Video: Paige Bueckers highlights
See UConn-bound point guard in action.
The coronavirus pandemic is cutting high school sports seasons and careers short. In the coming days and weeks, MaxPreps is putting the spotlight on some of those stories via our 'Extending the Season' series.
The script appeared meant for Hollywood – straight from Minnetonka. Paige Bueckers
, a 5-foot-11 guard for Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
, was running the break for a perfect senior season to finish off a near-perfect high school basketball career.
Her Royals were 30-0, ranked No. 4 nationally by MaxPreps and one win away from winning a second straight Minnesota AAAA title with an unblemished record.
The McDonald's All-American and No. 1 senior recruit in the country is heading to Connecticut, where she'll play for Geno Auriemma, having finished her career with 62 straight victories and amassing more than 1,998 career points, 487 rebounds, 563 assists and 405 steals.
Instead, coronavirus blew the whistle. The Minnesota State High School League tournament was shut down and a championship showdown against Farmington (28-2) on Thursday was canceled.
"Heartbroken isn't even the word to describe the feeling I'm going through right now," Bueckers said via Twitter. "Hopkins, thank you, my teammates, coaches, fans and community, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
"It wasn't the ending we wanted but the real know. A Royal now and forever. P out."
The week before, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns surprised Bueckers with the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award.
"To win this award is amazing," Bueckers told MaxPreps. "It's the result of a lot of hard work and a lot of team success. We just need now to finish it off. I can't wait."
The pandemic didn't allow her to finish it off. But her career as one of the best and most entertaining girls basketball players of her era will not be lost upon anyone.
She is one of 12 national No. 1 recruits since 1998 to sign at Connecticut including Elena Delle Donne (she later transferred), Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart, Maya Moore and Tina Charles.
Bueckers averaged 21.4 points, 9.4 assists, 5.4 steals and 5.0 rebounds this season. Back in January, she was the first high school girl ever featured on the cover of Slam.
"This kid was meant to be a basketball player," Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. "She was born to be a basketball player. She just plays like 'This is my personal playground. When I get the ball, I can do whatever I want with it, and you can't stop me. And I just have fun with it.'
"She makes the game fun for herself. And when she is not playing basketball, she is watching basketball. And when she isn't watching basketball, she is shooting baskets. There are kids who play basketball, and then there are basketball players. She is a basketball player. Born to be a basketball player. Everything she does. She's a natural."
Without a McDonald's All-American or Jordan Brand Classic showcase game either, the next opportunity to see her in action will come in a UConn uniform.
"Everybody is saying the dynasty (at Connecticut) is over," Bueckers said. "Yeah right. I guess we'll see."