The Minnesota Golden Gophers will have two scholarships to fill next season, assuming nobody leaves early for the NBA Draft, as Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III will both be playing their final seasons in Williams Arena. Tubby Smith and his assistants had their work cut out in replacing them for the 2012 recruiting class, but the Gophers head coach seems to think quite high of Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs according to the release sent out Wednesday.
Buggs decided on Tuesday that he wants to play his college ball in Minnesota as he plays his post-grad basketball at Hargrave Military Academy. The three-star recruit also had an offer from Arkansas, but the power forward committed to playing with the Gophers.
"We needed some depth inside with the impending graduations of Ralph (Sampson III) and Trevor (Mbakwe) and Charles Buggs will give us that depth," Gophers head coach Tubby Smith said in a release. "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."
As far as Ellenson is concerned, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard -- ranked 35th in his class -- is apparently the complete package.
"Wally brings a work ethic, a competitive spirit and the athleticism that's rare in a guy that has the complete package," Smith said in the release. "He can shoot with range, can put it on the floor, has incredible leaping ability but also excels on the defensive end."
These two players certainly won't have an easy task in replacing their predecessors, but at least there remains reason to be optimistic that they might have that ability.