Pangos Top-45 game features young talent

While the Pangos Top-20 All-Star game has more sure things, the top-45 game had a lot of talent. Made up of mostly younger players, the game was a glimpse into the future.

I became enamored with Malik Story in Las Vegas, and he did nothing to change our minds at Pangos. He's big, strong and can flat out shoot. He was a little off in the All-Star game, making just 2-6 three for six points. He's a 2008 player and I think he can be really good when it is said and done.

Darnell Gant should have been in the top-20 game. There were not many better players at the camp. This kid was a JV player last year, but could be a top prospect on the West Coast for 2007. He was a little off in the Top-45 game, making just 3-of-11 shots. He had five rebounds and a pair of blocks, but is not yet an intuitive rebounder.

Jrue Holiday could be a better long-term prospect than his brother Justin who was in the top-20 game. He did not force and shots and deferred to his teammates a lot for a wide-open all-star game. He scored just six points on 2-5.

Jeremy Franklin's AAU coach told us to keep an eye on him and Oakland's Slam N' Jam's Carl Foster was right. He's a silky smooth two-guard with a really soft shot. He didn't shoot a lot in the Top-45 game, but was an effective 3-5 for eight points and also dished out a few assists.

Jeffree Withey reminds me a little bit of a puppy. I know, that sounds a little funny, but bear with me. He's long and tall, but the 6-10 center is still growing into his body. He's a little awkward and has huge feet. He's also wildly athletic and will be a big time 2008 prospect. He reminds me a little bit of Spencer Hawes.

In the top-45 games he was just 1-5, with the lone bucket coming in transition. He had a little trouble with the much stronger Ray Hall, but hall is two years older and a good 50 pounds heavier. Even when he missed, he looked good. He has a nice touch on his shot. He pulled down at least six boards and had a few blocks.

Hall showed me a little more in the game, but I'm just not a fan. He has soft hands and can score inside, but he is out of shape. He has bad hops and failed to get back on defense. At one point one of his coaches turned to press row and asked if he was ever going to go past the three-point line on defense. If he gets in shape he could be pretty good. Right now several Pac-10 teams are really after him and they are welcomed to him.

James Harden is not a big name yet, but he really could be. At 6-5 or so the sophomore from Artesia is showing that he is a legit Pac-10 player. He scored eight in the top-45 game and was really good off the dribble.

Jervaughn Johnson sure knows his way around a weight room. He was easily the biggest player at the camp. He has a tattoo that says "Beast" and that is how he plays. He's strong, aggressive and fairly quick. Not sure where he'll end up, but there could be a few Pac-10 football teams that would like him at defensive end.

Ohio sophomore Quincy Owens looks like a nice prospect. He's a big strong kid.

Jesse Woodard excels in these all-star games. He can get his shot off and is very good in the wide-open format. He's probably not a high-major prospect, but he's fun to watch.

We heard good things about Fairfax's Chris Solomon, but we did not see enough to really form an opinion. He was a solid performer, but did not put on a show. He has a nice reputation with some of the AAU coaches, so he's worth keeping an eye on.

We liked what we saw of 2008 point guard Nathan Garth, but he did not play in the Top-45 game. He looks to me like he is a pretty good little player and I'd like to see more from the Sacramento product.

Lawrence Westbrook was invited to play in the game, but could not due to an unspecified reason. The 2006 prospect from Phoenix is probably not a top-tier Pac-10 recruit, but he will be a very prolific scorer for some program.


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