Hoopers in the Heartland

by October 20, 2009

by Aggrey Sam

This past weekend, I covered the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp, held at Joy of the Game, in Deerfield, Ill., a northern suburb of the Chi. These Pangos underclassmen camps (there’s one on the West Coast, another down South, as well as an East Coast camp) are put on by my man Dinos Trigonis, to provide exposure for the best young prospects in the various regions and to identify players for his big camp in Cali every spring, the best non-sneaker camp (for my money), along with the NBPA Top 100 Camp. Anyway, I covered this camp for ESPN.com (hope you have Insider!), but to show some love to prospects who didn’t make the cut in that report, here are 25 kids who impressed me from over the weekend:

–Akoy Agau, 6-7 freshman post, Omaha Central (NE): A long, athletic Sudanese prospect, Agau is still raw, but his length, athleticism, defensive prowess and flashes of offensive potential were extremely eye-catching.

–Trevon Bluiett, 6-3 eighth-grade wing, Trade Point Christian (IN): My personal policy is to usually to ignore kids who aren’t in high school yet, but there were a handful of middle-schoolers, such as Bluiett, a smooth, skilled wing with good size, who simply couldn’t be ignored, even playing with older competition.

–Darrell Bowie, 6-6 sophomore wing, Wauwatosa East (WI): Bowie, a fluid wing with good size and a high motor, stood out with his versatility, ability to play inside and out and transition game.

–Nate Brooks, 6-5 sophomore combo guard, Whitney Young (IL): A monster athlete (and student, at one of the city’s top schools, nonetheless), Brooks literally tried to dunk everything in the lane, put on a show in transition, was a force on the boards and greatly affected his opponents on D, while showing off a developing slashing game.

–Deontre Brown, 6-1 sophomore combo guard, Plainfield East (IL): Brown, a skinny slasher and good athlete, used his length and quickness to get to the bucket, but also defended well, contributed on the glass and was a solid ballhandler.

–Deonte Burton, 6-4 freshman wing, Vincent (WI): A southpaw from Milwaukee, Burton was likely the event’s top overall prospect, as his power, athleticism, finishing ability, court vision, unselfishness, rebounding, knack for making plays on D all add up to being a future top prospect.

–Rapheal Davis, 6-4 sophomore wing, Southside (IN): Davis, a Purdue commit, used his bulk, ballhandling ability, range, nice touch and savvy to get buckets, but showed the ability to be a playmaker and help out on the boards–when sufficiently motivated.

–Lorenzo Dillard, 6-0 freshman combo guard, Evanston (IL): A scorer with a nice frame and some versatility, the son of former DePaul star Skip Dillard, has good size, a smooth way about him and advanced scoring tools for his age.

–Jordan Foster, 6-0 sophomore combo guard, Oak Park-River Forest (IL): Foster, a strong-bodied scorer, is a knockdown shooter when open from deep, but can also handle the rock, get in the lane and finish, be a playmaker, has good quickness and can run the show.

–Chris Harrison-Docks, 5-11 sophomore point guard, Okemos (MI): A flashy ballhandler with a stocky frame, Harrison-Docks showed nice playmaking ability, good shooting range, excellent court vision and good toughness.

–Chris Heaney, 6-3 sophomore wing, Lincoln Park (IL): Heaney, a skinny kid with floppy hair, didn’t look the part, but his high basketball IQ, scrappy style of play, nice stroke, change-of-pace game, solid court vision, shifty handle and fabulous knack for scoring earned a lot of admirers.

–Malcolm Hill-Bey, 5-10 sophomore point guard, Mount Carmel (IL): A jet-quick playmaker with excellent court vision and nice scoring ability, Hill-Bey–in his lone day at the event–showed why many in the Chi regard him as one of the better guard prospects in his class locally.

–Mike LaTulip, 5-11 sophomore point guard, Prospect (IL): LaTulip, a big-time shooter with some toughness, savvy and playmaking ability, adjusted nicely when opponents began to overplay his wet J.

–Matthew Mache, 6-5 sophomore combo forward, Glenbard East (IL): A strong, physical kid with a solid post-up game, a nice stroke out to 15 feet, decent ball skills, a high IQ and rebounding ability, all while hustling on both ends

–Michael Mache, 6-5 sophomore combo forward, Glenbard East (IL): I’ll be honest–I’ve seen these twins a few times now, and I can’t decide who’s the better prospect, as Michael did a lot of the same things Matthew did, with the same consistent effort.

DeJuan Marrero–DeJuan Marrero, 6-5 sophomore wing, Bowman (IN): A ultra-competitive slasher who was probably the most high-profile prospect in attendance, Marrero played with a chip on his shoulder (in a good way), as he bullied his way to the rack, finished above the rim in transition, handled some playmaking duties and rebounded assertively.

–Andrew McAuliffe, 6-6 freshman post, Glenbrook North (IL): McAuliffe, a young big man with a nice frame, a touch out to 15 feet, fundamentally-sound post moves and a physical nature, didn’t have the best camp, but showed nice upside.

–Dexter Morton, 6-5 sophomore combo forward, Cass Tech (MI): A Detroit native, Morton combines decent ball skills for his size, a solid frame, a nose for the ball, a nice scoring touch and the willingness to bang in the paint.

–Kaylen Shane, 6-8 sophomore post, Crete-Monee (IL): Shane, who came to the camp just to watch (I urged one of his high school coaches to have him participate) drew a lot of attention because of his massive frame, but while he’s still very much a work in progress, with his size and strength, he has a chance to be a pretty good prospect one day.

–Sean Sheldon, 6-8 sophomore post, St. Francis (MI): A slim post player with good feet, ambidextrous post moves and a nice touch on his J out to 15 feet, Sheldon needs to get stronger, but projects as a nice prototype face-up 4.

–Aaron Simpson, 6-0 sophomore combo guard, North Chicago (IL): Simpson, a quick lead guard who proved equally adept at distributing and scoring–both getting to the rim and hitting pull-up jumpers–but also utilized his quickness on D.

–Jordan Smith, 6-3 sophomore wing, Whitney Young (IL): A slender and bouncy guard with a nice stroke and smooth game, Smith probably won’t be a featured player for his powerhouse high school, but if he’s patient, he’ll make noise in time.

–Akeem Springs, 6-3 sophomore wing, Waukegan (IL): Springs, the high school teammate of top senior prospect and Illinois commit Jereme Richmond, is also regarded as a top football prospect in the Chicagoland area, and his gridiron physicality, hard-nosed slashing ability, work on the boards, as well as his ballhandling, mid-range game and playmaking skills, make him a nice hardwood prospect, too.

–Lamar Walker, 6-9 sophomore post, Detroit Community (MI): A skinny shot-blocker with a developing offensive game, Walker is still a project, but his length and athleticism are evidence of his very high ceiling.

–Milik Yarbrough, 6-3 eighth-grade wing, Zion-Benton (IL): Kin to former Tennessee star Vincent Yarbrough, the middle-schooler’s mature offensive game and frame belied his age, as did his smooth handle and pull-up J.