There’s a high school basketball star at Charlotte Christian who has a baby face, who’s probably underrated among elite in-state recruits. He’s quiet by nature, but he can absolutely shoot the cover off the ball.
Yes, you’ve probably heard that narrative before about a Charlotte Christian star, and we’re not saying that Knights senior Seth Bennett is the next Stephen Curry, but there aren’t too many players in the area enjoying a better start to their season.
Bennett, a 6-foot-2 guard, is the leading scorer for a team that ranks No. 94 on MaxPreps national poll. He averages 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and four assists for the Knights (13-1). That’s a big jump from the 10 points Bennett averaged as a junior for a 23-9 state quarterfinalist.
Friday, Bennett had a team-high 15 points, four rebounds and four assists in Christian’s 60-44 Hoodie’s Classic semifinal win over Nazareth Regional (NY). Bennett and the Knights will play Long Island Lutheran in Saturday’s 7:45 p.m. national final at Rocky River High School. And Bennett, who suffered a pretty tough right ankle sprain in an opening round win Thursday, played most of Friday’s game after the nail ripped off his left big toe.
“Seth has definitely worked on his body and his shot has improved every year,” Christian coach Shonn Brown said. “He’s always brought a new dimension to his game when he comes back each year. He’s shooting well now. He’s stronger and getting to basket and he finishes better. He’s just a better all-around player. He doesn’t make very many mistakes. If you leave him open he’ll knock it down.”
Colleges are noticing.
Bennett said he received his first scholarship offer two months ago from Division II Belmont Abbey and has since added three Division I offers from Campbell, High Point and the Citadel. After watching some of his high-profile teammates like J.C. Tharrington (Appalachian State) and Paul Hudson (Dartmouth) become heavily recruited players, Bennett said he was waiting for his recruitment to kick in.
“I was a little anxious,” he said, “but when they finally came in, I was excited.”
Bennett’s father, also named Seth, is senior vice president of marketing, entertainment and social media with the Charlotte Hornets. And it’s not unusual to see Hornets brass at Charlotte Christian games. On Thursday, team president Fred Whitfield sat with the older Bennett and watched the Knights beat South Atlanta (Ga.) 80-65. Before hurting his ankle early in the third quarter, Bennett had 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“I’m kind of used to it now, because (Hornets staff) comes a lot,” the younger Bennett said, “but there is a little pressure to perform. But I’m happy to be a part of this team. I remember when I came in as a freshman and was just happy to be here and to cheer other people. And now I have a bigger role. I have to rebound more, lead people and be a senior leader.”
Brown said his senior guard is doing a great job in that role.
“He’s a super kid,” Brown said. “Academically, he’s really, really solid and he’s a kid I love to coach. He does whatever I ask him to do. If he hits seven 3s, he’s the same kid on a night when he has 12 points. He gives us everything he has. Whoever gets him (for college) is getting something really good, because he’s not flashy, but he has a high IQ for the game and he knows how to play, which a lot of kids don’t. He may not wow you with immediate athleticism, but with all the other things he can do that are intangible, he’s just special.”
Friday’s #BIG 5 Hoodie’s Performers
Andre Curbelo, Long Island Luthern (NY): Top 120 national recruit in the junior class is the No. 6 Puerto Rican prospect in his class. He had 17 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals in a 57-39 win over Holly Springs. Lutheran held Holly Springs’ 6-11 Virginia recruit Kadin Shedrick to two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Kameron Flynn, Luke Stankavage, Ardrey Kell: Flynn, a senior guard, made 11-of-17 shots in a 74-71 overtime win over Scanlan (N.Y.). He finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Stankavage, a junior point guard, had 20 points eight rebounds, five assists and two steals against Scanlan. He hit several key free throws and made 13-of-14 free throws overall.
Matt Mayers, Monsignor Scanlan (N.Y.): He made 12-of-16 shots against Ardrey Kell and had 35 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Mayers, a 6-foot-8 senior, has no Division I offers.
