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James Bouknight earning widespread praise after just three games

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The accolades are already piling up for UConn’s freshman guard.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

James Bouknight made a big statement in the Charleston Classic, playing his first three games as a UConn Husky. Bouknight’s 40 points, 13 rebounds and three steals in just 55 minutes of action were good enough to earn him a spot in the tournament’s All-Classic team and AAC Freshman of the Week honors.

The Brooklyn native came off the bench to help UConn tally impressive wins over Buffalo, and Miami, and he had a team-high 19 points to help the Huskies force two overtimes against ranked Xavier, including the tying points on a three-point play in the first overtime.

Bouknight’s efficiency was the most impressive part, his .778 field goal percentage is by far the best mark out of any UConn player so far this year. He look incredibly smooth and seems like the team’s greatest threat to score, doing it in transition, from beyond the arc, on pull-up jumpers and put-backs.

Dan Hurley was not hesitant to praise the Bouknight’s performance in his first few games as a Husky, comparing him to J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, two players he coached while at St. Benedict’s high school in New Jersey.

“When he makes that first move and is by somebody, it slows down for him...” Hurley said. “He has the athletic ability to glide around the court. He’s a plus shooter too. He hasn’t shown his three point shooting which is also in his bag, because he’s still trying to figure things out.”

He struggled slightly over the weekend on the defensive side of the ball, something that will need to come with time as he adjusts to the college level.

“He continues to grow as a defender, and gets a better grasp of what he’s supposed to be doing relative to the other four guys,” Hurley said after the Xavier loss.

Bouknight is the first UConn player to earn Freshman Player of the Week since Christian Vital did it in 2017. His next test with the Huskies will come against Maine, on Sunday at 1 p.m.