Paige Bueckers becomes first high school girls player to land Slam Magazine cover

Photo Credit: Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

College basketball and the WNBA may want to take notice – it will not be long before the name of Paige Bueckers becomes the talk of the basketball world.

Minnesota is a state known far and wide for the basketball talent that it produces – most notably Lindsay Whalen, four-time WNBA champion with the Lynx and current coach at her alma mater Minnesota Golden Gophers. In the case of Bueckers (or should we simply say Paige Buckets…she got next).

Slam Magazine has chronicled Bueckers and the Hopkins Royals girls basketball team in a multi-part series entitled “All Eyes on Us.” The first rendition of the series followed the team to the Geico nationals.

The second part centered on a historic moment for Bueckers when it was revealed that she was gracing the cover of the latest edition of Slam.

She has been tagged as the No. 1 high school girls player in the country – and dubbed “The Most Electrifying High School Player in the World” on the Slam cover.

Bueckers will soon call Storrs, Connecticut home as when she begins her college career, she will play under Geno Auriemma at UConn.

As women’s hoops fans know, Storrs is a WNBA factory. The who’s who of names that have made their mark in the W out of UConn include Rebecca Lobo, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Tina Charles and Napheesa Collier among others.

Before she will be Nutmeg State bound, she will be Lone Star State bound for this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game this April in Houston.

Even with all of this success she has attained at the prep level, Bueckers has her sights set on even bigger accomplishments. She is setting her sights high while not allowing her success at the prep level to get to her head.

I don’t want to be just a high school legend. I want to be someone who does it at the college or the pro level.

–Paige Bueckers (per Slam video)

Slam had released 225 editions prior to the 226th that has Bueckers on its front cover. Hopkins is looking to repeat as Minnesota 4A basketball champions. As of this writing, the Slam video has received over 60,000 YouTube views.

(Video Credit: Slam Magazine)

Well, the first thing I want to do is say thank you – and I appreciate everything she’s given me. And just … I want her to know that I appreciate just … how good she was as a player and as a person and how she showed up for everything. So, that’s the thing that I guess I’d say more than anything else is thank you and I love you.

–Brian Cosgriff, head coach, Hopkins girls basketball (per Slam video)

The video followed her cover shoot, which occurred in December over the holidays. She mentioned how surreal it had to be to appear on the front cover of a magazine that has featured some of the game’s all-time greats.

I used to see, like, LeBron on the cover, Kobe on the cover, Allen Iverson on the cover. And now I’m going to be on the cover.

–Paige Bueckers (per Slam video)

The video highlights one of the Royals’ biggest games on their regular season slate – a contest against arch rival Wayzata, billed as one of the most storied rivalries in Minnesota sports. Despite trailing 35-32 at the half – the first time Hopkins had trailed at halftime all season – the Royals rallied back to claim an 87-77 victory.

She mentioned winning a national title at UConn, getting drafted into the WNBA and playing in the Olympics as among what she wants to cross off her hoop dreams wish list going forward. If her high school fortunes are in any way indicative of what she will do at the next level, all of these items are matters of “when,” not “if.”

The end of the video also pays tribute to Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others whose lives were lost in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles on Jan. 26 – only four days removed from the Hopkins-Wayzata contest.

I’m just trying to rock out and live as you guys lived with passion, with love and just togetherness.

–Paige Bueckers (per Slam video)

You guys loved the game. You guys lived the game. And I just want to continue that and grow the game as Kobe wanted and rock out at UConn like GiGi wanted. And may you all rest in peace and I’m praying and loving your families and just let’s stick together through this tough time.

–Paige Bueckers (per Slam video)

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