Schwab: Wheaton Academy's Ruggles’ shooting exploits continue to astound
It was just another day at the office – or, more accurately, in the basement – when Wheaton Academy shooting sensation Josh Ruggles canned 44 straight 3-point shots during a workout earlier this summer.
When Ruggles’ big brother, Brandon, learned of the feat, he suggested Ruggles challenge the shooting record by University of Michigan sniper Nik Stauskas, who once drained 102 3-pointers during a 5 minute shooting drill.
Ruggles, the reigning IHSA King of the Hill 3-point shooting champion, gave it a whirl, and made 87 during a five-minute period.
“Then we watched the video and realized [Stauskas] was using two basketballs,” Ruggles said, meaning he had a rebounder who could quickly feed him the next ball immediately after hoisting a shot.
“After that, I had already taken like 600 shots that day, so I had to wait till the next day to do it, but I shot with two basketballs, and I beat him.”
The Ruggles family posted a video to YouTube on Friday of the junior guard connecting on 111 3-pointers in 5 minutes, with Brandon Ruggles serving as his brother’s rebounder in the basement court of the family’s Wheaton home.
The family touted the 5-minute output as a world record for a men’s basketball player, but just days later, a new, Division I college basketball player entered the fray. St. John’s wing Max Hooper this summer drained 121 3-pointers in 5 minutes, and let the Ruggles family know via social media that there is a new shooting champion ruling the roost.
“That’s the best reaction I can get, seeing his reaction, because that pushes me more,” Ruggles said.
Ruggles made his 111 3-pointers from the right wing in 148 attempts (75 percent), and has connected for even more astonishing percentages when uncorking sets of 50 3-pointers as part of the Warriors’ summer workouts.
“Coach [Pete] Froedden has us doing shooting workouts on our own where we have to do sets of 50 3-pointers, and that’s my biggest goal, to try and hit all 50 out of that,” Ruggles said. “I’ve gotten close a couple times. I’ve gotten 47 like five different times. That’s not close enough, though.”
When Ruggles won the IHSA Class 3A 3-point shootout in March, he made 26 of 30 3-point shots at Peoria’s Carver Arena. He then hit 11 of 15 3-pointers in the King of the Hill round against other class champions the next day, ultimately winning the statewide title in a shootout.
Ruggles said the King of the Hill title remains more meaningful than his recent 5-minute bonanza.
“The record, I represented Josh Ruggles, and King of the Hill, I represented Wheaton Academy,” Ruggles said. “That’s really important to me.”
Ruggles recently concluded a summer of AAU basketball with his Mercury Elite squad that includes Geneva standouts Nate Navigato and Chris Parrilli.
“It really helps when you have a player like Nate Navigato or Chris Parrilli, one of those guys bring it down the floor because either of them sees the floor really well,” Ruggles said. “For example, when Nate’s bringing it down the floor, he’s 6-7 and he draws a lot of attention, so it definitely helps me play better when I have guys like that looking for me.”
Ruggles routinely hoists about 3,000 jumpers a week, but it’s a much smaller number – 147 – that is his focal point for the coming months. That’s the 6-foot combo guard’s weight, which, for the time being, is an impediment to his goals of playing high-level college hoops.
“That toughness aspect is what colleges are looking for a lot of,” Ruggles said. “Most of the feedback I get is I can really shoot the ball but I’m just not big enough yet. The biggest goal of mine in the offseason is to come back this season a lot stronger than I am now because if I want to play at the next level, I have to change my body and get a lot stronger.”
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.