A difficult offseason for the Wheaton Academy boys basketball program just grew all the rockier.
Senior guard Josh Ruggles – one of the country's most highly regarded high school 3-point shooters – announced Monday he will transfer from Wheaton Academy to Wheaton Warrenville South. His younger brother, sophomore guard Jake Ruggles, also will transfer to Wheaton South.
"It's just something we felt we had to do," Josh Ruggles said. "It's not really a basketball decision. We just weren't really happy there, and with it being a private school and having to pay to go there, it just wasn't worth it anymore for us."
The move comes after another set of basketball-playing brothers – 6-foot-10 senior Chandler Fuzak and 6-7 junior Bennett Fuzak – decided earlier this summer to transfer from Wheaton Academy to Geneva.
Dave Ruggles, the boys' father, said changing personnel at the school made Wheaton Academy a lesser fit for the family than it had been previously. From a basketball standpoint, Josh Ruggles acknowledged some of his former Wheaton Academy teammates moving on – either via graduation or transfer – plus the presence of several friends at Wheaton Warrenville South helped open his mind to the move.
Additionally, Mike Healy – who coached the boys' older brother, Brandon, at Wheaton Warrenville South before Brandon Ruggles transferred to Wheaton Academy – is back as the Tigers' basketball coach after stepping away for three years to focus on athletic director duties.
"When he came back into the position this past year, honestly, if he hadn't left the coaching spot, we probably never would have looked that hard for other options for Josh, and Brandon certainly would have finished [at Wheaton Warrenville South]," Dave Ruggles said. "It's a situation where we were not going to [make the move] because he's there but it was certainly a feather in the cap of that option."
Josh Ruggles played with Wheaton Academy's summer team and was transitioning from shooting guard to point guard. The 6-2 senior said he's open to playing either spot wherever he ends up playing in college and simply wants to help Wheaton South however he can.
The state's 2013 King of the Hill 3-point champion, Josh Ruggles made international waves last year by winning a 3-point contest against professional players in Spain, and he's been invited back to defend his title this fall.
"It's really hard to say no," Josh Ruggles said. "Even if I lost, they can't take away the win from last year. We're not officially a 'yes' or 'no.' I'm not really thinking about that as much now."
Josh Ruggles praised Wheaton Academy coach Pete Froedden for handling the news with class Monday and said he wishes Froedden and the Warriors success going forward. Those well-wishes were passed on through an extremely hoarse voice.
"I'd like to say it's from great communication on defense this past weekend [during AAU play] but I have no idea why it's going away," Josh Ruggles said. "It's just gone."