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Christian Brown vs. Zion Williamson: AC Flora star moving up recruiting charts

Zion Williamson has the mantle of the top recruit in South Carolina for 2018, but Christian Brown showed he is capable of taking the baton when it’s his turn.

Brown, a rising junior at A.C. Flora, faced off against Williamson on Thursday on the second day of the Adidas Gauntlet at Upward Stars Center.

Williamson delivered in the stat sheet with a 32-point, 13-rebound effort for S.C. Supreme and a monster, jaw-dropping two-handed block on Josh Nickelberry. But Brown’s talented GameElite 2019 squad had little trouble winning their second game of the tournament, 73-57.

Brown finished with 15 points and four rebounds and had share of turns in guarding the 6-foot-8 Williamson. He showed his toughness against the Spartanburg Day senior when he attempted to take a charge from Williamson barreling through the lane.

The referees called a block on Brown, but the call could have gone either way.

“The refs made a call. I guess, being his city, he had homecourt advantage,” Brown joked. “That was the first time me guarding him. There was trash-talking a little bit. The fans got into it. It was a great game.”

Brown doesn’t have the national appeal yet of Williamson, who has been featured on magazine covers and on ESPN SportsCenter’s top plays, but he is getting there. He has a semi-regular blog for USA Today.

College coaches and recruiting services have taken notice. He moved up to No. 11 in Rivals’ Class of 2019 rankings and is ranked 14th by ESPN.

Brown has more than 20 offers, and Gamecocks coach Frank Martin, Clemson’s Brad Brownell, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Auburn’s Bruce Pearl and Kentucky assistant Joel Justus attended Thursday’s game.

“I’m just doing what I am doing. The same way I got here, I could always go back down. I’ve just got to get better,” Brown said.

Brown said he has been working on his 3-point shot this summer and playing more under control out there, something with which his AAU coach agrees.

“His strength is his athleticism,” GameElite coach Christopher Williams said. “If we can get him to do the same things on both ends of the court, he will continue to be top 10 or 15 kid in country until he graduates.”

Brown has played a role in A.C. Flora’s success in his first two seasons. He was a member of the Falcons’ 2016 state championship team as a freshman. This year, he averaged 16.3 points and 7.1 rebounds a game and was an All-State selection.

There are rumblings that Brown will leave Flora and head to region foe and defending Class 4A champion Lower Richland. A source told The State the move might come later this month.

“Still don’t know to this day. Everyone keeps asking me. It’s up to my mother. She is the one making the decision,” Brown said. “I’m just enjoying the ride.”

Brown isn’t in a rush to make a decision on where to play college ball. He said he probably will do it sometime during his senior year.

Brown is hearing a lot from South Carolina. He also made an unofficial visit to Auburn this summer and attended Kentucky’s Blue Madness last year.

“South Carolina, they are my home team and home school, right in my backyard,” Brown said. “We talk a couple times a week. The coaches, the staff, the players are great. I talked to PJ Dozier and Sindarius (Thornwell) before they went to summer league. They always are giving advice.

“I’m just looking for the right campus, right academics and the right fit.”

By Lou Bezkaj The State

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