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Paige Bueckers remains coy on future, says NIL money won't impact decision

Bueckers won't say whether she'll be back at UConn next season.

Photo: Ian Bethune

UConn women’s basketball held its first official practice of the season on Tuesday, but Paige Bueckers declined to say whether it was the start of her final campaign with the team.

“I don't know. I guess we'll see,” she said. “From what I've learned over the past couple years, never take the future for granted. Stay in the moment, stay in the present.”

The redshirt junior is eligible to enter the 2024 WNBA Draft but also has two additional seasons of eligibility remaining beyond the current one — one from the Covid year, then one from redshirting last year. While Bueckers has plenty of time to make her decision — UConn’s season will be over by the time that comes around — she announced her intention to return to UConn for the 2023-24 season back in September 2022.

Whatever decision Bueckers ultimately makes, she made it clear that the money she makes off her name, image and likeness, or NIL, won’t impact it.

“That's really not a factor at all for me. I've said before, I just love the college experience, I love being here at UConn and putting on that UConn jersey every single day. I just have tremendous pride playing here and playing for this program,” she said. “I came here and I wanted to come here a little before NIL even started. So that really has no factor into my decision. It's more just the basketball aspect and school aspect.”

Bueckers won almost every national player of the year award as a freshman in 2020-21 but then missed most of the next two seasons due to knee injuries. She received full clearance from her torn ACL back in August but didn’t participate in the Huskies’ four European contests. Bueckers will be ready to go when the team opens the 2023-24 campaign on Nov. 8 against Dayton.

For whatever it’s worth, even though Bueckers is technically listed as a redshirt junior on UConn’s roster, she views herself as a senior.

“I will say I'm a senior,” she said. “I've taken three years of classes, this will be my fourth year classes. So senior classes.”

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