LONG BEACH, Calif. –
The roster at this weekend's Pangos All-American Camp is lined with players from prestigious high school and club programs.
Many were pegged for stardom early in their high school career. Some have been national names in basketball circles since middle school.
Ethan Telfair started out with that type of acclaim and pedigree at storied Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
– the same school where his brother Sebastian starred and also the high school home of Stephon Marbury and Lance Stephenson.
But a string of incidents and relocations left some questioning whether the quick and assertive 5-foot-11 point guard would ever play college basketball.
Telfair has answered in recent weeks with stellar play on the club circuit and has continued to draw rave reviews this weekend at one of the nation's elite showcase camps, including a 20-point performance in a Friday night game.
"All the hard work is paying off," Telfair said. "I've been staying at it, staying focused and doing the best I could."
Oklahoma and 2013 NCAA Final Four participant Wichita State have extended offers, according to Telfair. Several other programs – including Baylor, Loyola Marymount and Oklahoma State – have shown interest. He even took an unofficial visit to UCLA over Memorial Day weekend.
A little over two years ago his entire future was put in jeopardy, however, when he was arrested in Coney Island along with several Lincoln teammates with three loaded guns. The charges were eventually dropped and the incident was chalked up to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Telfair chose to leave Brooklyn for upstart Quest Prep in Las Vegas for his senior year.
"Lincoln is a great place but I kind of wanted to do my own thing," Telfair said. "I was really in the shadow of my brother there. I really wasn't getting any publicity or any looks (from colleges)."
His stay in Sin City was a short one. According to Telfair, he left in December because the courses he was taking at Quest were not NCAA accredited. Others have indicated he was asked to leave the program.
Whatever the case, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Telfair is now under the tutelage of former Oklahoma Sooner standout Bryatt Vann and will play for him at first-year program United Prep in Oklahoma City next season.
Vann has already seen a major change in Telfair, who reclassified from the 2013 class to the 2014 class upon his arrival in Oklahoma.
"When he first came to us toward the end of December until now, it's like night and day," Vann said. "He's made a 180-degree turn. Forget about the basketball stuff, just his character, development and being a good person – he's all that now.
"We had cut off some rough edges but he's a great kid. He's really a changed person. Ethan's real serious about academics and real serious about going to college next year."
And he's no longer burdened by the expectations cast by being the brother of Sebastian, who appeared in 59 games during the 2012-13 NBA season – his ninth in the league – with Phoenix and Toronto.
"I embrace it," Telfair said. "Not everyone has a brother in the NBA. I love it, actually. It's a little pressure but nothing I can't handle."
He also has no regrets about the up-and-down road he's traveled over the past two years.
"That's the life of a basketball player," Telfair said. "God puts me in places to see different things and go through different things. It made me a stronger kid. I'm growing up. I'm happy."