Juzang, Jones are my top Pangos Frosh/Soph choices

NORWALK, Ca. – The first stop on the 2016 national Pangos All-Frosh/Soph circuit wrapped up Sunday afternoon at Cerritos Community College, with many of the West’s best in the Classes of 2019 and ’20 on display in a couple of all-star games.

And, after a few hours of deliberation after watching the 180-plus players in action, I’ve pared what I saw over Saturday and Sunday into my perspective on the “Best of the Best” at the event.

Both my top sophomore and top freshman selections could have easily been co- or even tri-selections in each category.

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Fairfax trio impress at Pangos Frosh-Soph Camp

NORWALK, Ca. – Six states were represented among the 180 or so players who were in attendance during the opening of the two-day Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp at Cerritos College Community College.

But it was the Los Angeles Fairfax High program whose players made the most significant impact on the proceedings Saturday night.

Six-foot Ethan Anderson and 6-4 Robert McRae, who turned in strong performances as freshmen last season for the Lions, and 6-7 Kirk Smith – who transferred to Fairfax from a Los Angeles charter school in the summer – were each outstanding Saturday night.

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Kresl, House top WCE/Arizona standouts Sunday

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Trying to designate “most outstanding players” at an event which featured a whole lot of those was quite a task Sunday evening at Rancho Solano Prep following the conclusion of the two-day West Coast Elite/Arizona camp in this suburb of Phoenix.

But, anyway, it had to be done, so – with the help of Gregg Rosenberg of Rivals.com – here goes:

*Grabbing MOP honors for his play during the Top 40 All-Star game was 6-foot senior Elijah Mead (Phoenix Camelback), who scored 24 points to help his team to an 80-69 victory.

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Arizona hoops stars of the future shine at WCE camp

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Rancho Solano Prep played host on Saturday’s first day of the most recent stop on the West Coast Elite Fall Circuit, this one highlighted by a lot of the very best that Arizona has to offer on the elementary, middle school and high school boys’ basketball scene.

Athletes from the first two categories were in the spotlight on Saturday, with things wrapping up with the Top 20 All-Star Game.

And 5-foot-7 left hander Dominique Newsom (an eighth-grader who attends StarShine Academy, a K-to-12 charter school in Phoenix) used that stage to continue the sizzling shooting that he had displayed in the two camp plays he was a part of in the morning and early afternoon.

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Mater Dei prevails against strong Ron Massey field

LYNWOOD, Ca. – The third annual, two-day Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic will eventually be looked upon as quite the primer for the 2016-17 boys Southern California basketball season.

Twenty-seven teams, including one from outside the SoCal confines (Las Vegas Bishop Gorman), participated in the event that began Saturday afternoon and wrapped up Sunday evening with the championship game of an eight-team tournament.

That field included seven squads that almost assuredly will be part of the 16-squad CIF Southern Section’s Open Division playoff field at the end of upcoming regular season, as well as Nevada- and regional power Bishop Gorman.

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Ron Massey semis and final on tap at Lynwood High

LYNWOOD, Ca. – Saturday evening’s first-round of play set the stage for the semifinals – and title game – on Sunday during the third annual Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic at Lynwood High.

Santa Ana Mater Dei (68-52 over Encino Crespi on Saturday) will take on Corona Centennial (57-51 over Long Beach Poly) at 11:20 a.m. in the first championship semifinal Sunday.

In the second semi, at 12:30 p.m., Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (72-48 over Rancho Santa Margarita/Santa Margarita) faces Torrance Bishop Montgomery (73-64 over Eastvale Roosevelt).

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Many of Cal’s best set for 3rd Ron Massey Memorial

LYNWOOD, Ca. – Six programs that played in the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division playoffs last season are part of the field for the eight-team tournament during the third annual Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic that gets underway at Lynwood High on Saturday.

The eight-team tourney is scheduled to tip off at 4 o’clock when Mater Dei faces Crespi, followed by Las Vegas Bishop Gorman-Santa Margarita (5:10), Long Beach Poly-Corona Centennial (6:20) and Bishop Montgomery-Eastvale Roosevelt (7:30).

The event – which honors the memory of Ron Massey, the beloved Long Beach Jordan coach who died in early April of 2014 – also includes 13 “showcase” games among other top programs that are not part of the tourney.

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Michael Porter tops Class of 2017’s “Best of Summer”

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – It took me until Labor Day to wrap this up but here we go:

We’re about to delve into my national all-Summer/2016 Top 30 for the senior class of 2017.

But, first off, some explanations as to why some of the very good seniors didn’t make this list . . .

Players were only eligible if they played in any of the 20 national and regional events over the summer (for the sake of this list, that’s two months – June 3, for the start of the Pangos All-American Camp, thru August 1 and the final day of the adidas Global Nations) that I watched and scouted in person.

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Cherry, Farley shine in Creme of the County Saturday

LA JOLLA, Ca. – The second Crème of the County, run so adroitly by San Diego-based scribe Aaron Burgin and his family, provided that – and more – Saturday at La Jolla Country Day High.

Not only were the bulk of the better boys’ basketball players based in San Diego County on hand but the event was represented by players from a lot of other area codes, as well.

Foremost among the performers among the nine games played during the approximate 10-hour event were senior Reed Farley (La Jolla High) and junior Taeshon Cherry (San Diego St.

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Stanley, Jaquez, Agbonkpolo among WCE standouts

LOS ANGELES – The Southern California high school boys’ hoops classes of 2018 and ’19 were on display, front and center, Sunday at the Windward School during the West Coast Elite End of Summer Camp.

Foremost among those in the sophomore class (’19) were Cassius Stanley (Studio City/Harvard-Westlake), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Camarillo) and Max Agbonkpolo (Rancho Santa Margarita/Santa Margarita).

Stanley, who helped lead Harvard-Westlake to a California D-IV crown in Sacramento last March, is among the most highly touted players from his class in the country.

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Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

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“I’ve known Frank since he was a student at Long Beach State and no writer ever worked harder at studying and understanding basketball. When I was coaching I always put more stock into what he said about (high school) players than anyone I knew. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best there is at evaluating the potential of basketball players.”
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame and NCAA Championship Winning Coach

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“Frank Burlison has always been a proponent of my talent and, even more so, of my potential – far before it was evident to most. Even as a smaller and determined player who was being overlooked by most high-major colleges and national scouting services, Frank always served as a friendly voice who got me into the door to most events to help me prove my talents.”
Russell Westbrook, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA and an all-star guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder

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