Jaden Seymour, Northside Christian: He had 22 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a 78-67 win over South Atlanta. Teammate Cortez Marion-Holmes added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
JC Tharrington, Charlotte Christian: senior guard, signed to Appalachian State, had 14 points, five assists and three steals against Nazareth. He only had one turnover despite being guarded by four different players and pressured full-court nearly the entire game.
▪ It’s surprising that Scanlan’s Myers doesn’t have any scholarship offers. He’s a tough, big skilled forward who is averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds at this event against elite competition.
▪ Really like a pair of freshman point guards here. Northside Christian’s Jalen Hood-Schifino, a thick 6-4 lead guard, went to USA Basketball Development Camp this summer and has offers from Virginia Tech, Florida and South Florida. At times, he plays more like a junior. He had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win against South Atlanta. ...Ardrey Kell’s Evan Smith, 6-3, was incredibly poised down the stretch of his team’s overtime win. He had 10 points and two rebounds. Along with Concord Cannon’s Jaden Bradley and Myers Park’s Jacob Newman, this may be the best group of freshman point guards in the area in decades.
Northside Christian 78, South Atlanta 67
Ardrey Kell 74, Monsignor Scanlan (N.Y.) 71 OT
Long Island Lutheran 57, Holly Springs 39
Charlotte Christian 60, Nazareth Regional (NY) 44
South Atlanta vs. Monsignor Scanlan (N.Y.), 7th place, 2:30
Northside Christian vs. Ardrey Kell, 5th place, 4:15 p.m.
Holly Springs vs. Nazareth (NY) Regional, 3rd place, 6 p.m.
Long Island Lutheran (NY) vs. Charlotte Christian, championship, 7:45 p.m.
Friday’s Box scores
ARDREY KELL 74, MONSIGNOR SCANLAN (NY) 71 OT
Scanlan 17 18 11 15 10 -- 71
Ardrey Kell 18 14 17 12 13 -- 74
SCANLAN 71 -- Joe Munden 11, Saunders 4, Brea 6, Dacosta 4, Matt Mayers 35, Tracey 9, Moheam 2
ARDREY KELL 74 -- Carver 9, Luke Stankavage 20, Sherrill 4, Jarett 3, Kameron Flynn 26, Evan Smith 10, Gray 2
NORTHSIDE CHRISTIAN 78, SOUTH ATLANTA (GA) 67
Northside 19 19 21 19 -- 78
South Atlanta 11 17 13 26 -- 67
NORTHSIDE 78 -- Jalen Hood-Schifino 14, Jaden Seymour 22, Cortez Marion-Holmes 13, Glynn Hubbard 12, Bynum 8, Underwood 1, Tucker 2, Jubert 2, Davidson 4
SOUTH ATLANTA 67 -- Demetrius Headspeth 14, Garner 5, Gary Davis 12, Ja’Quavian Florence 14, John Lawton 18, Banks 2, Lymon 2
LONG ISLAND LUTHERAN (NY) 57, HOLLY SPRINGS 39
Long Island Lutheran 8 15 18 16 -- 57
Holly Springs 14 7 11 7 -- 39
LONG ISLAND LUTHERAN 57 -- Tyler Stephenson 12, Andre Curbelo 17, Traore 2, Mostafa 8, Celestine 7, Zed Key 11
HOLLY SPRINGS 39 -- Marcus Elliott 16, Garrett Phillips 12, Willedson 1, Shedrick 2, Scott 4, Robinson 4
CHARLOTTE CHRISTIAN 60, NAZARETH REGIONAL (NY) 44
Nazareth 14 6 14 10 -- 44
Christian 17 11 16 16 -- 60
NAZARETH 44 -- Prescott 7, Morris 2, Murray 5, Khalil Brantley 10, Stevenson 4, Wells 9, Blount 7
CHRISTIAN 60 -- Edosomwan 4, Hudson 8, Seth Bennett 15, Peter Lash 12, JC Tharrington 14, Jones 5, Drees 2