With the 2015-16 season in the books in Chile, we catch up with Valparaiso University alum, Erik Buggs (Player Profle Page), about his third season playing overseas and his first season in Chile where Buggs finished with 14.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4 assists (ranked 9th in the league) and 2.1 steals per game (ranked 7th in the league), while shooting 52% from the field and 32% from 3-pt.
With the playoffs and season coming to an end in Chile, have you had time to look back and reflect on your season?
I would say overall I had a very good season. I set some career-highs in a few statistical areas, led my team to the playoffs, and gave the best team in Chile a good run while doing it. I think this may have been my best season so far in my young pro career. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back on the hardwood and continuing the success I have had from this season!
What are some areas where you feel you grew and developed this season?
I definitely feel like I grew a lot this season mainly in the area of rebounding and just experience overall. As I stated in my blogs earlier, a lot was required of the imports this year and that was something that was very different for me. Being asked to contribute in so many areas of the game was something I had to learn to get used to. As the season progressed I found myself flowing into everything a lot more naturally and it didn't require so much thinking as it did earlier on. This was also my first season as a professional making the postseason and it is always good to have that type of experience under your belt.
What did you learn the most about yourself during this season?
The most I learned about myself this season is, I'm not only just a scorer. Earlier in the year I attracted a lot of attention from the defense when I was posting big scoring numbers. I've always been a good scoring point guard but playing a lot in the off guard spot this season allowed me to see the floor in different ways. Shooting so well from the perimeter and not having the primary guard duties all the time allowed me to open up the floor for my teammates to have opportunities and also showed that I am a good rebounder as well.
What is harder – missing your friends and family when you are playing overseas or missing the competition of playing once you do get back home?
Wow, this is tough! I would say missing my family was really tough because there is nothing like spending time with them! The smiles on their faces are great over FaceTime and Skype but it is a completely different feeling being up close to them and experiencing their love up close. I am really happy to be back but the feeling of competition is definitely missed! After just a short time of being home I'm ready to get back out there and win more games. There is nothing like being at an away gym and lighting up the scoreboard to silence a crowd. That feeling is something that is burning within me every moment I'm away from the game.
What are your offseason training plans as you look ahead to next season?
As we know with playing internationally there is no telling how soon you can get a call to join a team who needs you so for me training is going to be about fine tuning things that I did well last season. Getting in the gym and getting up a lot of shots is a big thing for me. Also being in the weight room as much as possible is huge for me just to maintain the strength I have and depending on how long I'm back possibly increase it. Besides that, when I'm not training myself I have a host of younger players who look forward to having me back at home to help them train with Beyond Boundaries Basketball here in Memphis and work on their games.
You kept a running blog for Scorers 1st this season -- "Inside My Pro Basketball Life". How did chronicling your season and writing about your experiences impact you personally? What was that writing process like for you?
I definitely loved the Scorers 1st blogs I wrote this season. It helped me actually take the time to reflect on not only the moments on the court but the life experiences off the court that would probably have gone unnoticed. It was really a great experience and something I can actually go back and read and relive. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my journey with others and I can't thank Scorers 1st enough for extending the opportunity to share the experience with those who want to keep up with me and my journey.
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