Paige Bueckers isn’t finished winning awards. On Friday, UConn women’s basketball’s incoming freshman was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year. Bueckers is just the fourth Husky to win this award, joining Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart.
Started in 1985, the award is given “to recognize the nation’s most elite high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.”
This is the latest in a long, long list of accolades for Bueckers. Along with being the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2020, Bueckers is a 2020 McDonalds, SLAM and Jordan Brand All-American. On top of that, she is also a three-time Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year, won the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year Award in early March and took home 2020 Naismith Prep Player of the Year honors.
As a senior at Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Buckers averaged 21.0 points, 9.2 assists, 5.2 steals and 5.1 rebounds per game en route to a 30-0 record and an appearance in the state title game, which was ultimately canceled due to the coronavirus.
Despite the hype Bueckers brings with her to Storrs, head coach Geno Auriemma tried to temper expectations during the recent UConn Coaches Road Show.
“People think she’s going to start and average 30 (points per game). That ain’t gonna happen,” he said. “The expectation level for a kid like that, like they were with Stewie (Breanna Stewart), like they were with Maya Moore, like they were with Diana (Taurasi), they’re off the charts, and they almost never come true freshman year. So this kid is coming in with a ton of pressure on her.”
However, that doesn’t mean he’s not excited to finally get her on-campus to see what she can do at the next level.
“[She’s] the kind of kid that comes in and whatever situation she’s in, she’ll figure out how to be great in that situation,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s been a more exciting player to come out of high school in a long, long time.”
Bueckers, along with most of the rest of the Huskies’ 2020 squad, will report to UConn this Sunday, July 26, for the start of summer workouts.