The town of Hopkins, Minnesota located west of Minneapolis is home to Paige Bueckers. Bueckers went to Hopkins High School in Minnesota where she proceeded to have many accomplishments. By the time she was in the eighth grade, she had received Division 1 offers and scholarships from schools like Minnesota and Illinois. Led by Bueckers, Hopkins was featured in many state title games where Hopkins fell short each time. During her senior season she led Hopkins to an undefeated season and to a state title that was canceled due to the pandemic.
She won many awards in her time at Hopkins High school, especially her senior year. She won the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Naismith Prep Player of the year, Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year as well as many others. She was a McDonald’s All American as well as and selected to be in the Jordan Brand Classic. When it came time to decide where to continue her academic and athletic career, she had many offers from schools including Notre Dame, UCLA, Oregon, Minnesota, and South Carolina. In the end she chose a powerhouse program at The University of Connecticut. UConn is coached by Geno Auriemma who is well known for his accomplishments in his time at the university. The eleven national titles and the twenty Final Four appearances alone show how well of a coach he is.
Auriemma has coached many star players at UConn such as Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Dianna Taurasi just to name a few. Bueckers just adds to that list and when it’s all said and done she may find her way to the top. As a freshman this past year Bueckers had an outstanding season starting out with a 17-point game in her debut falling one rebound short of a double-double. With the season being impacted by the pandemic it was more of a challenge for freshmen to get some experience with no pre-season games as well as other problems due to the pandemic. Bueckers came out with a bang, and looked like she had been on the collegiate stage before. For some freshmen, it took a little time to get adjusted, however, Bueckers was ready. Throughout the entirety of the season, Bueckers was putting up numbers most freshmen don’t usually produce. In a three-game stretch against St. Johns, Marquette, and South Carolina, she put up thirty-plus points each game becoming the only freshman in UConn history to do so. As the season pressed on she began to receive a lot of recognition for what she had done so far as a freshman. Once the NCAA Tournament rolled around, Bueckers didn’t stop. She scored 24 points in the tournament opener, which was the most by a UConn player in their tournament debut. As the tournament continued she continuously caught the attention of others. Bueckers had a big game in the Elite Eight matchup against Baylor scoring 28 points to edge past the Lady Bears 69-67 to advance to their thirteenth straight Final Four. Her freshman season came to an end during the Final Four with a loss to the Arizona Wildcats. Bueckers did what no other freshman has accomplished in winning the AP National Player of the Year and Wooden award. Greenville University Point Guard Lauren Eagleson shared her thoughts on Buecker’s season. “She’s going to be one of the best players to come out of that program and she’s very deserving of the awards she received this year.”
It’s only the beginning of her career and she’s accomplished more than any other freshman has. The future is bright for Bueckers and the UConn Huskies as they look to bring a National Championship back to Storrs, Connecticut. When it’s all said and done Bueckers could be the best college basketball player to have ever stepped on the court.
Media by Justin Cross.