(Ed. -- Easy bump. Thanks, HBeach! CG)
As threatened earlier this week, I attended two game sessions of the "Pangos All American" camp at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach today. The reason? Two PSU basketball commits were there. Luckily for me, a close friend and coworker is a big high school hoops fan and agreed to go with me. Lets throw out a disclaimer or two; I played high school hoops, and through football was around a good many VERY good basketball players....BUT, I am in no way a good evaluator of basketball talent. Also, the format today, and my own schedule, only allowed me to witness the PSU kids (Thorpe and Austin) for only one game from a not so ideal vantage point. Cabrillo High is a very nice, newish school located in a rather hood section of LBC. We had no clue what to expect. We poked our head in the gym and saw three games going at once. The only seats were bleachers on the far side from where we were. We made our way over and sat down.
Immediately, a couple things were evident; the talent level in the gym was very good, and we had ZERO clue who anyone was. The players had no names on jerseys, just numbers. My buddy secured a roster which provided names, numbers, height, weight,high school, home town, and committed college (if necessary). So, we scour the list and realize our two guys are 34 and 65. Now, we are center court, facing three full courts with games all going at once. 34 and 65 are nowhere to be found. But, we were treated to some damn good highlight worthy hoops. 120 or so of the best ballers in the land is quite a sight, if not a little chaotic, considering the three games at once thing.
We finally realized that there were kids in the bleachers and around the court awaiting the next game. Austin and Thorpe "got next". First game ends and the next set of six teams starts warming up. We spot 34 and 65 pretty quickly...warming up on the middle court. So we move to the top row and have a pretty good view of the middle court with the game about to begin. Now, again, I am an admittedly ignorant evaluator of basketball talent, AND I have no clue about the kids that were checking our guys. But I will say this, I was very impressed with both PSU recruits. I can see why Chambers was attracted to Thorpe. He's a tenacious defender with fast hands. Within the first three minutes he had two steals. One for an end to end layup. Another for an outlet layup. He was able to get to the basket as well. Austin was even more impressive. I'm close to saying he was dominant on the offensive end. 2 for 2 from 3 that I saw including a nice step back, and a catch and shoot. Also could get to the rim, and can certainly play above it. We left a bit before their game ended, but I walked the baseline as I exited and Austin appears taller than the printed 6'6" for whatever that is worth. Oh, and Austin didn't appear to work as hard on the defensive end, BUT, none of the bigs were defending that hard. With this all star format, there's not a lot of set offense, and little low post entry play in the traditional sense.
I had a great time and was glad I went. Again, impressive to see that many future all Americans and draft picks in action at once. I really wanted to go tomorrow, but I have a prior commitment. Tomorrow they have "Top 40" and "Top 20" shootout games, where they pit the top campers against each other. I wouldn't be surprised to see both our guys in the "Top 40" game. Unfortunately, had to leave the session a little early cuz my 8 month old was getting a little fussy. That's right, I took my 8 month old to a high school all American basketball camp at a high school in a shitty section of Long Beach. Caring is creepy....