all scores

Will Paige Bueckers stay at UConn beyond this season? ‘We’ll see’

(Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Paige Bueckers is ready to go for the 2023-24 season with UConn basketball. Beyond that, her future remains up in the air, or so she told reporters Tuesday.

A redshirt junior for the Huskies, Bueckers will have two years of eligibility remaining after the upcoming season — one year because she missed all of last season with an ACL tear, plus one extra year granted to all players during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the 21-year-old could have declared for the 2023 WNBA Draft, she made it clear after her injury that she would return for at least one more season. She would be a top prospect in the 2024 draft, but she has not committed one way or the other.

“I guess we’ll see,” she said Tuesday when asked about her future with UConn, as CT Insider’s Maggie Vanoni reported from the first practice of the season for the Huskies.

Bueckers offered a similarly equivocal answer when asked in March about staying at UConn beyond 2024.

“There’s always a chance,” she said. “I have three more years of eligibility. I’m not declining, not saying for sure I will or for sure I won’t. But there’s definitely an opportunity for me to return for a fifth year, even maybe a sixth year.”

With name, image and likeness deals, the choice to stay in school does not prevent basketball stars from cashing in on their skills. But Bueckers said Tuesday that NIL deals will not be a factor in her decision.

“I’ve said before, I just love the college experience,” she said. “I love being here at UConn and putting on that UConn jersey every single day and I just have tremendous pride playing here and playing for this program. I came here and I wanted to come here a little bit before NIL even started, so that really has no factor into my decision. It’s more just the basketball aspect and school aspect.”

Iowa senior Caitlin Clark, another top WNBA prospect, has one more year of eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also has not revealed her plans for next year, saying in February that she sees “pros and cons to both sides.”

“I really have no clue what I’m going to do, stay for an extra year or leave after next year,” Clark said.