Beach Ball Classic

Myrtle Beach hoops standout nears milestone while piling up points, college interest

Myrtle Beach Christian Academy’s Michael Green looks to pass as the Saints take on Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) Wednesday during the Beach Ball Classic at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Myrtle Beach Christian Academy’s Michael Green looks to pass as the Saints take on Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) Wednesday during the Beach Ball Classic at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. jbell@thesunnews.com

The legend of Michael Green has been building for what seems like a decade, as the hooper has been filling up stat sheets in Myrtle Beach for years and continues to do so in the Beach Ball Classic this week.

The senior guard for Myrtle Beach Christian Academy has been mentioned among the best basketball talent on the Grand Strand going back to his days in middle school and is closing in on a rare feat for a high school player – 2,000 career points, which shows his consistency on the hardwood throughout his career.

“A lot of hours in the gym, a lot of 6 a.m.’s and 11 p.m.’s shooting countless shots,” Green said after his team’s opening game in the Beach Ball Classic on Wednesday. “A lot of form shooting and finding my spots on the floor, just a lot of hard work. In the offseason I’m shooting before school, after school, and then working on my skills.

“I try to get up 300 shots, between midrange and 3-pointers and then 50 free throws at the end. I practice anything that could come in a game, pick-and-rolls, coming off screens, curls and all of that.”

While visualizing what may happen on the court helps Green feel more comfortable in games, his work with his coach, Colin Stevens, has been beneficial as well.

Stevens, a former Coastal Carolina University basketball player, has worked to train Grand Strand area basketball players and has had Green among his pupils for years.

“I’d put him up with any shooter out here, he can absolutely stroke it,” Stevens said. “He’s got a really good handle and he’s crafty with the ball in his hands. On the court, he maximizes what God has given him. He’s a super talented player and he loves the game so much.”

Working at Stevens’ F2 Basketball, Green has worked to get better at the subtleties of the game, from when to make a pass to a streaking teammate to how to best defend the strength of an opposing player.

“I’ve worked really hard on my defense; that was a major weakness for me as a young player. I wasn’t able to stay in front of guys on the perimeter, but now I think I can guard anybody in the country,” Green said. “That’s one of the biggest things and working on my body. I’ve always had the offensive skills, but over the past year I’ve really focused on lifting and getting stronger to be able to do more on the floor.”

With an offensive game that allows Green to drop 25 to 30 points a night with ease, Green has found ways to keep the pressure on the defense, while picking his spots to explode for scoring outbursts.

“I know the defense is going to focus on me, so I do my best to find my teammates and get them some open shots early on,” he said. “The more shots they can knock down, the more the defense will have to sag off me and we can play a more balanced offense. At the same time, there’s a fine line between getting everyone involved and shooting a good shot for myself. Sometimes I’ve got to take the scoring load for my team.”

With just seven points remaining to hit the 2,000 career points mark, Green isn’t planning to do anything special to reach it – he’ll just continue to play his game and let the milestone come within the flow of the game. His coach says that’s one of his biggest strengths at this point of his basketball development.

“He’s actually more than just a scorer, but he does score the ball really well. He’s an all-around playmaker and has so much poise,” Stevens said. “His maturity as a player is a huge asset in his game now. He knows when to take shots, when to pass them up, when to hit a teammate, how to defend without fouling, all of that is critical to what we do on the floor.

“He’s done awesome things for this program, especially for a young program looking to make its mark on this area. I’m so proud of him and all of the hard work he’s put in to get to this point.”

At the Beach Ball Classic, Green put up 30 points on Wednesday in a loss to Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) and 20 more on Thursday in a loss to Florence (Miss.). He’ll surely surpass 2,000 in his team’s final game of the 2018 Beach Ball against Socastee at 10:15 a.m. Saturday.

He has also surpassed 500 rebounds and is nine assists away from notching No. 500.

While he’s on the doorstep of a big milestone, the senior has his eyes on piling up wins and landing a big time college offer.

He has offers from Charlotte and USC Upstate, and has interest from South Carolina, Loyola Chicago, Columbia, Rice, Dartmouth and Maryland-Baltimore County.

“I want to play in college, but I’m not sure where I’m going yet,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of different looks and I’m talking to a few schools, but I’m going to wait it out until the late signing period and see what comes. (At the next level) I can play either (point guard) or (shooting guard). If you play me as a one, you’ll get a scoring and assist guy, I like to make plays for my guys, and everybody knows I can shoot as a two-guard – wherever I can help my team and make the best impact.”

For now, Green’s impact is best felt lighting up the scoreboard for the Saints every time they hit the floor.

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