Long Beach, CA – Two weeks ago, the last weekend of August, Dinos Trigionis hosted the 3rd Annual Pangos All-American Festival 4 at McBride High School in Southern California. The event featured four teams playing in a four-game showcase format, with two semifinal games, a consolation game, and the championship game. The four team names represented the four regions used in various basketball events at the collegiate, high school, and middle school levels; West, East, Midwest, and South. The event was won by the Midwest squad and junior Flory Bidunga and senior Jeremy Fears earned co-MVP honors. This article takes a look at my top 10 performers and next 5 performers from the event with a description of how they played, a brief evaluation of their skills, and relevant player information. This is not a recap of the event, as this has already been articulated by the likes of national scouts Frank Burlison, Van Coleman, and others scouts in attendance. Although this is a list of my top 15 players, the top 10 are listed in alphabetical order not a ranked order, as is also the case with my next 5 players. I begin this write-up by looking at Flory Bidunga.
661 Hoops’ Top 10 Performers:
2024 6’9 Flory Bidunga (Kokomo/IN)
Bidunga, a top 10 nationally ranked player for the junior class, may have been the player with the best long-term potential at the Pangos Festival 4 event. Bidunga displayed an elite 2-way skill set with the athleticism and agility to defend on the perimeter and the size and physicality to hold down the paint. Bidunga had 21 points in the Midwest team’s semifinal win and followed that up with 16 points and countless rebounds and blocks en route to the championship. Bidunga is an elite rebounder with good instincts and timing to control the boards on both ends, uses his wingspan and timing as a high-level shot blocker and rim protector, has the lateral quickness to stay in front of perimeter players when switching off ball screens, and finishes with authority around the basket routinely. Bidunga has great touch around the basket, can spread the floor from the mid-post to the 3-point line, and has good court vision to facilitate out of the high-post. Bidunga was named Co-MVP of the event with fellow Midwest teammate Jeremy Fears.
2024 6’3 Jalil Bethea (Archbishop Wood/Philadelphia PA)
Bethea got white hot in the second half of the semifinal game for the East squad, as he would score all 29 points in that half going unconscious from beyond the arc and connecting on six threes. Bethea would follow up his semifinal performance with a solid 16-point showing in the consolation game. Bethea has a smooth stroke on his perimeter shot, is a volume scorer that can light it up from the 3-point line, and has good body control on finishes around the basket. Bethea has nice handles and shifty moves to create off the dribble, makes good use of the wide crossover to get separation from his opponent, and has a soft touch on his floater over size in the paint.
2023 6’6 Mookie Cook (AZ Compass Prep/Phoenix AZ)-Oregon Commit
Cook, a top 15 player in the nation for the class of 2023, had some dazzling dunks along with connecting on tough shots to showcase his elite athleticism combined with perimeter skills, as he would go for 13 points in the semifinals and 15 points in the consolation game for the West. Cook has quality handles, the moves to create off the dribble, the strength to finish through and over traffic at the basket, and the lift on his perimeter jumper to knockdown shots over most defenders. Cook works well off the pick and roll, has the court awareness to know when to dive to the basket, and gets off the floor quickly to make himself available for countless dunks off the lob. Cook has great footwork and makes nice use of the pivot to get his shot off in tight windows, with accuracy from the 3-point line.
2023 6’4 Garwey Dual (Southern California Academy/CA)-Providence Commit
Dual had a monster showing in the championship game of the 3rd Annual Pangos Festival 4 to give the Midwest team the win and the trophy, going off for an event single-game scoring high of 33 points to follow up his 21-point performance in the semifinals. Gual showcased his elite 2-way skill set, as he was locking up perimeter players and creating countless turnovers that led to entertaining finishes in the open court. Gual makes nice use of the wide crossover to get his defender on his heels, long strides to get by his opponent, attacks downhill off the dribble, a crafty finisher at the basket, and is effective from the 3-point line. Gual has great footwork and active hands, with a lengthy wingspan to cause havoc on opposing guards.
2023 6’2 Jeremy Fears (Joilet/IL)-Michigan State Commit
Fears was the top lead guard at the event and displayed his ability to break down the defense and make great reads in tight windows to find open teammates throughout the Festival 4 event. Fears was the engine that powered the Midwest team to the championship win and was named Co-MVP of the event, along with Midwest teammate Flory Bidunga. Fears had 16 points and 10 assists in the team’s semifinal win and countless assists and steals in the championship game. Fears has a tight handle on the ball, keeps it on a string as he constantly surveys the floor, has a nice burst of speed to penetrate the defense and force it to collapse, and has the court vision and quality decision-making to find open teammates when attacking off the dribble. Fears has a smooth stroke from the perimeter, nice touch on his floater over size in the paint, and is efficient from beyond the arc. His ability to carve through the defense while keeping his dribble makes him one of the best pure point guards in the class of 2023.
