This year's camp was as good any ever attended by this writer. In fact, the assessment here is that it was probably the best independent (not sponsored by a major shoe company) camp in the sport.
Seven of the top eleven players in the class of 2016 were in attendance: DeAndre Ayton (1), Michael Porter (2), Trevon Duval (5), Billy Preston (6), Brandon McCoy (9), Hamidou Diallo (10), and Jarred Vanderbilt (11). Of those seven, only Brandon McCoy did not play in the majority of the camp.
Among these highly touted players, Hamidou Diallo probably was the most consistently dominant performer throughout the camp. In addition, just like Mohamed Bamba and Cassius Stanley had a coming out party last year, this year, sophomore-to-be Charles Bassey was the young phenom who put people on notice.
Below are notes taken regarding the best players at each position, along with a separate report for the underclassmen (class of 2018 and 2019).
Top point guards
Trevon Duval, 6’3”, 183 lbs., 2017
Duval is the most complete point guard of the 2017 class. He is skilled, has a strong body, and takes command of an offense. Duval makes the simple passes, but also the spectacular, whenever needed. His shooting is above average and should be improving. His defense is more than adequate. Because of his physicality, Duval will be able to make it very difficult for opposing point guards to have sustained success.
Jaylen Hand, 6’2”, 170 lbs., 2017
Hand is probably the fastest player in the camp. He can get through both man-to-man and zone defenses. In addition, his decisiveness and his willingness to attack anyone gives him the edge needed even against the quickest defender. Hand still needs to finish more consistently and make the correct passes off the penetration. Additionally he does not seem to utilize his jumper too often, perhaps because he lacks confidence with it.
Trae Young, 6’2”, 170 lbs., 2017
Young performed some of the most spectacular displays of dribbling in the camp. In addition to his handle, he is also a good deep shooter, forcing his defender to have to respect both aspects of his game. Young can push the ball but still needs to show that he can successfully and consistently run an offense in a slower halfcourt setting.
Quade Green, 5’11”, 155 lbs., 2017
Green demonstrates that he belongs among the elite point guard ranks in terms of skill set and intangibles, especially competitiveness. He can shoot, pass, and dribble the basketball at a high level. Even though Green is smaller in stature, his body seems able to take the grind. He should have a successful college career.
Top shooting guards
Hamidou Diallo, 6’5”, 175 lbs., 2017
Among all the stars, Diallo’s shines the brightest. He is an athletic, strong, and skilled shooting guard, with the potential to be a great defender. He has the knack for making the show-stopping play as well, such as a fierce putback dunk over much bigger forwards and centers. His first step is so quick that he can leave his defender looking as he was nailed to the floor. In addition, Diallo's long jumpers were going in with regularity, allowing him to do just about anything he wants on the court. He should one day be a first round NBA draft pick and future dunk contest participant as well.
Gary Trent, Jr., 6’5”, 200 lbs., 2017
Gary Trent possesses one of the most polished offensive games in high school basketball. He is a great mid-range shooter off the catch or the dribble. Trent gets to the paint consistently and can finish or, thanks to his great vision, dump off the basketball whenever the defense is collapsing on him. He is always ready to compete, should make a great captain as he is vocal during halftime and timeouts.
Ethan Thompson, 6’3”, 175 lbs., 2017
Thompson has been a productive player for a long time and he contributes to a strong Bishop Montgomery High School team. He is a great shooter with a crafty game that allows him to always be in the right place at the right time to make the winning play. Additionally, Thompson has the necessary skills to play point guard when needed.
Jay Jay Chandler, 6’3”, 170 lbs., 2017
Chandler is a physical guard that can grab his share of rebounds. His improved shooting has allowed him utilize his already impressing ability to drive to the hoop. Chandler also possesses defensive skills that will be an asset at the next level.
Top small forwards
Michael Porter, 6’9”, 215 lbs., 2017
Porter has the right combination of size and skills to thrive at the small forward position in terms of scoring and rebounding. He is a great shooter, has an amazing play-making ability, using his height to survey the surroundings. Although he does not have top-end quickness to dribble past players, he has enough savvy to get what he wants. Porter plays at his own pace, and would be a great addition for a half court offense.
