Hopkins girls’ basketball star Paige Bueckers is among the 18 finalists selected for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team.
Bueckers, a 2017 Star Tribune All-Metro first team selection, will compete for one of 12 final roster spots that will compete in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship from June 7-11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The final roster will be announced June 4.
The freshman guard helped lead Hopkins to the 2017 Class 4A title game where the Royals were defeated by Elk River, 64-60. Bueckers, who has played varsity since eighth grade, averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.2 steals, last season.
Her scholarship count, according to a recent SNY.tv feature, is 15 and counting, including an offer from the Gophers.
"In eighth grade, we had a bunch of D-1 players so my role was much smaller than it was in ninth grade," Bueckers told SNY.tv. "Last season I was more of a shooting guard. A lot of our plays are run through the shooting guard so my teammates got me open a lot. It was a great experience.
"I think I'm a guard, neither a point guard nor shooting guard. I love to dish the ball off to my teammates. When I'm open I attack the basket, but I can shoot threes and the mid-range. On defense I get tips and blocks. I try to play with a lot of energy and have fun."
Bueckers also landed on ESPNW’s Class of 2020 watch list and has caught the eye of Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.
“She had a way about her that just oozed confidence,” Reeve told the Star Tribune. “I said I have got to go meet this young lady.”
Bueckers missed a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds of the Class 4A championship game and is using this experience as motivation.
"I've replayed it a whole bunch of times,” Bueckers told SNY.tv. “I practice that shot so many times. It just didn't go in that one time in the game. It looked like it was going in and it just rolled out.
"Watching all these great players motivates me because it makes me realize that I'm not the best and I need to train to be that. I'm not satisfied with where I am. I want to win a championship and that we lost burns in my stomach."