2022 Pangos All-American Festival Superlatives
LONG BEACH, CA - The 2022 Pangos All-American Festival had roughly 40 players from across the country with rosters broken into geographical teams and over the course of two days, they competed in a mini bracket.
The Midwest came away the victors in the two-day mini bracket.
Let’s run through the superlatives of the action.
The storyline of the two days was the interior play of Flory Bidunga and Drew Fielder for the Midwest squad. The 1-2 punch was too much to contend for in a camp that needed some more interior pop.
Bidunga was a terror on both sides of the ball. He was a motorman, running end to end for easy plays at and above the rim. He made things look easy with lobs and putbacks. Defensively, we saw him block shots against three-point shooters, against post players and in the midrange. You felt his presence all over the floor.
On the flip side of the block was Fielder. The big fella from Southern California Academy via Idaho went to work in both games. He was dialed in and put the work in. There wasn’t a more efficient player in the camp around the cup. To add to his value, Fielder was a real problem for opposing teams as a rebounder. We saw the full bag from him throughout the camp and it is easy to see why his recruitment has high-majors involved and is even more likely to come.
Together, they were the easy picks as the co-MVPs of the camp.
TOP GUARD: Jeremy Fears
Sometimes the prettiest thing to be as a basketball player is reliable. That’s what Fears is. He is never too high and he’s never too low. What you see is what you get with him and the future Michigan State lead guard knows who is he and what makes his good days good.
There isn’t any forced action with him. Fears plays smart and knows when and where to attack. The way he competes makes ya wonder if he has a bunch of Chris Paul videos saved in his queue.
His resume is loading up with victories and championships. His next stop is to Overtime Elite, piloting an impressive squad that is being put together in Midtown Atlanta.
TOP WING: Mookie Cook
The future Oregon Duck is really one of the most interesting players there is in the country. He’s a jack of all trades, position-less guy with a game that can touch just about every category. In this setting, we saw some elite bounce in his game. The Portland native played above the rim and was at his best when he was going to the basket as a slasher and score at the cup. There wasn’t a different spirt about him that we vase’t seen from him at other elite events. He does a nice job of keeping his athleticism as a secret weapon.
Cook is really good as a passer and someone who sees the floor very well. He was one of the best passers and creators for others. Interestingly enough, you could make an argument that his ability to create for himself is an area for more growth. Same with is perimeter shooting. Not bad areas for a guy who sits at No. 3 overall in the class of 2023. In this camp, he was in a space unto himself.
TOP SHOOTER: Sam Walters
I have a lot of categories for Walters from the weekend. The future Alabama wing had a great showing on this setting.
For starters, he’s obviously a great shooter. At 6-foot-9, Walters had little trouble shooting over everyone (minus, maybe, Bidunga). As a catch-and-shoot guy, Walters was money. As a one or two-dribble pull-up guy, he was automatic. Whether he was open in the corners or with a man in his way, Walters found the bottom of the net with ease. The jumper is as smooth as a Sunday night bourbon.
With the recent commitment of bulldozing guard RJ Johnson, one of the best paint-touching guards in the Southeast, Walters will have a built-in drive-and-kick option in his lineup during his tenure in Tuscaloosa.
Let’s talk about Walters's trajectory long time for a second. He’s all over the map in national rankings across the injury. We’ll hedge our bets as him as a top 50 guy and potentially a guy who plays his way into a high rating than that. Looking long-term with him, you can see him developing into a player that NBA scouts come and see.
TOP RISER: Jalil Bethea
You won’t find him on any top 100 lists at the moment. But inclusion on such lists, including ours, is forthcoming. The 6-foot-4 guard from Philly looks like a guy who is preparing for what should be a level-up junior season. He has great basketball length, a sniper jumper from three and the momentum that usually leads to good things in the scholastic season.
He already holds a good number of offers. To date, Pitt, Rutgers, Villanova, UCLA, VCU, Mississippi State, St. Joe’s and many others have tendered a free ride.
Next stop: inclusion in our top 100 rankings in the class of 2024.
Best just gets the job done: Tru Washington
He’s one of the best guys who puts his head and down and goes to work in the clutch kind of players in the class. We saw that time and time again from Washington here. He knows how to get a bucket and when to go and get it. Washington is as consistent as sun in the Arizona desert.
Best “man, I just like that guy” guy: Brooklyn Hicks
It’s pretty simple. He was one of my favorite guys from the weekend because of how hard he played on both ends of the floor. Every time he was on the court, I wanted to see what he had up his sleeve. Hicks will be a really good college player and could be one of the best steals in the class of 2023.
Top on-the-ball defender: Garwey Dual
The future Providence Friar had it rolling in the championship game. He scored 34 points and did so on a lot of buckets created from his own work on the defensive end of the floor. We’ve said it all travel season that Dual has potential to be an all-league defender in college. Quick hands, quick feet, quick burst and a nose for always knowing where and how to be.
Mr. Go Get A Bucket: Mercy Miller
He let it fly quite a bit at the camp and he did so because he knew when that roundball went it that is was going down through the cylinder. The confidence was collected and it was hard to deny the future Houston Cougar his pinpoint perimeter prowess.
The Rim Bender: Pharaoh Compton
This isn’t confirmed but I feel good about saying it so here we go: Every shot he made was a dunk. And he made a lot of shots. The big fella from AZ Compass Prep did chin-ups on the rim and put his big frame on the mercy of engineering. Time and time again, he threw it down for the easy two points.