The second day of Phenom’s Tip-Off Classic carried on with an underrated matchup between Rabun Gap and Charlotte Christian. After opening the game with a 13-3 run, Charlotte Christian maintained their steady approach and ended the first quarter with a 18-11 lead. The following quarter only led to more of the same, as 6’4 ’23 Bryce Cash was the best player on the floor and was a major catalyst in mounting their lead. That being said, it was the combined efforts from the rest of their short-handed group, which allowed Charlotte Christian to walk into halftime with a 39-20 advantage. 6’6 ’21 David Lash also stood out with his scoring, blue-collar approach, and overall toughness within the paint. However, it became a tale of two halves with Rabun Gap’s complete turnaround after the break. They began applying defensive pressure, forcing turnovers, and effectively sharing the ball on offense. 6’8 ’21 Nate Brafford, in addition to their extremely balanced effort, allowed Rabun Gap to cut it to a 50-41 deficit entering the fourth quarter. The final period was still extremely competitive and within two to three possessions, but ultimately resulted in a victory for Charlotte Christian over Rabun Gap by a score of 72-65.
6’4 ’23 Bryce Cash (Charlotte Christian)
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed this Charlotte Christian group, but Cash shined as the leader and best player on the floor for either team. After being bigger and stronger than most as a young player, Cash has developed his body extremely well and now showcases a complete identity on both ends of the floor. He’s very intelligent and it’s evident in the patient, sophisticated way he breaks down opposing defenses and consistently applies pressure as a scorer or playmaker. Cash is great at getting downhill and making decisive reads, but also finishes well with both hands and knocks down jumpers at a reliable rate. It’s still early, but Division I coaches would be wise to monitor the young guard.
5’11 ’21 Skylar Busby (Charlotte Christian)
Though his role is slightly different from his summer with CC Elite, Busby is still an incredibly valuable piece for this Charlotte Christian group. His identity and overall approach haven’t wavered, as he still plays with a high motor and looks to wreak havoc defensively. Busby is great in transition and makes his scoring presence felt through cutting and knocking down perimeter jumpers on spot-up opportunities. He’s a heady defender with quickness, IQ, and a team-first mentality.
6’8 ’22 Nate Brafford (Rabun Gap)
Despite their struggles as a team, Brafford has still stood out as a leader and quality two-way performer. He naturally causes matchup problems with his size, skill, and sheer versatility, and actively looks to exploit mismatches as an offensive weapon. Brafford is smart, attacks regularly, and shows the willingness to access the best shot possible—whether resulting in a shot attempt or timely kick-out pass. He handles the ball and passes very well for his size, but rarely forces the action and consistently operates within the framework of the team. Brafford is also a reliable shooting threat. He simply does everything for this group and should appeal to a variety of college coaches.
6’0 ’21 N’Fari Benjamin (Rabun Gap)
With so many guys receiving attention for their scoring totals, Benjamin brings a very refreshing presence to this group. He’s a tough, quick guard prospect with solid offensive abilities as a cutter and penetrator. Benjamin is also a capable perimeter shooter. However, he’s arguably the most valuable as an on-ball defender at the point of attack. He forces turnovers at a reliable rate, plays extremely hard in transition, and fills in the gaps very well on both ends of the floor.