Gophers sign Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs to National Letters of Intent

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Minnesota Men’s Basketball coach Tubby Smith added two members to his class of 2012 on National Signing Day.

Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs signed their National Letters of Intent with the Gophers on Wednesday.

Both players are versatile and will compete for spots the moment they step on campus next September.

According to the University of Minnesota Athletic Communication release:

“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.


Buggs, who is from Arlington, Texas, is a 6-8 forward with the ability to play both forward positions.

Per the University’s report:

“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, AW 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 Rice Lake, Wisconsin native, is a 6-4 guard who will also be able to play multiple positions.

On Ellenson, per the report:

“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.”

With the 2011-12 season tip off just two days away, Smith is already putting together a solid core as he moves forward and continues his daunting task of turing around the basketball program at Minnesota.

The Gophers will be in action on Friday night as Bucknell comes to town to begin the 2011-12 campaign. Game time is at 7 p.m.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank. He covers all things Minnesota sports. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier

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