LONG BEACH, Calif. –
The Pangos All-American Camp wasn't the only thing Top 100 guard Zach LaVine
had on his itinerary this weekend in Southern California.
The Bothell (Wash.)
star took a visit Friday to UCLA and liked what he saw. The Bruins are now firmly in place at the top of LaVine's list.
"That's very accurate," LaVine said. "I just was up there today on a recruiting visit. It was very beautiful and I met the coaches, had a nice talk and had a nice visit. It's just real nice up there."
Photo by Nick Koza
Following the trip to Westwood, LaVine likely opened some eyes with his size, skill and ability to put the ball in the basket during the opening round of games at Pangos. He is pushing 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, up two inches and nearly 20 pounds from last summer.
"I guess I've got my name on the map a little bit more, even though it was just a little bit, it got out there so I'm thankful," LaVine said.
His silky game attracted much of the attention in a contest that also featured highly-touted stars like Roschon Prince
, Jarrell Martin
, Jordan Bell
and Elliot Pitts
, drilling a couple of contested threes off the dribble and rising up for one of the night's most impressive dunks.
"I'm trying to go out here and get my rank up," said LaVine, currently ranked No. 58 in the MaxPreps Class of 2013 Top 100. "My ultimate goal is to make the McDonald's All-American Game so that's going to take a lot of work."
LaVine plans to make a verbal commitment in August. Though UCLA will be tough to beat, hometown Washington, Louisville and Arizona are still in the picture.
As a junior, LaVine averaged 23.5 points per game to lead a school light on recent basketball tradition to the Class 4A state tournament.Passing the Pangos eye test
Standing out in a crowd of 100-plus high school basketball stars – including over three dozen listed at 6-6 or taller – isn't easy.
But Jeremiah April
of Joy Christian (Glendale, Ariz.)
has the length and frame to warrant a deeper look. Listed at 6-11 on the Pangos roster (6-10 might be a bit more accurate), he is a bit reminiscent physically of a young Terrence Jones.
"I've heard Channing Frye, Roy Hibbert, Anthony Davis, all those guys," April said of who he draws comparisons to.
He averaged 14.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a junior at Joy Christian, a small school that competes in Arizona's Division IV.
"I play against dudes half my size," April joked.
He is balancing that against top-flight competition this summer, however, at events like the Pangos All-American Camp and with powerhouse club program Dream Vision.
April listed Baylor, Montana State, UCLA, UNLV and USC as schools he is hearing from. Baylor's name isn't a surprise with Scott Drew's focus on recruiting length.
"They were one of the first schools to ever call me or anything," April said.(Late) Friday night Pangos notes
* Akoy Agau
of Omaha Central (Neb.)
is one of the most decorated Pangos campers in terms of high school success. He already owns three state titles and will be favored to make it four next winter. The personable 6-8 post player (who owns a firm handshake, by the way) isn't offering much in the way of recruiting nuggets, but he did provide the quote of the night, saying, "Nebraska isn't really known (for basketball). People think we are a bunch of farmers and we ride horses to school."
* Michael Young
will transfer from Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.)
back to St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
for his senior season. He spent his sophomore year at St. Benedict's Prep and will join fellow Pangos camper Isaiah Briscoe
on the Gray Bees' roster in 2012-13.
* It's going to be a long weekend at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, but watch out for Wayne Selden
in the Pangos MVP race.
* Class of 2015 forward Ben Simmons of Melbourne, Australia is a name to keep an eye on. He's considering making a jump to the United States next fall and already in the 6-7/6-8 range, has the potential to develop into an elite recruit.
* Elliot Pitts
of De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
has been one of the spring's fastest risers and showed why Friday night. Pitts doesn't necessarily look the part, but is deadly when he let's it fly from distance.Look for more coverage throughout the weekend from the Pangos All-American at MaxPreps and via Twitter @Jason_Hickman.