High expectations can at times be quite the load to bear.
Yet, when given such circumstances there are only two choices — either run away from it, or embrace it.
Well before its season tipped off, the Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team knew its collection of talent would get its share of attention.
Already a SCISA powerhouse, the Saints were fresh off a deep run in the Class 2A state tournament a season ago. Returning key pieces — among them sophomore wunderkind Michael Green — potential of a similar run was plausible.
Add senior transfers Bryce Schneider — a Richmond signee — and former Waccamaw all-state performer Justin Busby, and such assumptions of grandeur ramped up to a fever pitch.
Many a time, teams crumble under such expectations. Instead, these three opted to take it head-on, and despite a slow start to the season are now reaping a reward.
“Coming into the season, I knew our team would be pretty good because of the talent on our team,” Busby said. “But I didn’t want that to get to everyone because we have the potential to do something very special.”
And recently, the trio celebrated a rare feat, each of them now part of the “1,000-point Club.” Busby also has more than 500 assists in his distinguished prep career.
Add a SCISA Region III-2A regular season title to the mix, and things could not be going much better for the Saints.
“I’ve always dreamed of scoring 1,000 points and receiving a ball,” Busby said. “I’m happy to see the hard work pay off.”
Each player was recently recognized for their respective accomplishments. Oddly enough, each has their own story to go with it.
Playing with this team has taught me a lot about myself, in fact that I cannot always do it by myself. It has also taught me that to be a good team, you must have complete trust in your teammates and their abilities. But the main thing I have learned, is that to be a winning team, you can’t just care about your stat line. (Justin Busby and Bryce Schneider) really showed me that. All of our numbers dropped this season, as opposed to when we didn’t play together … and I don’t think any of us care about that.
Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach’s Michael Green
At Waccamaw, Busby was a scoring machine, keeping it in contention night in and night out. Schneider earned a varsity letter at three different high schools, having to learn a new system at each stop.
As for Green, it is his youth that makes the honor all the more special.
“Not everyone has a chance to hit this milestone,” he said. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity to hit 2,000 points before I graduate. It is also very humbling to know that I still have a long way to go.”
More importantly to each of them, however, is the concept of team and what can be accomplished when working as a unit. In fact, the trio leads their team in each major category — Busby in points per game (16.6), Schneider the most rebounds per contest (7.1) and Green’s nearly five assists a game serve as a team-high.
“From going to three different high schools, it was quite difficult but with new teammates that I couldn’t do it without helps,” Schneider said. “This year has been my favorite year of playing high school basketball. The coaches, players and everybody at Christian Academy have really just been great.”
Said Green: “Playing with this team has taught me a lot about myself, in fact that I cannot always do it by myself. It has also taught me that to be a good team, you must have complete trust in your teammates and their abilities.
“But the main thing I have learned, is that to be a winning team, you can’t just care about your stat line. (Busby and Schneider) really showed me that. All of our numbers dropped this season, as opposed to when we didn’t play together … and I don’t think any of us care about that.”
Since losing three straight in early December, the Saints have reeled off wins in 11 of their past 14 games. None of the team’s losses in the stretch have come by more than seven points.
As the calendar moves toward mid-February and the state tournament, the group hopes the cohesion built and momentum earned the past several weeks pays off.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year … but it’s not over yet,” Schneider said.
Said Busby: “I’ve really enjoyed playing with these new teammates and coaches. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the rest of the season turns out for us.”
Area basketball standouts who have earned 1,000 points or more during their prep career
Kiana Adderton, Myrtle Beach
Justin Busby, Christian Academy
Michael Green, Christian Academy
Tamara Jackson, Green Sea Floyds
Aquera Johnson, North Myrtle Beach
Duane Moss, Carolina Forest
Bryce Schneider, Christian Academy
Nia Sumpter, Myrtle Beach
Alexis Tomlin, Carolina Forest