The prestigious Pangos All-American Camp, an invite-only event featuring the top high school prospects in the nation, returned this summer after it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year. Pro Insight was on hand to evaluate the event and caught up with Dereck Lively II of Westtown School (PA) and Team Final (PA). Lively was selected to the Top-30 Cream of the Crop Game and averaged 10.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, & 1.5 blocks while showcasing his elite physical tools and interior presence.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Lively talked about his background, his style of play, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Dereck Lively II, from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania:
Pro Insight: What are your initial impressions of the event?
Dereck Lively II: My initial impressions are good. It’s fun. You get to play against the top players in your class so you get to measure yourself up against everybody and see how everyone has changed over the years. For me at least, I like to just work on the things I’ve been working on and try them out against the other top kids in my class. So it’s been pretty fun to be here.
PI: How have you measured up against some of the other top bigs in attendance?
DL: I think I’m doing pretty good holding my own. I wouldn’t say no big is giving me extreme troubles, but bigs are bigs so they’re going to score of course. They’re going to get their dunks in, so I just have to get mine in.
PI: Talk about your background.
DL: I come from Bellefonte, PA l, and I ended up moving down to Westtown for my high school years. I’ve been playing with Westtown and Team Final AAU since seventh grade so I’ve really just been building my game around the Philadelphia area.
PI: What are your current measurements?
DL: I’m 7’2” and 225 pounds with a 7’7-8” wingspan.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
DL: My mom went to Penn State between 88-92 I believe and they were ranked number-one in the nation and she scored over 1,000 points. She’s been my inspiration and role model throughout the whole thing with basketball. She’s someone I turn to for guidance throughout this whole process.
PI: Where do you get your height from?
DL: My mom’s 6’4”, my dad was 6’7” and my mom’s dad was 6’9” so I had no choice.
PI: Any tall siblings?
DL: I’m an only child. It’s really only me and my mom. My dad unfortunately passed away when I was younger so it’s just been me and her throughout this whole experience.
PI: Describe your game — what are your strengths?
DL: I can catch lobs, get rebounds, offensive rebounds of course…I can set screens. But I’m not a typical big man, I can step outside to the three-point line, get up jump shots, put the ball on the floor and bring the ball up the floor if needed. I’m more of a versatile big than people think.
PI: Where does that coordination come from? Did you start out as a guard and grow?
DL: I’ve really always been tall for my age, being the tallest person around. I would say I’ve gotten most of my coordination through swimming when I was younger, so I know how to control my body and all of that. But I’ve got to say the conditioning and footwork has helped me throughout this whole thing.
PI: What are some improvement areas?
DL: I’m really looking to improve my handling, be more consistent on my jump shooting, my foul shots could use more work, and post moves. That’s what I’ve mainly been working on.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
DL: I’m a very good passer, I’m a high IQ player, I’m very good at blocking shots, and altering the game any time I’m in.
PI: What’s the current update with your recruitment?
DL: I’m pretty much getting sought after by every college. The top schools for me have been Duke, Kentucky, UNC, Michigan, FSU, USC, Virginia, and many other schools.
PI: What are their recruitment pitches to you?
DL: When it comes to Duke and UNC, since both of the coaching legends have left, both of the staffs are saying just because they left it doesn’t mean that the whole program is going to go down. They’re going to keep the program strong and try to build off of it with me. When it comes to other schools like Michigan, I would be working with Juwan Howard himself and throughout my training. With USC, they would have me playing more like Evan Mobley and just being out on the three-point line and being more versatile. So those are just some of the schools.
PI: What are you looking for in a school of choice?
DL: I’m mainly looking for a school that will let me show what I can do. I don’t want to be just a big that catches lobs, sits in the paint, screening and diving to the middle. I want to be a big that can come off a screen, pass the ball, have a jump shot off the dribble, all that stuff.
PI: What are your thoughts on professional options?
DL: It’s definitely something I’m open to, but it’s just going to take a while for me to figure out if I’m going to take the college route or the G-League/Overtime route. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, so I still have time.
PI: What are your off-court interests?
DL: I mainly like to spend time with my friends whenever I am off the court, which is rare. I am mainly in the gym lifting or really just relaxing trying to take the time off because I’m always doing something.
PI: If you weren’t to pursue a career in basketball, what would you look to do?
DL: I would probably do something in business, like keeping track of money and stocks. Or I would do something within the science world where I could help people out, like being a doctor or something.
PI: If you had four words to describe yourself what would those four words be?
DL: Lively. Energetic. Fun. Easy-going.
PI: How would you compare your on-court vs. off-court personality?
DL: Off-court personality I like to goof off, joke around, and have fun with everyone around me. Whenever it’s time to get on the court all the fun comes off, you’ve got to focus and be ready to kill anyone in front of you.
PI: How would you rate yourself on 2K?
DL: Right now I would put myself in the low 80’s. Got to give me some time so I can get up to the 90’s, of course.
PI: At the end of the day what do you want to be remembered for?
DL: I really just want to be remembered for my basketball ability and character on and off the court. Just because I’m a good player on the court, it doesn’t mean I can be a bad person off the court. I want to be able to do interviews, go to live shows, and put my name out there so the world can know me.