Young Talent Shines At Pangos Midwest

Players in the classes of 2012 and 2013 still have lots of developing to do. However, they've already started drawing the attention of college coaches and Inside Illini was on hand at the Pangos All-Midwest Camp over the weekend to take a look at some of the area's top young players.

Last weekend, Dinos Trigonis brought his Pangos Camps to the Joy of the Game complex in Deerfield, IL. The operator of camps across the country that feed into his wildly successful Pangos All-American camp in June, Trigonis was in town to run the Pangos All-Midwest Freshman/Sophomore Camp.

While representatives from the greater Chicagoland area made up a majority of the campers. The event also featured players from surrounding states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri and even Nebraska.

Among the prospects in camp were a few guys that have already found their way onto the Illinois radar and several other kid with division one futures. Inside Illini was on hand and takes a look back at the events standouts.

Pangos Midwest Frosh/Soph Standouts

Lorenzo Dillard – Friday night, the 6-foot-1 freshman was in Champaign for Illini Madness. On Saturday and Sunday, the Evanston High product was demonstrating why many consider him to be among the top five or so freshman in the city. He's a physical point who goes to the rim, can make some jumpers and has excellent speed. Truth be told, he actually struggled a bit and at one point complained to nobody in particular that it just wasn't his day. But, late Sunday morning something clicked and he started making plays at a healthy clip. He's got lots of hoops ahead of him, but it's safe to say he's a guy that high major programs should be tracking at this point.

DeJuan Marrero – Like Dillard, the 6-foot-5 Marrero was in Champaign on Friday night. Although he's only a sophomore, he's already been on the Illini radar for a while and was easily among the top players in camp. A fine straight line athlete, he's a kid that charges the rim hard whenever he puts his head down in transition and goes. A bit more of a straight up and down player, he has a solid post game and can be a bit mechanical on the wing. Though he seems a bit more comfortable in the post at this stage in his career, he looks to have the tools to become a full-time wing and is certainly deserving of the early attention he's gotten.

Deonte Burton – The best looking prospect in camp and it wasn't even that close. Standing at least 6-foot-4, the freshman from traditional Milwaukee power Vincent High oozes upside. A lefty who can create offense off of the dribble, he blends athleticism, skill, desire and enthusiasm nicely. A kid who is fun to watch because of how much fun he's having, he also has a gigantic set of mits that allow him to make some catches and rebounds that guys his size shouldn't. A rhythm jump shooter, he'll have to work on his mechanics as a catch and shoot guy. Because he's so young, nobody wants to put too much pressure on him and lots of things could change over his four years of high school. That said, he's a potentially elite level prospect at this point.

Malcolm Hill-Bey – Although the sophomore from Mt. Carmel isn't the biggest guy around, he plays with an air of confidence that is hard to dismiss. Quick with the ball, he gets into the lane when he wants and is equally capable as a distributor and scorer off of the dribble. His outside shot warrants respect and the teammate of future Illini Tracy Abram has a chance to end up somewhere on the high major level himself with continued development.

Aaron Simpson - It's too bad that this explosive 5-foot-11 sophomore point guard from North Chicago couldn't make it back for the second day of camp. Arguably the quickest player off the dribble in camp, he plays a flashy, high risk/high reward style of ball that is entertaining. In addition to his blow-by speed, he's got big hops, is a creative distributor and is in possession of a good looking jumper. He'll need to get stronger, but will get some high major looks.

Chris Harrison-Docks – Making the trip down from Okemos (Mich.), Harrison-Docks was among the event's top ball handlers. A flashy dribbler who is comfortable going right or left, he's unafraid to attack the rim but prefers to pull-up for jumpers from between 15 and 20 feet. Perhaps more of a combo guard than a true point guard, the shoulder release on his jumper could be a bit of a concern down the road.

Akeem Springs – A high school teammate of future Illini Jereme Richmond, the 6-foot-3 wing is a player in his own right. Athletic, aggressive and full of energy, he's a highly active wing who really gets out in transition and puts pressure on his opponents because of how hard he plays. He will knock down some jumpers, but is more of a slasher.

Darrell Bowie – Guys like this 6-foot-6 sophomore from Wauwatosa (Wisc.) East are fun to watch. Right now, he's being used primarily as a four man but given his overall skill set, ability to handle, fluid movement and shot he should make the transition to the wing. He's a high major athlete with a big motor and has a chance to get recruited somewhere on that level if he can successfully make the move to the wing.

Akoy Agau – The event's lone representative from the state of Nebraska, the long 6-foot-7 forward prefers to face up defenders. He's got good feet, a pretty quick first step and the skill to shoot with consistency out to 17 feet. He plays a bit on the wing, but at his size it might not be bad for him to diversify his low post game a bit and turn himself into a versatile combo guy with size and length. Regardless, he was among the more high level long term stocks in camp.

More Notes From Pangos

Sitting courtside, one evaluator was discussing how he uses a slash and dash system to help him focus on the better players in camp. Those who don't look so promising get slash, while those who show some ability get a dash. One guy who quickly turned a slash into a dash – much to the delight of other courtside observers – was Chris "Buckets" Heaney. A 6-foot-2 wing from Lincoln Park, Heaney proved to be among the camp's most crafty scorers and consistent performers. Exactly what level of college prospect he will end up remains to be seen, but he more than earned his spot in the camp's top 25 Cream of the Crop game. … Given that he's only in 8th grade, it's best to keep the hype to a minimum. But, Milik Yarbrough a 6-3 guard who will eventually end up at Zion (Ill.) Benton is one to watch down the road. Given that two older brothers were D1 talents themselves, it's not a surprise that he's tracking as a potential player. Another 2014 (gasp) player making a big impression was Trevon Bluiett a 6-foot-3 combo guard from Indianapolis. Because of a roster mistake, he was evaluated as a kid two years older for the first day of camp and was impressing as a 2012. As an 8th grader, he's quite impressive given his handle, feel and overall level of skill. …

How loaded is Whitney Young right now? The Dolphins ooze talent and several of their younger players – some of whom will still have to wait another year to really get a chance on the varsity level – performed well in camp. In particular, 5-foot-7 point guard Derrick Randolph only needed one game to show that he was perhaps the camp's most exciting ball handler and he's got a jumper to go along with his nasty whips and quickness. Sophomore teammates Nate Brooks, a ridiculously athletic 6-foot-5 power forward, and tough 6-foot-3 wing Jordan Smith both made the top 25 game that would have surely featured Randolph were he able to play more. Yet another Dolphin, 5-foot-4 freshman point guard Lawrence Briggs (easily the most consistent trash talker in camp) was named to the top 50 game. … Standing 6-foot-8 with long arms and fluid athleticism, Lamar Walker from Detroit Community has plenty of physical upside. He can block shots, runs the floor and has good hands. Now, Walker just needs to play with some confidence and he could really blossom in to a player. … Finally, the Mache twins – Michael and Matthew – of Glenbard West deserve mention for how hard they play. A pair of hard working 6-foot-5 forwards, the sophomores are skilled and tough and earned their way into the top 25 game. …

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