A UCLA Look at the Pangos Camp

There were some UCLA recruits playing in the Pangos Camp last weekend, like Norman Powell and Xavier Johnson, but there were also some guys that UCLA looks to be starting to recruit...

Due to some health issues I was only able to spend one day at the Pangos camp this past weekend and I didn't get a long look at some of the prospects. Also, it's always more difficult to scout prospects in camp settings, as that is truly the worst form of basketball to evaluate players. There is no team offense or defense, the players have never played with each other and there is way too much selfishness. With those caveats in mind, here are my thoughts on some of the players I saw that might be of interest to UCLA.

Norman Powell, 6-2 JR SG San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln. Powell put on a show in his game Saturday afternoon, knocking down three consecutive three-pointers in a couple minutes and making a series of dazzling plays in transition. Powell's confidence is growing with each outing and it's becoming clear that he's one of the elite prospects in the country for 2011. While he's not a point guard, he has good ball skills for a two and it's possible that someday down the road he might play some one. In a camp that had some pretty good athletes from around the country, I didn't see anyone more explosive than Powell. As of now, he's the best prospect I've seen in the west for 2011.

Quinn Cook, 5-11 JR PG Hyattsville (MD) Dematha. This was my first look at Cook. After watching him for two games, I thought he showed a good feel for the game and above-average skill level. He appears to be a pretty good shooter to the stripe and has good point guard instincts. Even in a camp setting, he showed an ability to run a team. The one issue I had with him is he's not super quick. He only has average quickness and he's not an especially explosive athlete. For a bigger point guard that might not be as much of an issue as it is for a player at Cook's size. As a point of comparison, Jahii Carson is a far more explosive athlete at about the same size. Again, it's only one viewing, but based on what I saw I think I might prefer Carson.

Chasson Randle, 6-1 JR PG Rock Island (IL) High. UCLA hasn't been recruiting Randle to date, but he supposedly has very good grades and he certainly looks the part of a big-time point guard. He has a very good body, with explosive athleticism and he appeared to have a clue even in the ragtag camp setting. I'd like to see him some more but, off of one viewing, he certainly appeared to be a UCLA-level prospect.

Isaiah Austin, 6-11 SO C Arlington (Tex.) Grace Prep. I don't know if UCLA will have any chance with Austin – he figures to be recruited by the entire country – but I'm sure the Bruins will make an effort. Great frame, extremely long, good athlete and skills are much improved from a year ago. I only saw him play a couple minutes. After he grabbed a couple rebounds, blocked a shot and nailed a three from the top of the key, it was pretty clear that he would be in the "take him if you can get him" category.

Xavier Johnson, 6-6 SO SF Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral. Johnson continues to progress as a prospect and he's become a very versatile player. He shot the ball well from three-point range in the game I saw, but he doesn't need to make jump shots to be an effective player. He's an above-average rebounder for a small forward, he passes the ball very well and he's also a good defender. Johnson has a very good feel and approach to the game as well. It's possible that he may ultimately grow into a power forward and, if that happens, he'll be a very skilled four man. Or he may stay the same size and be the rare small forward that can play inside as well as on the perimeter. In any event, he's one of the elite prospects in the country for 2012.

Grant Jerrett, 6-8 SO PF La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran. Jerrett made a few plays on Saturday that had me shaking my head. As in, "Did he really just make that move?" He's not yet to the point where he's dominating his competition every time out, but he usually makes a couple plays where you marvel at his footwork, agility and skill level. As a fellow scout noted, he has some Kevin McHale in him. He has a very advanced low-post game, and feel in the post, for a young kid. He's also starting to develop a solid left-hand around the basket. In a loaded 2012 West Coast class, Jerrett is one of the very elite prospects.

Rosco Allen, 6-7 SO SF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Allen is a very skilled forward with a Euro-style game. He can shoot it deep, but he's now showing the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim as well. He had a number of impressive plays in transition where he handled the ball and made a couple nice passes. He's still on the slender side, but he's starting to fill out and he's now able to do more damage inside. He's not a big-time athlete, but his skill level is extremely impressive and he's one of the elite 2012 prospects in the west.

Aaron Gordon, 6-7 FR PF/SF San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty. I have no idea if Gordon will have any interest in UCLA after his brother Drew transferred out, but Aaron is a big-time prospect in his own right. He's much more skilled than Drew at the same stage. He might not be quite the explosive athlete that his brother was, but he has a far better feel and approach to the game. And Aaron is still a pretty high level athlete himself. What was most impressive about him, though, was his ball skills. He made several plays where he grabbed a rebound, led the break and finished with a few terrific passes. With continued development, he has a chance to be one of the elite 2013 West Coast prospects.

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