UConn Huskies recruit Paige Bueckers named Gatorade POY

No. 1-ranked women's basketball recruit Paige Bueckers will arrive at UConn on Sunday for workouts, and she will do so with a bit of uncertainty and some new hardware.

Bueckers, who was named Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year on Friday, said she hasn't heard much about the state of the 2020-21 college basketball season amid the coronavirus pandemic, but is still looking forward to joining the Huskies for her freshman season.

"Coaches haven't said much because nobody's really said anything," Bueckers told ESPN. "They don't know what to expect. 'They're going to cancel the tournament, they're going to cancel the whole season, they're going to do a conference-only season.' There's so many things that can happen, but I'm going up there on Sunday, workouts are going to start and we're going to prepare like it's a normal season because we have no idea what's going to happen yet."

Some conferences have moved to a conference-only format for fall sports due to concerns about the pandemic. Others have postponed fall sports entirely.

The Big East, which UConn rejoined this summer, canceled nonconference schedules for men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and volleyball. There is no timetable for a decision on basketball scheduling.

Bueckers, a 5-foot-11 point guard for Hopkins High School in Minnesota, said she's focusing more on getting ready for practice and the season, as opposed to what the state of college sports may look like in the fall and winter.

"I try not to worry about what they're going to do with the season because we can't control it," said Bueckers, who averaged 21.4 points, 9.4 assists, 5.4 steals and 5.0 rebounds as a senior.

In early March, Bueckers was named Gatorade National Girls' Basketball Player of the Year and was surprised when Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns presented the award to her.

She found out about being named Gatorade Athlete of the Year on Thursday when she was surprised with a video that featured WNBA stars Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donne and Nneka Ogwumike congratulating her on her success thus far.

"They're at a very high level -- at a much higher level than me -- and they're still paying attention to kids my age," said Bueckers, whom UConn coach Geno Auriemma compared to Diana Taurasi in an interview with ESPN's Katie Barnes. "They're looking at my game and appreciating my game and showing love to the younger generation. For them to show their support, it means a lot."

Bueckers said she has daydreamed about putting on a UConn jersey and finally stepping onto the court as a Husky, adding she is confident she can help bring a title back to Storrs for the first time since 2016.

"I know with the coaching staff and the players that are there," Bueckers said, "we can win a championship and we can get to the Final Four, so long as we work hard and stay together as a team. I'm just excited to get to that program where greatness is expected."

It has yet to be determined what modifications the Big East will make to its sports schedule, but Bueckers is optimistic there will be a season.

"I'm anxious to see what they decide," she said. "I'm hoping they have a season of some sort, fans or no fans. I'm going to be anxious to play."