Two Ellison basketball standouts signed with colleges last week.
Six-foot-4 combo guard Shamir Bogues will be part of Tarleton State’s first Division I freshman class, and 6-7 wing/guard Nehemiah Nuckolls is headed to McLennan Community Community in Waco.
Bogues will play for Billy Gillispie, who coached at Ellison from 1990-93, about a decade before Bogues was born.
Gillispie was one of the hottest names in coaching when he was hired at Kentucky in 2007, but personal and health issues derailed his career. After a successful comeback at Ranger College, Gillispie was hired by Tarleton on March 30 and tasked with leading the program’s transition from Division II to Division I.
Bogues was the District 12-6A MVP after leading the Eagles to the Region II-6A final, a 35-5 record and No. 3 ranking. He averaged 16 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists per game. But it’s the unglamorous part of his game that stands out.
“Playing hard and playing defense are probably two of the things he likes to do the most,” Ellison coach Alberto Jones Jr. said, “and those are two things most coaches love.”
Gillispie also had high praise for Bogues in a Tarleton news release announcing the signing:
“Shamir is one of the best two-way players in the state of Texas with an unbelievable desire to compete. He is a tremendous athlete with a high basketball IQ that can score the ball in a multitude of ways. Shamir is a winner that will make an impact in our program right away. The fans are going to have a good time watching Shamir play.”
“I’m really excited to create a new era for Tarleton basketball,” Bogues said in the release.
Jones said McLennan was a perfect fit for Nuckolls, who earned a spot on the All-District 12-6A First Team in his final Ellison season.
“Coach (Kevin) Gill does a great job,” Jones said. “We’ve had a whole lot of former Eagles go on to play for him at MCC, and a couple have gone on to play Division I after that.”
One of those was Bogues’ older brother Shannon, whose play at MCC earned him two more seasons at Stephen F. Austin. Shannon is still on the rise, having just finished a solid rookie season with the Wisconsin Herd, the Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA G League team.
Jones sees a similar trajectory for Nuckolls.
“I think he’s going to be a kid that in a couple of years you’ll see him playing on the D-1 level somewhere.”
Like his Ellison teammate, Nuckolls has a versatile game.
“He can shoot the ball OK. He can put it on the floor. He’s athletic, and he’s kind of got a fearlessness about him,” Jones said, noting that Nuckolls put up some of his biggest numbers in Ellison’s biggest games.
“He loved those big-game situations.”