One thing for every returner on UConn's roster to improve
A breakdown of the most pressing aspect of each player's game that needs to improved before next season begins.
In most college sports, recruiting is often used to gauge a team’s short-term and long-term outlook. While adding talent is paramount, player development is just as important — if not more so. The most successful programs, like UConn, can meld the two. Top recruits are brought in and developed into superstars. Once they graduate, the younger players step up and take ownership of the team.
The Huskies haven’t made 14 straight Final Four simply because they’ve recruited the best players. Whenever a senior class graduates, the next group is always ready to go.
This year is no different. Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Evina Westbrook and Christyn Williams are off to the WNBA and UConn’s eight returners all need to improve in order to fill the void.
Paige Bueckers: Getting stronger
Now that Bueckers says her knee is back to 100 percent, we can return to focusing on basketball with the rising junior. As this past season showed, injuries are the only way to slow down Bueckers so if she’s healthy, she’ll dominate. That means this offseason, the focus is on keeping her healthy by adding strength to withstand the pounding she takes throughout the year.
“She's active on the offensive and on the defensive end but her body isn't built to be like that,” Geno Auriemma said. “I said ‘Listen, Paige. I know normally you will go home but July, August after you do your thing (during summer workouts), you're not going anywhere. You need to get your body ready to withstand the way you want to play.”
“Different players have different goals this summer,” he added later. “Her goal is to get a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger. She's never going to look like Maya Moore, she's probably gonna look more like Stewie (Breanna Stewart) the rest of her life. But Stewie got a lot stronger as time went on.”