Nixa's Colin Ruffin wasn't supposed to play much last year. Now he's one of the area's best
To start his sophomore season, Colin Ruffin started out playing four quarters for the junior varsity team. He was supposed to be at the end of the varsity team's bench.
A few games into the junior-varsity season, Ruffin started to stand out and he earned some playing time with the varsity. Shortly after, his time with junior varsity was done.
He quickly earned the Eagles' starting point guard job.
"We needed a true point guard," Nixa head coach Jay Osborne said. "We turned things over to Colin at about this time last year and he's handled it well."
2020 BLUE AND GOLD TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS COVERAGE
- Quarterfinals scores, recaps, schedules
- FOR SUBSCRIBERS:Here were the top performers of the quarterfinal round
The experience Ruffin's gained, plus the addition of a few inches, has turned him into one of the best players in southwest Missouri.
Ruffin's a lengthy guard who is better than most at driving and getting to the basket. He also has an outside shot and is an excellent ball distributor.
Ruffin's skills were on full display in the Eagles' 79-40 win over Camdenton. The 6-foot-2 junior scored 12 points in limited action due to the blowout.
He had a triple-double in a win over Joplin earlier in the season when he went for 13 points, 10 boards and 10 assists.
"I want to be a pass-first point guard," Ruffin said. "I want to get my teammates involved and then I try to look at scoring."
"He'll pinpoint some passes that will get there that some people probably can't make," Osborne added. "He'll get a few turnovers and I don't have a problem with that as long as he's playing hard and will try to make things happen."
Ruffin became the Eagles' point guard around the time of the 2019 Blue and Gold Tournament. Over the summer, he started to earn the recognition of college programs.
Aside from adding some height, Ruffin said he's been a constant worker in the gym alongside Kael Combs and Jason Jones. The constant work-ethic has the Eagles undefeated heading into the Blue semis.
As far as college attention, Ruffin is receiving interest from some — including Missouri State — but he has yet to land an offer. Solid play over the summer landed him on some college radars.
Getting free college is the goal as he also leads one of the better basketball programs in the region.
"I don't think my job's done," Ruffin said. "I still haven't gotten any offers and it's just some interests. Until that happens, I'm not really satisfied."
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. You can subscribe to his free "Bears Beat" newsletter on News-Leader.com. He's also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.