NORWALK, Ca.—Think of the Pangos All-American Camp as the all-star weekend of high school grassroots basketball.
The annual national camp that runs the weekend after Memorial Day every summer isn't the ideal scenario for watching crisp basketball with complicated sets, but it does bring together a ton of 5-star talent in a lot of high-profile, head-to-head matchups.
This year's 14th annual camp was no different, as the roster was loaded with 5-star players that might soon be playing at the highest level, especially with changes in the NBA Draft rule that were implemented before the 2016 draft.
Now that players have the potential to enter the NBA Draft multiple times and either return to school or go pro, some prospects are are changing the way they look at things going forward. The new system gives a lot more freedom for players to go through interviews and workouts and get feedback from as many NBA teams as they can, while still allowing them the potential to return to school if they don't have an agent.
Bleacher Report spoke to many of the 5-star prospects in attendance at the Pangos All-American Camp this weekend to see if any schools were adapting their recruiting pitch to cater to the new draft rules.
While most players acknowledged that schools aren't bringing up the draft rule in the recruiting process, many players are aware of the current situation and the new freedom they might have.
"It wouldn't really hurt if you go there and have everything to gain and nothing to lose," 5-star shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. said of the new rule. "Going to those workouts, seeing what you can improve on and playing against other guys trying to make it there is a good thing."
Not all 5-star prospects will play in the NBA, but if they're labeled as such, they probably have a chance to make it to the league if they continue to develop. That means some high school players are already thinking ahead to how they might go about this new process.
"When I heard about it I was definitely surprised and kind of excited because I get a chance to see where I stand and see if I can make it. But I haven't really talked to any schools about it," 5-star guard Trevon Duval said.
"I love the rule. I will take advantage of it and see what I have to work on and probably come back if I don't (feel ready)."
Some players sitting on 5-star status are forming lists of schools based on how the program might view their future as a pro. The goal for players at the 5-star level is to play in the NBA, so the new rule, and how schools prepare for it, could eventually affect a commitment. Texas native and 5-star wing Jarred Vanderbilt has been in the top ten in his class for most of his high school career, and he told Bleacher Report that his eventual college decision could be based partly on his future pro decision.
"Most of the coaches, they understand that I'm a potential or possible one-and-done, so they're all recruiting me as kind of like one-and-dones," Vanderbilt said. "Some schools don't want you to go one-and-done and they want you there two or three years. Those aren't really the schools I'm looking at. The goal is to go to the NBA. If I have a great, outstanding year and I'm projected to be a top pick, I'm going to enter my name in the draft. That plays a big part [in recruiting]."
It's hard to say how the new NBA Draft rules might change recruiting for elite players, with so many factors yet to play out. We still don't know if the rule will work out for the 2016 NBA Draft entrants who were on the fence and did ultimately decide to go pro. There also could be a Buddy Hield type of scenario where a college player has a monster season and elevates their stock from a marginal prospect to one that is good enough for a guaranteed contract. With this new system in place, returning players receive more information than ever before and they might know what to work on to be a viable player at the NBA level.
Until this season plays out and we see how these decisions look after a year, college coaches might not have to alter their recruiting approach to potential one-and-done players because of all of those uncertainties.
But players are certainly aware of the changes and (at least for now) those changes are here to stay. Watching how this NBA Draft process changes elite recruiting will be a continuing development as all sides anxiously watch how things play out.
Hamidou Diallo Visits the White House
It was certainly a busy week for 5-star Class of 2017 shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, as he visited the White House the week before flying to California for Pangos.
Diallo was invited to the White House along with his New York Rens teammates on June 2 because of their "wear the orange" campaign that helps raise awareness for inner-city gun violence. The Rens have been wearing orange patches on their uniforms during this spring and drew national attention for their efforts.
Traveling with six players and two coaches, the Rens had a unique White House experience that included the rare opportunity to play ball on the White House court.
"It was great. It was something that I never really thought about [happening to me] and it happened," Diallo said.
"We took the train down from New York, got up there, had a nice lunch at the White House and we got to play some of the White House staff. We met the chief of the White House. We couldn't get to meet Obama because he had to leave the night before, but it was still a great experience."
Jay Jay Chandler Catches Fire
One of the camp's biggest surprises was the play of 4-star guard Jay Jay Chandler. While Chandler has been a known top-100 prospect for a while now, he hasn't been known as a guard who hits a lot of perimeter shots.
Playing in the Nike EYBL with Houston Hoops this spring, Chandler only knocked down nine three-pointers in 37 attempts over the course of 16 games. That made his Friday night flurry at Pangos camp something to watch.
Chandler went 8-for-10 from three-point range to open the camp, as his perimeter jumper looked much better than it did earlier in the spring. Chandler is shooting with confidence and consistency, and hoping to sustain his perimeter shooting and increase his percentages.
"Once I came out and I hit my first three I was like, 'I'm gonna keep shooting it because it felt good leaving my hand.' That's what I've been working on the most so I might as well come out to a camp and show that I can shoot the ball," Chandler said.
"Every day after school I work on 500 stationary shots and 500 off-the-dribble shots and then working with contact shooting and contested shots and stuff like that. That's what I've been working on the most."
Pangos camp can be prone to poor defense and no team defense aimed at stopping specific players, but if Chandler can keep shooting like this, then he could be in for a big summer.
Recruiting ratings via 247Sports.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and information were obtained firsthand.