2023 6’9 Drew Fielder (Southern California Academy/CA)
Fielder was the most prolific and versatile scoring big at the event, as he would average 25 points per game going for 26 points in the semifinals and 24 points in the championship game for the Midwest squad. Fielder was a major force on the glass as well, providing countless second chance opportunities on the offensive end and limiting the opponent to single possessions on the defensive end. Fielder has the footwork, the touch, and the moves to score the ball in the post, as he hammers down empathic dunks on a routine basis. Fielder has solid handles, moves to create off the dribble when operating on the perimeter, can space the floor from the 3-point line with accuracy, and has great touch on his mid-post shot. Offensively, Fielder can create his own offense on the block or from the wing, which makes him a difficult assignment for any defender.
2024 6’5 Dylan Harper (Don Bosco Prep/Ramsey NJ)
Harper was the most reliable and consistent scorer for the East team, as he would average 20 points per game going for 14 points in the semifinals and an outburst of 26 points in the consolation game. Harper showcased his ability to take and make shots with a high degree of difficulty and scored effectively from all 3-levels with good size and skill as a combination guard. Harper has a good handle on the ball, gets downhill off the dribble penetration, has the strength to finish through contact around the basket, and is a creative finisher over bigs in the post. Harper has shifty moves off the perimeter to generate separation from his defender, can stop on a dime and gets good lift on his jump shot, and is consistent from the 3-point line. Harper uses his quality footwork and moves to get into the defender’s body, spin-off to get space, and hit some difficult shots fading away or off one foot.
2024 6’4 Mercy Miller (Norte Dame/Sherman Oaks CA)-Houston Commit
Miller was electric scoring the ball at the Pangos Festival 4, as he would put up 31 points in the semifinals and 32 points in the championship game for the South squad. Miller was the overall leading scorer for the event, averaging 31.5 points per game and knocking down shots from all 3-levels with NBA range from deep. Miller has dynamic handles, good moves and shift to create off the dribble, great body control when attacking through traffic, and is a creative finisher around the basket. Miller is able to connect on difficult perimeter shots, can stop on a dime and pop from midrange, and is a legit scoring threat as soon as he crosses half-court. Miller rebounds well for a guard and looks to push the pace of play in transition where he is tough to contain.
2023 6’8 Sam Walters (Village Schools/The Village FL)-Alabama Commit
Walters displayed one of the more versatile skill sets of any player at the Festival 4, as he highlighted his ability to score in the post combined with the ability to knockdown threes with consistency. Walters had 14 points in the South’s semifinal win over the West team, and then backed that up with 18 points in the championship game loss to the Midwest team connecting on 7 threes over the two games. Walters is active on the boards, is a crafty finisher around the basket, has enough handle to push the pace of play off the defensive rebound, and the court vision to facilitate up the court to open teammates. Walters has the wingspan to alter shots around the basket and has a smooth stroke on his perimeter shot, where he stretches the defense with his ability to hit from beyond the arc. Walters leaves his imprint on the game on both ends in a variety of ways as a stretch forward.
2023 6’4 Tru Washington (AZ Compass Prep/Phoenix AZ)
Washington was one of the best pure scorers at the Pangos Festival 4, displaying his ability to take and make difficult shots from all 3-levels and the court vision to make plays when attacking off the perimeter. Washington had 26 points in the West’s semifinal loss to the South squad and took it up another gear in the consolation win over the East squad, as he would go for 32 points connecting on nine three-pointers over the two games. Washington has dynamic handles, the strength and body control to finish through traffic when attacking the basket, good change of speed with the ball to keep his defenders off balance, and scores in volumes from the perimeter. Washington gets nice lift on his midrange jumper and has limitless range from the 3-point line, as he was amongst the best perimeter scorers at the event, along with Mercy Miller.
661 Hoops’ Next 5 Performers:
2024 6’8 Carter Bryant (Sage Hill/Newport CA)
Bryant is an athletic and skilled wing/forward that has the court vision to make nice reads to open teammates, can space the floor from the 3-point line, controls the boards on both ends, and looks to push the pace of play off the defense rebounds where he is tough to defend. Bryant had a solid consolation game with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
2024 6’7 Pharoah Compton (AZ Compass Prep/Phoenix AZ)
Compton is a physically imposing presence in the post, dominates the boards, and is looking to throw down anything close to the rim. Compton had 24 points in the semifinals for the West, as 18 of his 24 points came off some thunderous dunks.
2023 6’3 Brooklyn Hicks (Timberline/Lacey WA)
Hicks had a great showing at the Festival 4 and was one of the top players at the event, but his name did not stand out as much as others due to the dynamic play of multiple players from the Midwest team that won the championship. Hicks is a dynamic shot maker, can score it from 3-levels, attacks the basket using his solid build and elite bounce to finish through traffic at or over the basket routinely. Hicks had 17 points in the semifinals and 14 points in the championship game.
2024 6’5 Robert Hinton (Hardvard-Westlake/Studio City CA)
Hinton was only able to attend the 2nd day of play but made the most of his showing in the championship game for the Midwest squad, as he finished with 19 points and had an emphatic poster dunk that had everyone out of their seats. Hinton is an effective 3-level scorer, has the handles to push the ball in transition, makes quality decisions with the ball in hand, and has the moves to create his own offense off the dribble.
2023 6’4 Wesley Yates (Beaumont United/Beaumont TX)
Yates has shifty moves, crafty handles to create off the perimeter, scores in volumes, and is capable of making difficult shots off the dribble. Yates had a huge second half in the semifinals and finished with 23 points for the South squad.