Gophers junior center Mo Walker has received much of the local media attention for losing more than 45 pounds this summer.
But also impressive, and perhaps just as important, is redshirt freshman Charles Buggs’ weight gain.
As of July 16, Buggs said he weighed 214 pounds, up 24 pounds from the 190 he weighed in May.
“[This summer’s] been productive,” Buggs said with a smile after the team’s fifth summer practice July 16.
The 6-foot-9-inch forward said he’s been eating four to five meals a day. He’s spent the majority of his summer on campus, returning home for less than a week.
Gophers strength and conditioning coach Shaun Brown, who was hired in April, said players work out on a voluntary four-day schedule in the summer. Fridays are generally off-days, but Buggs uses them to put in extra work.
“I wish I could say it was something top-secret,” Brown said. “He’s done a great job taking it day-by-day and working at it a little bit at a time.”
Head coach Richard Pitino said Buggs has the most upside of anyone on the team. He said the forward does things in practice that show ”pro potential.”
Buggs’ length and athleticism figure to fit well into Pitino’s up-tempo system. The Arlington, Texas, native said he played a similar style in high school and likes running up and down the court.
Gophers fans saw glimpses of Buggs’ athleticism in pre-game warm-ups last season. He often put on a show for the crowd with flashy dunks.
“When he figures out how to play for me, he can be a very good player down the road,” Pitino said.
Buggs said he wants to get to the 220 to 225-pound range this summer. Brown said by the end of Buggs’ career, he could hold his weight in the high-230s to 240s.
“He’s a hell of an athlete,” Brown said. “There’s no restrictions with him on [his weight gain].”
Buggs said he can feel himself getting stronger every week and can see the weight gain occurring.
Brown said it’s important for the athletes to see early success in the weight room. He said Buggs feels good, which only “stokes the fire” for him to keep working.
“He’s been really tuned into it, and I think he sees this is scratching the surface,” he said, “so we’ll just keep our fingers crossed and hope he keeps progressing at this pace.”