a good player. He does have some limitations, sure — lack of size, inconsistent jumper, errant passes — but there's no mountain he would refuse to climb in order to improve. He has made great progress over the past year and is in optimum condition in terms of physique and stamina. He simply needs to refine some decision-making and keep working on his shot, which already is fine from medium-range.

Ray Smith, WF — A tall wing at 6-7, Smith shines in the open court. He's an explosive leaper who fearlessly charges at the bucket and challenges big men. He also possesses the speed to run past guards and handles and passes well enough to make a play for a teammate. He buries some jumpers as well, and I especially like his stroke from 14-18 feet. Smith also ultimately should evolve into a stout defender, and his intermediate projection should land him somewhat higher than his current No. 29 national ranking.

Dejounte Murray, SG — This wasn't a great weekend for Murray, but I like him anyway. He struggled to get cranking offensively and is very, very thin, to the point that expectations for him should be kept in check for 2015-16, until he adds weight. But he's a quick athlete who flourishes attacking along the baseline and also fires up a nice looking shot.

Perhaps a lengthier timeline is required for him to blossom, but Murray holds substantial talent

My suspicion is that he needs to catch at 13-17 feet rather than on the perimeter, because his initial burst looks best-suited for that role in an offense. Time will tell on that, but he remains a national caliber player despite a disappointing camp.

Stephen Zimmerman, C — This lanky big man finished camp on a bright note. He nailed one three in the all-star game but generally did his best work as an interior passer (where he's terrific), on the glass, blocking shots and finishing inside. He's still in the process of repositioning his game to accommodate weight gain, but Sunday proved that even a different Zimmerman from 2013 can be a very, very good Zimmerman.

Steven Enoch, PF — Enoch held his own against Zimmerman inside, not dazzling with his offense but scoring effectively in transition — and in an all-star game, you know there's going to be lots of transition — and moving fluidly around the perimeter. He's no handler and I'd like to see him focus on his rebounding, but Enoch habitually outshone some of the bigger frontcourt names here.

Malik Beasley, SG — A solidly built guard who can jump through the roof, Beasley had some great moments at camp. He does fire up some highly ill-advised shots and doesn't handle as well as one might prefer, but he can stroke it from deep or embarrass someone at the hoop. Smoothing out the rough edges and playing a more complete will unlock more consistent production.

2016


Lonzo Ball, PG — I wrote after day one that Ball may or may not project as a point guard on a long-term basis, and that question likely will remain perplexing for some time. Defensively, he's definitely a wing, and defining a player's position by his defense makes sense. So there's that. But Ball handles and passes so well, not just in structure or on the break but as someone who initiates offense from anywhere on the floor. He's a dynamic hit-ahead passer and makes immediate decisions on the catch, moving the ball sharply to a teammate in a position to make a play. He gets all kinds of hockey assists and generally taxes an opponent's defensive effort. Inside, he makes touch passes so subtle people don't notice them, and he rebounds very well for a guard. The bottom line is that he's a guy UCLA will want handling the ball, and that's the compelling argument for him as a point guard.

2017


Cody Riley, PF — The only rising sophomore to play in either of the two all-star games, Riley competed with his elite elders in the Top 30 contest and performed very well. He sometimes fancies himself a face-up four when, with his hulking frame and athleticism, he should be a dominant inside-out scorer. The southpaw does hit some jumpers, but around the rim he's already one of the fearsome finishers in all of high school basketball. Continuing to develop his skill set and achieving balance should be his objectives over the next couple years, but he's already a mainstay among the 2017 top echelon. He's too talented not to notice.

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