The leading assist man in Verona Area High School boys basketball history will continue his college basketball journey at the Division I level.
Nate Buss announced Sunday, May 24, on Twitter that he was joining Winthrop University as a preferred walk-on.
“My goal has always been to play Division I college basketball,” said Buss, a 2017 VAHS graduate who holds the school record in assists (378) and is ninth on the career scoring list with 740 points. “I’m honored to be a part of such a great basketball program. When the opportunity arose, I couldn’t pass up on it.”
Buss redshirted this past season at Division II Flagler College and has two years of eligibility remaining at Winthrop. The 5-foot-11 guard said he worked on his conditioning and shooting and challenged other players in practice at Flagler.
Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Winthrop was the Big South Conference champion last season and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Eagles have appeared in 10 NCAA Tournaments and won 22 conference championships in 42 years of the program.
Winthrop has won 11 conference tournament championships – the third most in Division I since 1999 behind Gonzaga (16) and Duke (12), one ahead of Kentucky and two ahead of Kansas. Since 2004, the Eagles have defeated over 30 non-conference D-I teams, including road wins over Auburn, Illinois, Mississippi State and Wake Forest and a victory over Notre Dame in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
“The glory is not the same as a scholarship player,” Buss said of being a preferred walk-on. “I’m going to go in there and work my hardest to bring value to the team. I want to be part of the success any way possible.”
His father, Alan Buss, is the principal at Badger Ridge Middle School. Alan Buss served as the interim boys basketball head coach at Verona last season after Eddie Singleton stepped down due to personal reasons.
The head coach at VAHS from 2001-17, Alan Buss racked up a record of 213-162.
Nate Buss was a two-time captain at Verona and earned third-team Big Eight All-Conference honors as a senior after he averaged 13.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. As a junior, he was named honorable mention all-conference after averaging 13.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 6.8 apg.
The Verona native started 47 of 54 games and was a team captain in his first two collegiate seasons at Madison College. He was named second-team all-region after averaging 13.0 points per game as a sophomore. He also made a team-high 66 3-pointers, shot 39% from beyond the arc and was second on the team in assists (84).
“Winthrop saw my basketball IQ,” Buss said. “I can shoot the ball. That is one of my strengths.”
The NCAA announced last week Division I student-athletes could return to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. Buss has been working out at the Total Athlete Performance gym in Windsor since it reopened May 26.
Buss – a strategic communications major – wants to become a college basketball coach when his playing days are done.
“I’ve always been around the game,” he said. “I’m going to learn a lot. I’m excited to learn more when I get started at Winthrop.”