On a mission: Vanguard father and son see the world through basketball

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Photo - Vanguard's Seth Fuqua and his dad, Brent Fuqua, have a long history of basketball. Brent has traveled the world for Hoops for Hope and Seth has been playing the sport since he could barely walk. The two are pictured after practice Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Vanguard's Seth Fuqua and his dad, Brent Fuqua, have a long history of basketball. Brent has traveled the world for Hoops for Hope and Seth has been playing the sport since he could barely walk. The two are pictured after practice Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Seth Fuqua made an immediate impact as a freshman on the Vanguard School's boys' basketball team last season.

Because of basketball, he's been making different impacts around the world for some time.

The starting point guard for Vanguard, Fuqua led the state in scoring as a freshman in 3A, averaging 26.1 points. A large part of the passion Seth has for basketball stems from his dad, Brent.

In 1996, Brent started Hoops of Hope, an organization dedicated to bringing the gospel to others through basketball in various forms, including shows, camps, tournaments and exhibition games.

At 3 years old, Seth was in camps playing with kids two years older. Soon, he became a coach, helping his dad. They spent a lot of time in gyms.

"Instead of having to pay for daycare, he would just come with me," Brent said.

Part of Brent's exhibition is a Globetrotter-esque ball-handling show that ignites the imagination of the kids who attend. That flair helps open the door for the type of conversations Hoops of Hope wants to have about the gospel.

"If a Globetrotter player was to come off the court after the game, during halftime and wants to talk, it gets your interest," Brent said.

Some of the trips are to countries without basketball infrastructures - often taking place in the only good gym a town has or on an outdoor court with broken cement.

Brent has been to 15 countries and 35 states with Hoops of Hope, while Seth and his sister Jaden have helped with camps in Florida, New Mexico, California, Colorado and Mexico.

Their involvement has given both Seth and Jaden a bigger picture of the world, according to their dad.

"They saw a lot of kids in poverty. We don't see a lot of that in America, so it really opened their eyes to that," Brent said. "It's very easy just to focus in on our lives here, when there's really a whole big world out there that needs help."

Serving as a coach for the camps gave Seth a new perspective on basketball.

"Coaching the younger kids really makes you think what you can do to improve and how I can help make my team better," he said.

Another impact came in Seth's leadership, something he channeled last season.

Part of that, Seth said, is that lessons from basketball and the gospel coincide.

"The lessons that we learn from the Bible and from the gospel really helps me to connect with my guys and bring them up when we have hardships and love on them," Seth said. "No matter what, we're a team and we stick through this together."

As for the upcoming season, Seth is ready to take the next step after Vanguard just missed the playoffs last season.

"My goal for this year really is to see if we can get in and make some noise," Seth said.