"We’re really excited to have Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs join the Golden Gopher basketball family,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “Our staff is looking forward to coaching them. I know they will make us better on the court but will also help our program excel in the classroom.
“Wally and Charles answered and fulfilled some of the requirements that we were looking for at the small forward and shooting guard positions so there is a lot of excitement around these two young men as they finish their high school careers. Both Wally and Charles are superior students as well and come from great families so it is a real privilege to have them join our team."
Buggs, a 6-8 forward from Arlington, Texas, is in his first season at Hargrave Military Academy after graduating from Martin High School in Arlington with a 3.7 grade point average. In 15 games last season at Martin, Buggs averaged 11.4 points per game. He went on to average an impressive 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this past July as a member of the Triumph White AAU team.
Ranked highly by ESPN and Rivals, Buggs chose the Gophers over offers from Arkansas, Charlotte, Clemson, Marquette, Santa Clara, Seton Hall & West Virginia.
“We needed some depth inside with the impending graduations of Ralph (Sampson III) and Trevor (Mbakwe) and Charles Buggs will give us that depth,” said Smith. “He’s a multi-faceted player that can play the swing position or power forward. He’s long and lanky, with a similar build to players we’ve had in the past, that can defend multiple positions. His coach at Hargrave Military Academy, A.W. Hamilton, has done a super job of helping Charles raise his level of play and develop more skills from a ball handling standpoint and his outside shooting.”
Ellenson, a 6-4 guard from Rice Lake, Wis., averaged 10.1 points per game as a freshman at Eau Claire Memorial before averaging 14.8 and 21.2 points during his sophomore and junior seasons, respectively, at Rice Lake. His 21.2 average last season was tops in the Big Rivers Conference.
Ranked as the 35th-best shooting guard in the country by ESPN, Ellenson tallied 10 games last season with 25 points or more, including a high of 40 in a loss to Roseville High School. An incredible leaper, Ellenson is the reigning Wisconsin Division 2 high jump Champion. He won the state title with a jump of 6-6, but previously broke the school record at the sectional meet with a jump of 6-11. He held multiple offers but ultimately chose the Gophers over Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Utah & West Virginia.
“Wally brings a work ethic, a competitive spirit and the athleticism that’s rare in a guy that has the complete package,” said Smith. “He can shoot with range, can put it on the floor, has incredible leaping ability but also excels on the defensive end. I really like his understanding of how to play the game. His parents and high school coach have done an unbelievable job of developing this young man.”