LONG BEACH, Calif. –
Minnesota has never been viewed as a hotbed for high school basketball.
But elite 2014 prospects Tyus Jones
, Rashad Vaughn
and Reid Travis
are beginning to put a dent in that line of thinking.
As evidenced by his play this weekend at the Pangos All-American Camp, the run of top-shelf talent in the North Star State will extend to the Class of 2015 thanks to forward Alex Illikainen
of Grand Rapids
Vaughn is also in attendance – and filling up the scoring column – at the West Coast's top showcase camp.
"It's awesome having so many great basketball players in a so-called hockey state," Illikainen quipped while waiting for his turn to take the court Saturday.
The 6-foot-8 rising junior is coming off a spectacular season at Grand Rapids High School, piling up averages of 27.2 points and 14.7 rebounds per game en route to MaxPreps second team Sophomore All-American honors.
Illikainen was anxious to test his game against the nation's best this weekend at Cabrillo High School.
"I like to see how I match up with all of these guys," Illikainen said.
He's matched up very
Playing for the USC camp team (a bit ironic considering he took an unofficial visit to the Trojan campus Friday), he averaged 17 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in a pair of Saturday outings.
Come Sunday he will be ready to return to Grand Rapids, which is about two hours south of the Canadian border and home to 10,000 people according to Wikipedia.
"I kind of like it up there," Illikainen said. "You are kind of by yourself and kind of do your own thing."Pangos Saturday notes
* Stanley Johnson
of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
is looking like a potential Pangos MVP. The dynamic, determined and usually dominant 6-6 guard poured in 27 points to go along with six assists and four steals in a 99-73 win for his team during the evening session.
* Ahmaad Rorie
will be relocating from Lincoln (Tacoma, Wash.)
to national powerhouse Montverde Academy (Fla.)
in the fall, but that won't change the 6-0 point guard's feelings about California, the Pac-12 school he committed to over a year ago. "No second thoughts. That's where I've wanted to go since I was young. That's been my dream school, so when they offered early I wanted to end the recruiting early."
* Antonio Blakeney
, a 6-3 rising junior combo guard, is a hot name after pumping in over 27 points per game last season at Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota, Fla.)
. He will be transferring to Oak Ridge (Orlando)
due to his mom's new job, but apparently college programs still know where to find him. Central Florida, Clemson, Dayton, Florida, Kansas State, Louisville, Miami, South Florida and Xavier have all extended offers.
* Jaylen Johnson
of Ypsilanti (Mich.)
did more than just pass the eye test Saturday. The 6-9 forward tallied 18 points and nine rebounds in a 57-44 win for his Maryland camp team during the afternoon session.
* Thon Maker
is proving he's more than just a tantalizing prospect. The 7-footer makes an impact with his freakish length and constant activity. The Carlisle School (Martinsville, Va.)
rising sophomore tallied 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots (that number seems a bit low) during the evening session.