Up-and-comers jump out at Pangos high school basketball camp

A sneak peak at some of the best sophomores and freshmen in the state.

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Simeon’s AJ Casey (23) shoots against Morgan Park’s Deshawndre Washington (24).

Simeon’s AJ Casey (23) shoots against Morgan Park’s Deshawndre Washington (24).

Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

Each fall the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp in LaGrange provides a glimpse into the future.

For the basketball junkie it’s a sneak peak at some of the best young talent in Illinois, many of which will provide an impact for their respective varsity teams this winter.

Here is a rundown from this past weekend’s Pangos camp.

State’s best young prospect

With Young’s DJ Steward, Morgan Park’s Adam Miller, Rolling Meadows’ Max Christie and Fenwick’s Bryce Hopkins all established as top 100 talents and high-major prospects in the senior and junior class, Tinley Park’s AJ Casey is now the best young prospect in the state.

The 6-8 sophomore transferred to Tinley Park from Simeon, where he played a role for the Wolverines last year as a freshman. The highly versatile Casey was the best in-state prospect this past weekend at Pangos, showcasing mobility, shooting touch and all the physical attributes you covet in a prospect.

Casey picked up a Kansas offer earlier this fall to add to a list that includes DePaul and Illinois.

Promising Class of 2023

It’s been a few years since there were so many names to keep an eye on in a freshman class. But this group in the Class of 2023 is worth talking about — even before they play their first high school basketball game.

Currently the best prospect with the highest ceiling in the freshman class is Morgan Park’s Javonte Taylor. The 6-7 wing boasts tantalizing potential with his length and skill. But the list of talented freshman guards is both lengthy and exciting.

The Public League point guard trio of Simeon’s Jalen Griffth, Morgan Park’s Darrin Ames and Young’s Dalen Davis will be fixtures on the high school scene sooner than later. All three shined at times this past summer and did so again at Pangos as they were selected to play in Sunday’s Cream of the Crop Game.

A name to keep an eye on is 5-11 combo guard Damarion Wyatt of North Lawndale, who showcased some electric scoring ability at Pangos. The North Lawndale freshman combination of Wyatt and Ronald Chambers will form one of the top young backcourts in the city.

Other freshmen who opened eyes at Pangos include: Bolingbrook point guard Mekhi Cooper, Notre Dame guard Sonny Williams, Marist guard Xavier Suliaman, 6-6 Jackson Kotecki of St. Ignatius, 6-5 wing Khalil Ross of Lincoln-Way East, Bolingbrook’s 6-7 Donoven Younger and Springfield Lanphier point guard Tevonta Jackson.

Breakout performer

The breakout performance came from Lake Forest Academy’s Nigel Hylton, an ultra-intriguing prospect due to his 6-7 size and ability to stretch the floor with his shooting. The Toronto native will skyrocket up the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s Class of 2022 player rankings following his performance at Pangos.

Best prospects

While Casey was the best in-state prospect at Pangos, there was no question the two best prospects in the building were a pair of out-of-staters: Ty Rodgers out of Michigan and Omaha Biliew from Iowa.

Rodgers, a gifted 6-5 wing, showed why he’s among the top 40 prospects in the Class of 2022, while the 6-7 Biliew, who is just a freshman, was named the Pangos Most Outstanding Player.

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