During the course of the offseason, Scorers 1st members look back on their pro season overseas and look ahead to their summer approach to growing their game, while offering some advice to rookies along the way...
This week, we shine a spotlight on one of Scorers 1st newest additions, Erik Buggs. The former Valparaiso University standout point guard and Horizon League Tournament MVP (2013), spent the 2014-15 season with Massagno in Switzerland, where Buggs ranked among the league leaders in both assists (ranked 2nd, 5.4 assists per game) and steals (ranked 5th, 1.5 steals per game).
For those not familiar with your game, can you give us the scouting report on Erik Buggs?
For those who aren’t familiar with my game I would say that I am a pure point guard. I pride myself on having a strong basketball IQ and making sound decisions to help my team be successful. I am extremely fast and athletic. Passing is something I excel at. I aim to get my teammates involved as much as possible. I shoot the ball well from three and finish very well around the basket. Transition basketball is my speciality. I love to get stops on defense and get out in transition and make plays. I would just say that I am a winner and wherever I am I try to bring that winning attitude to those around me.
Making the transition from Valparaiso to playing professionally, what are you most proud of during your first year playing overseas?
One thing I am most proud of while making that transition from Valparaiso into the professional ranks is ranking in the Top 3 in assist during my playing in Massagno. I am a pure point guard so that personally just shows me that I am doing the right thing on the court and working hard to get my teammates involved. Two seasons in a row I played with one of the top scorers in the league, I like to think that I had a hand in helping their scoring average. Everyone loves a point guard who gets them the ball where they are most comfortable to score and that is something I take pride in.
What did you learn the most about yourself as a person/player through that experience this season?
I learned patience. This season helped me mature as a player and a person. We had a very, very young team in Massagno with me as a second-year player being the veteran on the team. At the beginning of the season things did not go our way on the court and while a lot of players would get frustrated and let it affect their play, I let it fuel my drive to win and continue to better myself as a player. We ended up finishing the promotion/relegation round in first place and it went a long way for our young guys in Massagno’s confidence for next year.
What is your focus and approach to getting better this offseason?
My focus and approach for next season as far as training is concerned is just continuing to expand my game in areas where a guard wouldn’t normally grow in. I workout 3 times a day and 6 times a week during the offseason. I have a hard workout early in the morning, I lift in the afternoon, and get up 500-1000 shots in the evening and play if their is a good run going. During my weights I want to increase my flexibility and strengthen the areas in my body where I’m the weakest. Plyometrics and yoga has been incorporated into my weekly workout. The main key in playing professionally overseas is to maintain your health.
If you could share any words of wisdom for guys making the jump from college to playing professionally what would it be?
I would say don't get discouraged. I know my first job out of Valparaiso took me a while to finally get overseas. All my friends went over before I did and I continued to work hard and wait my turn. Soon months began to pass and I was beginning to think maybe I would never get a chance to show my hard work. Then one day I finally got the opportunity and I showed what I could do given the opportunity. The best advice I could give anyone looking to play at the professional level from college is just to stay patience and work hard to be ready for when the opportunity comes.
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