Why isn’t Paige Bueckers going to the WNBA Draft? UConn star to return for 2024-25 college season

After two seasons marred by injury, UConn guard Paige Bueckers is back on the floor and reminding the basketball world of how special she is.

Bueckers, a redshirt junior, has led the Huskies to the Final Four with averages of 22.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game this year. While she is draft-eligible after this season, this run will not be Bueckers’ final act in a Connecticut uniform.

When Bueckers was honored during the program’s senior night festivities, she announced her intentions to return to the Huskies for the 2024-25 season. Bueckers’ announcement was met with widespread approval from the fans at Connecticut’s Gampel Pavillion, though many outside did not understand the decision.

Why isn’t Bueckers entering the 2024 WNBA Draft? Here is what the surefire top-five pick said of her decision to come back to school for another year.

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Why isn’t Paige Bueckers going to the WNBA Draft?

“I just feel like I’m not done yet here,” Bueckers said of her decision to return. “I feel like God is still writing my story here. I’m just blessed to be a part of this program, and I never want it to end.”

Bueckers will turn 23 in October and will be a redshirt senior during the 2024-25 season. 

After sweeping National Player of the Year honors during her freshman season, Bueckers has been dealt a rough hand with injuries. As a sophomore, Bueckers was sidelined for nearly three months with a fractured tibia, and she missed the entirety of her junior season with a torn ACL.

In saying that she isn’t done yet, Bueckers has an opportunity to build on a college legacy that has already been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and serious injuries.

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As a prospect, Bueckers could have gone as high as No. 2 in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Bueckers return could pave the way for her to be the consensus No. 1 prospect in the 2025 WNBA Draft class.

Before draft talk begins, Bueckers will look to lead UConn to titles in 2024 and ’25.

Connecticut All-American forward Aliyah Edwards has entered the 2024 WNBA Draft but next season, the Huskies will get guard Azzi Fudd back from a season-ending ACL injury and enjoy the contributions of All-American high school signees Allie Ziebel and Morgan Cheli.

Regardless of how the 2024 NCAA Tournament plays out, UConn will be a favorite to take home the title in 2025.

WNBA Draft eligibility, explained

NCAA players who are turning 22 in 2024 are eligible to renounce any remaining NCAA eligibility (including extra eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic) to opt into the 2024 WNBA Draft.

College seniors who have exhausted all eligibility are not required to renounce. 

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