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PORTLAND, OR–At this point, Kyle Wiltjer, the Kentucky bound forward and one-third of the Canadian representation at the Nike Hoop Summit is well-known on both sides of the border.
The 6-9 hybrid forward has led Jesuit high school in back-back-back 6A State championships, dominated on the AAU circuit with his Drew Gooden Soldiers and capped a high school career with a McDonald’s All-American Selection, capturing the 3-point crown. Now he awaits the Jordan Brand Classic, and the Nike Hoop summit which will comence tomorrow.
On the other hand, Gonzaga Bullldog, Kevin Pangos is a relatively fresh name in the United States, despite a decorated high school career of his own. Unlike Wiltjer and most elite prospects in North America, Pangos is fairly new to the AAU scene as he received his first taste on the circuit just last summer.
However, unlike Kyle Wiltjer and most elite prospects in North America, Pangos has had more than his share of international competition in his young career, including experience with Canada’s senior National team at the juvenile age of 16.
In addition, Pangos was the leader and top performer of the Canadian U17 National team, a unit comprised of major prospects like Anthony Bennett (High Major), Negus Webster-Chan (Louisville), Andrew Wiggins (High-Major Phenom), Dyshawn Pierrre (High-Major), Oliver Hanlan (High-Major) and more.
This Canada team defeated Lithuania 83-81 to capture a bronze at the U17 World Championshps.
Pangos also led in Italy (along with Anthony Bennett) when his Hoop Factory Elite team became the first non-European team to win the prestigous Victor Rho Milan International Basketball in 2009.
Don’t forget his selection at last year’s Jordan Brand Classic where he scored nine points respectively at Madison Square Garden.
At present, Pangos is one day away from earning his stripes among the world’s elite once again. This time in front of a North American audience in Portland, Oregon at the Nike Hoop Summit.
Entering this event, several people questioned Pangos’ presence, as he was chosen over highly touted Myck Kabongo (Texas).
“It’s tough for Kevin Pangos, like Myck, he is a talented player. A lot of Americans don’t understand who Kevin is but He is a tremendous player who knows how to play and is very smart. A top quality point guard who will make an immediate impact in the college game,” explained Head Coach of Team Canada, Leo Rautins.
When asked if Pangos plays with a chip on his shoulder, he responded, “Honestly, that’s not my style, I don’t play to prove people wrong. I play the game I love, and I play best when I’m having fun, not to prove to anyone anything.”
A genuinely humble individual, Pangos also addressed the situation pertaining to Myck Kabongo’s absence at the Summit.
“I stay out of it as much as possible but they deserved to play in this game, both Myck Kabongo and Khem birch…it’s an honour to be selected.”
The truth is, at this point, Canada’s basketball talent is so immense, that Pangos is certainly not lesser of a replacement. At least not by far.
“If I get caught up in that too much, it may affect my game. I don’t play trying to exceed anyone’s expectations, just my own.”
The encouraging part of this statement is the fact that Pangos’ expectations of himself are extremely high, as he consistently looks for ways to improve his game. NOTE: Kevin Pangos practices Kung Fu to improve agility, balance and flexibility!
Moving forward to the game which will pin the world’s finest players against American elite, Kevin Pangos will once again have to prove to the world that he belongs.
Where the Americans will dominate in speed and athleticism, the world team will compete with size and shooting. Pangos is well aware of the talent that Team USA possesses and has matched up against eight of them in the past through international competition
“I think we match up pretty well, we’re bigger. They have some athletes but we have some athletes as well so we don’t slouch in that area. I think we may surprise people because I don’t think many people have us booking the W,” professed Pangos.
Canadian World Team Head Coach, Roy Rana will have his troops ready, and it looks like he will mix it up with his player personnel.
“We’re going to run and shoot the basketball because we have a lot of great shooters but not get caught up in too much running because that’s what they want,” said Pangos.
Tune into the 2011 NIKE HOOP SUMMIT on Saturday April 9 at 7 PM WATCH: http://tiny.cc/2u6io
NIKE HOOP SUMMIT WORLD TEAM
|Kyle Wiltjer||F||6’10”||221||1992||Canada||Jesuit HS (Portland, OR)|
|Dario Saric||F||6’9”||190||1994||Croatia||KK Dubrava Zagreb|
|Davis Bertans||F||6’7”||205||1992||Latvia||Union Olimpija Jr. Team|
|Mateusz Ponitka||G||6’5”||190||1993||Poland||AZS Politechnika|
|Kevin Pangos||G||6’1”||178||1993||Canada||Dr.Dennison HS (Ont)|
|Evan Fornier||G||6’6”||185||1992||France||Union Poitiers|
|Raul Togni Neto||G||6’2”||195||1992||Brazil||Pitagoras Minas Tenis Club|
|Lucas Riva Nogueira||C||7’0”||225||1992||Brazil||Estudiantes|
|Przemyslaw Karnowski||C||7’0”||269||1993||Poland||Sport School Cetniewo|
|Bismack Biyombo||F/C||6’9”||240||1992||Congo||Baloncesto Fuenlabrada|
NIKE HOOP SUMMIT AMERICAN TEAM
|Brad Beal||G||6’3”||180||06/28/93||Chaminade Prep / St.Louis,MO||*Florida|
|Rakeem Christmas||F||6’9”||225||12/01/91||New Church Academy / Philadelphia,MD||*Syracuse|
|Quinn Cook||G||6’1”||178||03/23/93||Oak Hill / Bowie,MD||*Duke|
|Anthony Davis||F||6’10”||220||03/11/93||Perspectives Charter / Chicago,IL||*Kentucky|
|Michael Gilchrist||F||6’7”||220||09/26/93||St.Patrick HS / Somerdale,NJ||*Kentucky|
|James McAdoo||F||6’8”||210||01/04/93||St.Patrick HS / Norfolk,VA||*No.Carolina|
|Austin Rivers||G||6’3”||175||08/01/92||WinterPark HS / WinterPark,FL||*Duke|
|Marquis Teague||G||6’2”||175||02/28/93||Pike HS / Indianapolis,IN||*Kentucky|
|Adonis Thomas||G||6’6”||205||03/25/93||Bishop Melrose HS / Cordova,TN||*Memphis|
|Tony Wroten||G||6’5”||206||04/13/93||Garfield HS / Seattle,WA||*Washington|