Sun Prairie standout basketball player Marlon Ruffin announced he will be attending and playing basketball for UW-Milwaukee next year.
During a press conference at Sun Prairie High School on Tuesday afternoon, Ruffin formally committed to the Panthers of UWM after a phenomenal season which saw him lead Sun Prairie to its first-ever appearance in the State semifinals last March.
Ruffin, who was named Wisconsin State Journal All-Area player of the year for 2018 and was also named Big Eight player of the year, said that he will be focused on getting himself prepared for the leap to Division 1 basketball.
“Hard work pays off,” Ruffin told Madison365. “If you put in the work during the offseason and focus on the right things, things will work out. Going into next year I am just focused on getting my body right, getting myself up to a Division 1 standard and just enjoying the experience because you only go to college once.”
Ruffin said he believes he will be a big asset to Panther basketball and his coach from Sun Prairie, Jeff Boos, agrees.
“I think the best thing about Marlon is he’s done a lot of work to get better as he’s gone through the program and the process and the whole thing,” Boos told Madison365. “I truly believe he will be a fine basketball player at UW-Milwaukee. I’m sure he’ll hit the floor running and be a great addition to them. I’m obviously going to miss him greatly, not only as a player but as a person Fand as a really good kid in our program.”
Ruffin was a three-year varsity player at Sun Prairie and was a spark plug for their unprecedented success this past season.
“He was on a mission,” Boos said. “And I think his mission kind of carried over to others to raise the bar, to compete at a high level whether it be in practice or a shootaround. Whether it be a walkthrough, he always came with a focus and said ‘we got work to do’ and he helped our team grow.”
Ruffin joins the rebuilding UW Milwaukee Panthers, a team that featured 9 underclassmen in Head Coach Pat Baldwin’s first season. The Panthers compiled a 16-17 record during the 2018 season but with a youth movement in full swing, many feel the program is on the rise.
“I think it’s a good situation for him at UW-Milwaukee,” Jerry Ruffin, Marlon’s father, told Madison365. “I think they’ve revamped the team. Some people don’t know what they’re missing out on with this guy. Marlon is hungry. I’ll say that. I’ll say he’s hungry.”
As for Marlon, he knows that the greatest challenges are still ahead. But if the past three years have shown anything, it’s that he will rise to meet those challenges head on, not take shortcuts.
“I really feel like I can be a big asset to Panther basketball,” Ruffin said. “Just watch my story. That’s all I’m saying.”