We evaluated all the sessions of the Pangos Jr. All-American Camp at Cabrillo (Long Beach, Calif.) plus the four Cream of the Crop Games, and the following 10 players caught our eye as promising young talents on the West Coast hoops scene.
Pangos Jr. All-American Camp
Five Breakout Performers
Phillip “P.J.” Fuller (Seattle, Wash.) 6-2 2018 SG
Showed a complete game throughout the weekend and capped it off with a 18-point performance in the “Best of the Best” All-Star game. Fuller played a good brand of defense and blocked a couple of shots against the camp’s elite in the all-star game. What really stands out about Fuller at this time is how light he is on his feet and his ability to run the court. It didn’t happen much in this camp setting because the guards were not skilled enough to hit him in the open court, but Fuller could really get out and finish coast-to-coast. He also has a good first step in the half court and in the Sunday morning sessions displayed his ability to knock down the open long-range jumper. Fuller told us he was a bit nervous to begin with in his first major camp setting but he had no problem settling in. He recently got acceptance letters from Seattle Prep, Lakeside (Seattle) and Bishop Blanchet (Seattle) and will be choosing between those three schools and public school powers Garfield and Rainier Beach.
Elijah Hardy (Oakland, Calif.) 6-0 2018 SG
This long lefty started the camp pressing a bit, but he picked up his offense and closed with a stellar performance in the “Best of the Best” all-star game. Hardy has a sweet, but streaky, stroke from the outside and excels at a shot fake and blow by. Hardy has a tendency to pound the rock at times, but he’s a solid ball-handler with a natural ability to score. In the all-star game, he hit four 3-pointers to help bring his team back late in the second half, including one that gave it a 108-106 lead before losing in sudden death overtime.
Darrell Houston (Inglewood, Calif.) 5-9 2018 PG
It’s easy to evaluate athleticism but two traits we look for kids in this age range are toughness and the innate ability to score without jacking up shot after shot. Houston foots the bill in those areas with his serious approach to the game. In the Cream of the Crop game for 2018 players, Houston excelled on both ends and finished with 14 points. He also showed the ability to set his feet and explode with the ball in either direction. He along with 5-8 Jayce McCain gets our vote as the two most deserving players left out of the “Best of the Best” all-star game. The son of former Fremont (Los Angeles) guard Darrell Houston (’97), the younger Houston is quick to point out he doesn’t go by “Junior”. Tough customer!
E.J. Jackson (Inglewood, Calif.) 5-7 2019 PG
One of three 2019s to play in the “Best of the Best” all-star game along with 5-2 guard LaMelo Ball and 6-0 wing Makani Whiteside, Jackson dominated his competition at times with his competitive fire on the defensive end. He can harass ball-handlers by getting underneath them and is not afraid to mix it up. Jackson also is a good passer and played well in the “Best of the Best” game with 14 points. His style and frame reminds us of former Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.), University of Houston and Long Beach State guard Tommie “Tank” Davis.
Cassius Stanley (Chatsworth, Calif.) 6-4 2018 SF
The most athletic and springy player in camp, Stanley turned heads with his ability to finish above the rim and blow by defenders on the break. It’s easy to fall in love with his athleticism (the names Schea Cotton and DeMar DeRozan were thrown around in reference to Stanley’s ability at the same age), but what caught our eye was his approach (not too high or too low after good or bad plays) and his ability to score when necessary. In fact, Stanley hit the game-winning 13-footer in a half court setting with high intensity in the “Best of the Best” all-star game. Stanley, the son of well-known sports management executive Jerome Stanley, is currently attending Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) and will stay enrolled at the school to play varsity ball for the Trail Blazers.
Five Others Who Caught Our Eye
Fred Burton (San Bernardino, Calif.) 5-10 2020
Darius Mason-Robinson (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) 6-2 2019
Christian Swint (Compton, Calif.) 5-11 2018
Josh Vasquez (Carson, Calif.) 5-8 2019
Kadar Waller (Bakersfield, Calif.) 5-1 2019
Editor’s Note: This list doesn’t include players in attendance who’ve we previously evaluated on more than one occasion such as camp MVP Jordan Brown (Sacramento, Calif.) or LaMelo Ball (Chino Hills, Calif.).