Paige Bueckers’ March Madness Diary: Gearing up for the event

Editor’s notice: UConn Huskies star Paige Bueckers is checking in periodically throughout the NCAA Event for The Related Press. She is recovering from an ACL harm.

I’ve all the time been a fan of March Madness.

Rising up I bear in mind watching UConn personal it. Positive, I bear in mind Stewie (Breanna Stewart) successful 4 in a row, however my first reminiscence was when Stefanie Dolson helped the Huskies win. She was my favourite UConn participant rising up.

Quick-forward to the previous few years once I’ve truly acquired to expertise taking part in in it myself. It might not have been the norm with my first 12 months being within the San Antonio bubble due to COVID and final season I used to be getting back from harm, but it surely’s a tremendous feeling to play on the sport’s largest stage.

You’re employed so onerous as a competitor to play on this and win on the finish of the season.

As a lot of you already know this 12 months I’m out recovering from a torn ACL harm that I suffered over the summer season. I’ve been working onerous during the last six-to-seven months on rehabbing. There’s nonetheless a option to go, however day-after-day I’m getting sturdy and more healthy. I’ve been in a position to do extra basketball drills throughout observe, however nonetheless am a bit approach from contact.

I’ve trusted my religion and know that God does the whole lot for a motive and that’s helped me by this. Regardless that I can’t play I’ve discovered different methods to assist the group. You don’t see sure issues once you’re taking part in and I’ve damaged issues down on the bench giving suggestions right here and there. I’d somewhat be “Player P” than “Coach P” however now I do what I can to assist us win.

I realized final 12 months by no means take something without any consideration once I went down with an harm and was lucky sufficient to return again and play in my hometown of Minneapolis for the Last 4.

The season is lengthy and grueling and a few folks get drained, and I remind them that they’re blessed to play basketball and play right here at UConn.

I additionally know that I can nonetheless be a constructive function mannequin for youths whereas I’m not taking part in. I bear in mind once I was younger making an attempt to get Maya Moore or Lindsay Whalen’s signature and the way particular that made me really feel. Each time I’m at video games, I take a couple of minutes and take selfies with folks and signal autographs.

I can be a task mannequin in different methods. My harm is sadly too frequent in ladies’s basketball and there are various others who’ve gone by it. It’s an extended course of and I hope my restoration may help encourage others to maintain their religion and proceed to work onerous to get again wholesome.

Clearly, we’ve got one aim in thoughts and that’s successful a championship, however affiliate head coach Chris Dailey does an ideal job of serving to us have enjoyable, too.

The opposite evening we had dinner at Coach’s (Geno Auriemma’s) restaurant and performed a thriller sport with a pajama social gathering theme the place we had to determine who the “Riddler” was. Everybody on the group was assigned a task and coach was on the aspect not taking part in, however stirring the pot making an attempt to distract everybody.

There’s little question that Amari (DeBerry) and Aaliyah (Edwards) have been essentially the most dedicated to their roles and costumes.

After all Azzi (Fudd) was the wrongdoer we needed to guess. It was a enjoyable evening.

CD places this stuff collectively to assist us get out of our flats the place we spend a lot of the day watching basketball. After all, that’s half the enjoyable of March Madness — watching all of the video games. We’re particularly excited to look at our males’s group play.

Till subsequent time, go Huskies!

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