Bueckers describes herself as a pass first player, which is quite impressive, given her prowess in the scoring department, however her ability to find open teammates is something to watch. Any young player, guards especially, should pay attention to the way she lets the game come to her. She ranks sixth in the NCAA in total assists and ninth in assists per game which is a testament to her playmaking ability, especially playing on such a strong team. Earlier this year, the Minnesota native set the UConn program-record for assists in a game with fourteen.
Of course it is difficult to just learn how to see the floor, however watching Buecker’s work as the primary ball handler can help young players with their ball movement a lot. One thing to take away from her playmaking is the way in which she head mans the ball in the open court. Her teammates know to get out wide and be prepared to receive the ball every time they run the floor. Young players should note that as soon as the ball enters Buecker’s hands in her own end, her eyes are up the court fishing out an opportunity for an easy score. This is a very important habit to get into and an important skill to possess as a ball handler as it creates easy scoring opportunities for your squad, and not many at the NCAA level do it better than Paige Bueckers.
Another aspect of the UCONN freshman’s playmaking kit that basketball fans should pay close attention to is her ability to run the pick and roll and find the deep pass inside. We’ve talked at great length about Paige’s playmaking ability, however it is her feared scoring touch that allows her to be so great in pick and roll situations. Bueckers allows the defence to overextend towards her when she uses a screen, in turn opening up the screener or wing position if the defence rotates, who Bueckers finds expertly. She flawlessly throws bounce passes or perfectly floats the ball over the reach of the defender into easy scores for her bigs.
Passing is a skill that not all players can do naturally at a high level. However, young players looking to improve their playmaking should most definitely tune in to any UCONN game in the Women’s March Madness Tournament to see Paige Bueckers set her teammates up constantly. Examining the way she draws in the defence to find her teammates, or lets the game come to her to open up opportunities at the offensive end will certainly help hoopers add some new tools to their bag. Make sure to catch Bueckers and the Huskies face off against No. 16 High Point on Sunday March 21st at 8pm on ESPN. UCONN’s stiffest competition in their side of the bracket is likely Baylor, so be sure to tune in if these teams match up in the tournament. With all that being said, WATCH PAIGE BUECKERS!