Paige Bueckers and her UConn teammates met with the media yesterday and we learned a lot about where the Huskies' star is at after suffering a torn ACL in a pick-up game last month.
The Wooden Award winner was in good spirits despite being set to miss all of the upcoming 2022-2023 season due to the injury and revealed her plans to return to the collegiate hardwood. You can see some of her remarks in full below:
Here are some of the highlights from what Bueckers said:
- She's not going to come back this season but will play again for the Huskies. "I'm not leaving. That is not in question," Bueckers told reporters, according to ESPN's Alexa Philippou. "People asked me, 'What are you thinking about fifth year, COVID year, redshirting this year.' I'm not thinking too far ahead about that at all. But I will be playing college basketball again."
- Bueckers remains grateful for her teammates. "They're amazing, they're my family," she said. "They just knew how much I was going to be going through and I just had surgery and I needed people around me to keep me positive. Having them all back here on campus right now is extremely important for me and my mental state."
- The Huskies' star looks forward to a long career and is willing to do what it takes to come back in full health, even if it means missing all of this season. "I never want to take a break like this again ever in my career so just making sure that I'm doing whatever it takes to prepare my body sleep, eat nutritionally ... just making sure I'm more than 100 percent healthy is the key."
- As for Bueckers' plans this season, she still looks to make an impact. "I'm a players coach," the former AP player of the year said, "I'm going to be the one that they can talk to, the one that's going to push them but also the one that they can rely on when they need support and anything like that."
The basketball phenom led the Huskies to a national championship appearance in last year’s Final Four, ultimately falling to South Carolina 64-49 in the final. Her sophomore year, when she averaged close to 15 points per game, 4 rebounds and 3.9 assists, was limited to 17 games because of injury. This came after a monster freshman season, where she averaged 20.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists, and was awarded a host of first-team honors and outstanding player accolades
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Though she is aware of the unfinished business left in Storrs after last season's championship game loss, she’ll have to watch the action from the sidelines this year when the Huskies' season tips-off in November."Last year, we were the underdogs and we made it to the national championship game, so I think we play better and we do better with a chip on our shoulder. We have a lot to prove," Bueckers said. "And I know a lot of people are already counting us out. So I'm excited. This team knows our potential. I know our potential, coach knows our potential, and we have really big things ahead of us. ... I'm excited for them to show the world what we can do."