UConn Class of 2020 commit Bueckers to play on USA team with Collier in Qatar

Published on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 21:05
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

Paige Bueckers is looking forward to her official visit to the University of Connecticut that begins with the Huskies’ First Night program on Oct. 18 and end two days later on her 18th birthday.

But first, the UConn commit and No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2020 will take a road trip - 6,500 miles from Storrs.

Bueckers was named to the United States 3x3 team that will take part in the World Beach Games to be held Sunday through Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Katara Beach in Doha, Qatar.

She will be joined by former Husky Napheesa Collier, a two-time All-American and WNBA rookie of the year with the Minnesota Lynx. Also on the team are Jackie Young of the Las Vegas Aces, the top overall 2019 WNBA draft pick out of Notre Dame, and Oregon senior Ruthy Hebard.

Team USA is in Group A and will face the Dominican Republic and Jordan on Sunday and then complete pool play against Russia a week from today. The top two teams from each of the four four-team groups will move on to the quarterfinals on Oct. 16, when the semis and finals will also be played.

Bueckers, a 5-foot-11 guard from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has won four gold medals representing USA Basketball including one in 3x3 play (2018 Youth Olympic Games).

Her last appearance for Team USA was at the FIBA U-19 World Cup in July in Bangkok, Thailand, where she was the event’s Most Valuable Player and led the Americans to gold.

In seven games, Bueckers averaged 11.6 points (shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from three) and 4.1 rebounds. She ranked first in the tournament in assists (5.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio for those averaging at least 2.0 assists (2.4), while contributing 1.9 steals.

Breanna Stewart (2013) is the only other UConn-connected player to win U-19 MVP.

Bueckers is one of four 2020 commits for the Huskies along with Piath Gabriel (6-5 center, Manchester, New Hampshire). Mir McLean (5-11 wing, Owings Mills, Maryland) and Nika Muhl (5-10 guard, Zagreb, Croatia).

Collier recently helped Team USA to a gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup. She also owns a 3x3 gold medal from the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Collier was the No. 6 overall pick in April’s WNBA draft and went on to become the fifth former UConn player to be named rookie of the year, joining Diana Taurasi (2004), Tina Charles (2010), Maya Moore (2011), and Stewart.

The 6-1 forward averaged 13.1 points (shooting 49.0 percent from the floor, 36.1 percent from three, and 79.2 percent from the foul line), 6.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.9 blocked shots in a league-leading 33.1 minutes for the Lynx.

She was the only player in the WNBA to rank in the top 30 in scoring (21st), field-goal percentage (16th), rebounds (15th), assists (26th), steals (fourth), and blocked shots (15th).

Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 21:05. Updated: Tuesday, 8 October 2019 21:07.