Tuggles Nearing Milestone
February 5, 2013
By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
Every athlete, regardless of sport, wants to win as often as possible, but for Keuka College men’s basketball standout Teddy Tuggles (Rochester, NY/Gates Chili), his four years as a member of the Storm have been filled with more losses than wins.
Tuggles, a playmaker who has excelled as both a point and shooting guard, is nearing a rare milestone in school history, as he sits just five points shy of becoming the 10th student-athlete in school history to eclipse 1,000 points for his career.
And while the losses have taken a toll on Tuggles, a childhood education major with a 3.1 grade-point average, he has kept his focus and remained the ultimate team player despite suffering through a 28-62 mark during his four years in Keuka Park.
Tuggles’ patience is paying off, as this year’s Storm team (9-11, 7-5 North Eastern Athletic Conference) currently sits in second place in the NEAC’s North Division.
With three NEAC games remaining, Keuka has a good chance at securing the program’s first postseason berth since the 2009-10 season, Tuggles’ first with the Green and Gold.
With one more win, Keuka will have recorded the most wins in a campaign since the 2008-09 squad posted an 11-11 mark, the last time the Storm finished a season with a .500 record.
Heading into Wednesday night’s 8 p.m. Senior Night contest with Cazenovia College (6-14, 2-9), Tuggles is excited about joining the 1,000 point club, but more excited about securing a playoff spot and pursuing his ultimate goal: leading Keuka to the school’s first-ever NEAC championship.
“To score 1,000 points is a wonderful individual accomplishment, but coming into Keuka I never even thought about reaching 1,000 points for my career; all I ever wanted is for us to win that NEAC championship,” said Tuggles, who has started 82 of 90 games since arriving on campus.
“We have a lot of talent on this team and hopefully we still have a shot at getting that title.”
Tuggles and co-captain Conor Boyer (East Rochester, NY/East Rochester) will be honored during Wednesday night’s clash with Cazenovia. Live stats from the contest are available at www.KeukaStorm.com/live-stats.
Unlike last year, when the Storm relied on mostly two student-athletes for much of the scoring, this year’s squad is deep and balanced. Tuggles leads the team in scoring (271 points) and scoring average (13.6 ppg.), but he’s receiving plenty of help from his teammates.
Eight sophomores saw significant minutes in the 2011-12 season, and their maturity is a big reason why the Storm are having their best season in years.
Sophomore Trevor Healey (Wethersfield, CT/Wethersfield) has blossomed into a solid post player and leads Keuka in rebounding (6.9 rpg.) while ranking second in scoring average (13.1 pp.g) and field goal percentage (52 percent).
Sophomore Jared Wagner (Pittsford, NY/McQuaid) leads the NEAC in three-point shooting percentage (50 percent) while scoring nearly 10 points per game, while classmates Tyler Hixson (Shortsville, NY/Red Jacket) and Adam Starks (Wellsville, NY/Andover) are combining for 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Add in talented freshmen Casey Williams (Syracuse, NY/Jamesville-DeWitt), who is averaging 7.4 ppg. including a career-high 19 during a loss to Morrisville State on Jan. 30, and Vinney Zambito (Elba, NY/Batavia Notre Dame), who has provided solid ball handling and three-point shooting, and it’s easy to see why Tuggles is excited about the direction of the program, both this year and in the future.
It’s a future that Tuggles wasn’t sure he wanted to be a part of following his freshman year. He contemplated transferring and moving back to Rochester, but thought better of it.
He considered changing schools the following year but eventually one fact became clear: he belonged at Keuka.
“I’m very happy I decided to stay at Keuka and finish my degree,” said Tuggles, who ranks second all-time in made free throws (264), sixth in made three-pointers (117) and seventh in assists (237).
“Things got better every year I was on campus. Coach (Thad) Phillips has helped turn around the program slowly but surely and I’m confident that once I graduate, we will keep getting better and better. Helping this program turn a corner and become consistent contenders in the conference is part of my legacy and I’m glad about that.”
After playing point guard his freshman season, Phillips moved Tuggles to shooting guard for his sophomore and junior seasons. Injuries forced Tuggles back to the point for his senior season, and he has responded to the challenge.
Besides being a legit scoring threat, he is a distributor (team-leading 54 assists), an aggressive defender (team-leading 21 steals), and is the Storm’s third-leading rebounder (4.1 rpg.).
On nights when his jumper or long-range shots aren’t falling, Tuggles is still able to contribute by driving to the basket and getting fouled, and he leads the NEAC in made free throws (96) while converting 76.8 percent (96-for-125) of his free throws.
“I have to make sure I get everyone involved in a game,” Tuggles said. “I can’t worry solely about myself and what I can score by attacking the basket, but I have gotten better at playing more of a team game and looking to get my teammates involved more, and it’s paying off.”
While Tuggles is not the most vocal of student-athletes, Phillips said he’s been impressed with his maturity, leadership and ability to remain calm during the chaotic moments of a game.
“Teddy is a mentally tough guy with a great work ethic who has handled adversity very well in his time on campus,” said Phillips, in his third season leading the Green and Gold.
“Yes he can score and he has a good shot but he’s more than that: he’s become a tremendous defender who has gotten stronger every year and he’s a great leader for this team. When his shots aren’t falling, he recognizes we have other guys who can step up and produce. Teddy’s a fun-loving kid with an infectious laugh and the guys just love him.”