Nov. 13, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Josie Buckingham signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to play basketball for the Maroon and Gold, and at least one national recruiting expert is claiming that head coach Pam Borton and her staff have struck gold with the athletic 6-foot-5 center from Ohio.
“Josie’s frame is college-ready, and she offers size and the ability to block shots and run the floor,” Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and espnW HoopGurlz said. “The Big Ten has been a power league over the years, with big bodies, and recently there is a new trend toward speed and athleticism. Josie can keep up in transition, even with the size she has. I think once the Minnesota coaching staff gets a chance to work with Josie, she will start to develop an offensive repertoire to her game and she can be a solid contributor throughout her career. It is tough to find players who have the size, body, and ability to run the floor that she has, so Minnesota probably struck gold with her.”
Buckingham comes to Minnesota from New Richmond (Ohio) High School, where she was a dominating presence in the paint for the Lady Lions, even while often being double- or triple-teamed on offense.
“Josie is the most physically-dominating player that I have ever coached or seen during my eight years in southern Ohio,” New Richmond head coach Brad Hatfield said. “She totally commands the paint and the glass. She garners two or three defenders at a time on the offensive end, and she wins games single-handedly for us.”
A native of Ohio herself, Coach Borton is excited to have a player from the Buckeye state with Buckingham’s size and ability sign with the Gophers.
“We are very excited to have Josie join our program. She has very high goals, both academically and basketball-wise,” Borton said. “Josie is a typical Big Ten prototype basketball player, being 6-foot-5, and she finishes well around the rim. The sky is the limit with Josie. She runs the floor extremely well, and she’s going to be a great defender and rebounder for us.”
Because New Richmond is a smaller school, she might have snuck under the radar a bit in the recruiting process, although other Big Ten schools and nearby University of Cincinnati were interested in her. But Minnesota was the right fit, both athletically and academically, for the 4.0 student with an interest in the U of M’s medical programs. Josie hopes to pursue a career as a pediatrician.
“I fell in love with the campus on my very first visit,” Buckingham said. “It really just felt like home to me. I love all of the coaches and the players. The U also has fantastic medical programs and a great medical school, which I am interested in for after undergrad. It is really the package deal for me and is a perfect fit for what I am looking for.”
As a junior, Buckingham earned Honorable Mention All-State, First Team All-District 16 and First Team All-Southern Buckeye Conference after averaging 20.9 points, 13.6 rebounds and 6.1 blocked shots per game.
Buckingham established new school records for points (42), rebounds (26) and blocked shots (17) in a single game, with the scoring mark having previously been held by her mother, Liz (38 points during 1976-77). Josie’s mom is a member of New Richmond’s Hall of Fame, and she played collegiate basketball at Northern Kentucky.
“Josie is a game-changer. Not only is she 6-5, but she is an athletic 6-5 that has good hands and unbelievable length,” Tom Jenkins of Ohio Girls Basketball Report said. “Josie is a unique specimen. She will take up a lot of space, both horizontally and vertically, which you need in the Big Ten. She is 6-5, but with her length, she can play like she is 6-8. She comes from a very athletic background. Her mom was a big-time player at Northern Kentucky University. Josie is a little bit of a late bloomer and her best days are ahead of her. She can run with the four-type player and can handle the physicality of an anchor-type post, so she is going to give Coach Borton a lot of versatility in the post position.”
Buckingham will give Minnesota two players who are 6-foot-5, as she’ll join current redshirt freshman Amanda Zahui B. as an option in the post.
“I am excited to play at a higher level, and for the chance to play with more girls my size,” Buckingham said. “The Big Ten is one of the best conferences, with competitive teams that play the style of basketball that I like and that I am comfortable with.”
--Michael Molde, Athletic Communications Assistant
More Information on Minnesota's Signing Class
Rangie Bessard: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Loyd Video
Josie Buckingham: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Riverso Video
Grace Coughlin: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Roysland Video
Tory Jacobs: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Loyd Video
Carlie Wagner: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Roysland Video
Complete Signing Day Class
Preview: Gophers at the San Juan Shootout
Minnesota is set to take on Stetson and Auburn this Thanksgiving weekend in Puerto Rico.
Gophers Look Inside in Win at Kent State
Minnesota scored 22 points in the paint in the fourth quarter to come away with an 85-73 road win.
Outside the Paint with Josie Buckingham
The sophomore center talked about the new season, new teammates and surprise trip home.