Holiday Invitational

Muggsy Bogues coaching United Faith in Holiday Invitational

Posted December 27, 2011

United Faith Christian Academy might be making its third straight appearance in the Holiday Invitational this week, but the Falcons are arriving with a new head coach with a familiar name.

Former NBA and Wake Forest star Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues – the most beloved and popular player in Charlotte Hornets history – took over the reins of the Falcons before the season began. He’s no stranger to the program, though, as he worked with the team for several years as a volunteer coach.

“I’m trying to share my knowledge and experience with the team,” Bogues said of his coaching philosophy. “I believe in fundamentals; a lot of kids watch highlights and think that’s the way to play the game. You can’t get away from the fundamentals.”

United Faith won a Holiday Invitational title two years ago in its debut but lost in the championship game last year. Their new coach expects them to return to the title this week, though.

“Wherever we go, we go to win,” Bogues said. “That is especially true for this tournament. We’re as good as we want to be. … The sky is the limit for these kids.”

There are some big names on this year’s United Faith roster – but no players bigger than Peter Jurkin, a 7-foot, 215-pound center who has signed with Indiana. Bogues has been working with Jurkin for the past three years and has helped the Jurkin develop a jump shot that extends to 18 feet.

“To see his development has really been a blessing,” Bogues said of Jurkin, who is making his third straight appearance in the Holiday Invitational for United Faith. “When you see a kid who is hungry for the game and wants it as badly as he does, it makes it that much sweeter to see him be successful.”

What Bogues relishes the most, though, is the increase in Jurkin’s confidence.

“He’s gotten really confident in his post moves and he’s more readily recognizing how the defense is playing him,” Bogues said. “Defense and his ability to block shots will always be his greatest asset.”

Another familiar United Faith name to Holiday Invitational fans is Braxton Ogbueze, a 6-foot point guard ranked No. 35 overall by ESPN in the Class of 2012. Ogbueze has already signed to play at Florida and draws raves from his coach – who was one of the best point guards of his time in the ACC and NBA.

“He reminds me of Tim Hardaway,” Bogues said of Ogbueze, who was named as an all-tournament pick in the Holiday Invitational last year. “He has a great knack with the basketball, but he’s also a great scorer. What I’m working with him is how to be a point guard who makes the players around him better.”

Another Falcon that has impressed Bogues in the early portion of the 2011-12 season is 6-foot-4 senior guard Zach Davis.

“He’s never had the opportunities to shine the way he has this year,” Bogues said of Davis. “He’s become our best defensive stopper.”

Bogues said to look out for include 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Nehemiah Mabson and 5-foot-9 junior guard Jarrett Vaughn. The team also features a trio of eighth-graders – 6-foot-5 V.J. King, 6-foot Tahmir Gadsden and 5-10 Jansen Floyd – who Bogues said will be exceptional players in the future.


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