Braxton Ogbueze Finds His Place Back Home

Posted by Alex Moscoso on December 20th, 2014

In this current era of college basketball, transfers have become as inevitable, and sometimes as commonplace, to teams as graduations. There are many reasons for a player to transfer, but one of the more prominent cause is a player’s lack of playing time at their current institution, leading them to transfer to a school of lesser prestige, but with more available minutes. Braxton Ogbueze fell into this category. The Charlotte-native transferred from Florida after his freshman year (the 2012-13 season) and found his way back home with Charlotte. In the first ten games, he’s been used primarily as a combo guard, starting every game and leading the team in scoring (13.2 PPG). On Saturday afternoon, the sophomore transfer helped the 49ers almost pull an upset at Georgetown — they instead ended up losing by three — and showed he can be the player head coach Alan Major can lean on to lead the program for the next three years.

Braxton Ogbueze transferred from Florida back to his hometown university, Charlotte, and has become a much needed scorer for the 49ers.

Braxton Ogbueze transferred from Florida back to his hometown university, Charlotte, and has become a much needed scorer for the 49ers (AP).

Coming out of high school, Ogbueze was considered one of the top point guard prospects in the nation and a Top 50 recruit overall. He committed to a resurgent Florida program that was coming off an Elite Eight appearance, and had talented roster set in place which made them poised for continued success. But all that seemed attractive of joining an elite program, like Florida, quickly soured with Ogbueze when playing time became sparse with no relief in sight, given the players in front of him like Scottie Wilbekin, Kasey Hill, and Eli Carter. So, he returned home. Ogbueze has provided an additional scoring punch to Major’s squad, scoring double digits in eight of his first eleven games (including two 20-point outings) as a 49er. He’s been especially deadly from deep, making 20 three-pointers already and shooting at a 40.8 percent clip.

Mid-major coaches accept transfers from major programs as a chance to enroll an elite prospect that wouldn’t otherwise have been available to them. Ogbueze certainly is that, and has put up some of biggest numbers against teams from elite conferences –26 points against Penn State and 27 points against George Washington. On Saturday, Charlotte needed him again as they faced what is likely their toughest opponent of the season thus far in the Hoyas. While the Charlotte native never seemed to get in a rhythm most of the game, he came up big at the end when he hit two big three pointers in a late run by the 49ers to pull it within two points (after trailing by fourteen points six minutes before). However, he also missed a three-pointer with under a minute left that would have given Charlotte the lead. The game served as a microcosm of what the 49ers’ have been, talented but falling just short. But as Ogbueze gets more experience with his upperclassmen-laden team, this squad has the potential to make noise in Conference USA this season, and the next two seasons with Ogbueze.

Alex Moscoso (170 Posts)

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