Jarred Vanderbilt, 6’8”, 200 lbs., 2017
Vanderbilt is one of the most physically imposing players in the class. He has an ideal combination of size and speed that helps him excel both inside and outside. Indeed his versatility, evidenced by his passing, dribbling, and shooting skills, could allow him to play up to 4 positions on the court. More accurate shooting, especially three point shooting in this pace-and-space era would make him deadly.
D’Shawn Schwartz, 6’6”, 200 lbs., 2017
Schwartz is a strong bodied player who can drive the ball to the paint. His shooting is adequate, and should only get better. One of the better inside defenders for his size, Schwartz will do the dirty work for his team.
Charles O’Bannon, 6’5”, 200 lbs., 2017
It is obvious that O’Bannon is an experienced slasher. His footwork and quick decision-making allows him the extra split second to get to the basket. Although his shot was not falling during the camp, I believe the mechanics are there and he should be a dependable shooter.
Top Power Forwards
Billy Preston, 6’10”, 230 lbs., 2017
Preston is a highly-skilled big man who can take a rebound and dribble to start a fastbreak. His top-end talent should allow him to dominate the game, especially with the heightened assertiveness and passion that he displayed in the camp.
Ira Lee, 6’6”, 225 lbs., 2017
Ira Lee’s work rate inside both offensively and defensively will set him apart at the next level.
He has the experience to position himself and time the ball to get in the middle of the action. Lee's toughness will allow him to succeed even against bigger opponents.
PJ Washington, 6’8”, 215 lbs., 2017
Washington is a good shooter for a big man. His strength allows him to get the upper hand on the block and operate with his back to the basket. From there, he has plenty of moves to score. In addition, his quick feet and physicality make for a good combination for inside defense.
Deng Gak, 6’10”, 190 lbs., 2017
Gak is a finesse player who knows his way around the basket. He is very good in transition and can score in a variety of ways because of his good touch. He probably needs to add strength so that he won’t be muscled out of his preferred position on the court.
DeAndre Ayton, 6’10”, 220 lbs., 2017
His usual monster self. Even when he is not fully engaged, Ayton still dominates with timely spectacular plays, demonstrating his physical gifts. He can do even better by expanding his arsenal and adding a reliable jump shot. Also, I can foresee opponents will play him especially physical to slow him down. In this case, improving strength and stamina is the next step.
Charles Bassey, 6’10”, 220 lbs., 2019
Charles Bassey is the future of basketball. The incoming sophomore plays beyond his years and not intimidated by the competition. Along with natural physical attributes and skills, he has a great feel for the game at such a young age. He can be as polished as Tim Duncan, with all the fundamentals, before he is finished.
Cassius Stanley, SG, 6’4”, 175 lbs., 2019
Stanley followed up a spectacular Pangos camp last year as a freshman-to-be with another noteworthy performance. Right now he is 6’4” but he should grow a few more inches to a SG/SF combo size. He has high-end athleticism, can attack the basket with explosiveness, and his outside shot is developing right on schedule.
Cole Anthony, PG, 6’2”, 165 lbs., 2019
He is an amazing physical talent at the point guard position. He will be a dominant force in high school basketball as he grows. His athleticism will allow him to do just about anything he wants. Even among older players he knows how to get himself involved in the offense and be productive playing often at shooting guard.
Javonte Smart, 6’4”, 185 lbs., 2018
Smart definitely has the ability to control an offense. However, currently, he still defers to the older players and does not force the issue or get a shot. Despite his limited opportunities, he did make good decisions whenever he had the ball. His passing is impressive, though his shot is merely adequate.
Isaiah Mucius, 6’8”, 190 lbs., 2018
Mucius is a three point shooter with great size. At small forward, his improving handle should also make him even better in the future. Right now, he seems to rely on the long jumpers more. However, once he figures out the mid-range and inside game, he should be a formidable inside-outside threat.
By Christian Siagian
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com