Point Guard Puzzle

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diggerfoot

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As soon as Rizzotti put on a Husky uniform in the fall of 1992 she became a force. Even as a freshmen she was taking charge of the team, getting in the faces of those who held seniority over her when they needed to play or practice better. She in fact played more minutes as a freshmen than her junior year when she led UConn to its first championship. I do not know happened with point guards before Rizzotti but, for a decade after her, the point guard continued to be the most likely position where Auriemma was prone to start promising players as soon as they got on campus. Rita Williams was next, though admittedly she spent a year at a community college first for academic reasons. Then came Bird, who also started when she first arrived. Some of that may be due to an injury to Walters, but she also was a freshmen. Then came Montgomery starting as a freshmen.....

Then came the back-to-back perfect seasons and things changed. No point guards have started as a freshmen since, even though Hartley, Jefferson and Dangerfield were generally more highly regarded coming out of high school than their predecessors. I don't think that is coincidence. Both the 01-02 and back-to-back seasons led to changes in coaching philosophies from what I could observe. However, now we have our most highly regarded point guard of all time coming into the program. Does Auriemma go back to his old ways? Or does he stick with more recent trend of not starting freshmen point guards?

I am not going to comment on changes in coaching philosophies, but my vote is that Bueckers will be a throw back to the earlier days of starting the point guard of the future right away. It goes beyond talent in my view. We have had plenty of talent come in. Bueckers appears to possess innate leadership qualities that equips her for being told "if anything goes wrong it's your fault."

What do you think? Will Auriemma revert back to earlier times and start Bueckers right away? Or will he go with his more recent tendency to bring a highly regarded point guard recruit off the bench?
 

MSGRET

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As soon as Rizzotti put on a Husky uniform in the fall of 1992 she became a force. Even as a freshmen she was taking charge of the team, getting in the faces of those who held seniority over her when they needed to play or practice better. She in fact played more minutes as a freshmen than her junior year when she led UConn to its first championship. I do not know happened with point guards before Rizzotti but, for a decade after her, the point guard continued to be the most likely position where Auriemma was prone to start promising players as soon as they got on campus. Rita Williams was next, though admittedly she spent a year at a community college first for academic reasons. Then came Bird, who also started when she first arrived. Some of that may be due to an injury to Walters, but she also was a freshmen. Then came Montgomery starting as a freshmen.....

Then came the back-to-back perfect seasons and things changed. No point guards have started as a freshmen since, even though Hartley, Jefferson and Dangerfield were generally more highly regarded coming out of high school than their predecessors. I don't think that is coincidence. Both the 01-02 and back-to-back seasons led to changes in coaching philosophies from what I could observe. However, now we have our most highly regarded point guard of all time coming into the program. Does Auriemma go back to his old ways? Or does he stick with more recent trend of not starting freshmen point guards?

I am not going to comment on changes in coaching philosophies, but my vote is that Bueckers will be a throw back to the earlier days of starting the point guard of the future right away. It goes beyond talent in my view. We have had plenty of talent come in. Bueckers appears to possess innate leadership qualities that equips her for being told "if anything goes wrong it's your fault."

What do you think? Will Auriemma revert back to earlier times and start Bueckers right away? Or will he go with his more recent tendency to bring a highly regarded point guard recruit off the bench?
I believe that Paige might be a starter from the beginning. She has shown that she can play in almost any situation, being the MVP of FIBA U19 for Team USA Basketball, playing then starting as an eighth grader for the Hopkins Royals, outstanding AAU play, considered the best player in the nation for the class of 2020. Pressure doesn't seem to bother her at all and she seems to be able to lead any team be it either high school, AAU, or Team USA.
 

oldude

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Don’t know if Paige starts Day 1, but I do think she starts sometime during her freshman season. One thing is for sure. If Paige starts next year it won’t be by default. She’s going to have to earn it. Nika is very good and she comes with pro experience. Evina too can play pg, although she may be more effective at the wing.
 
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Don’t know if Paige starts Day 1, but I do think she starts sometime during her freshman season. One thing is for sure. If Paige starts next year it won’t be by default. She’s going to have to earn it. Nika is very good and she comes with pro experience. Evina too can play pg, although she may be more effective at the wing.
Excellent! In the euphoria over landing Paige, many are forgetting that perhaps Europe’s most promising point guard is also coming. Between Paige, Nika, Westbrook and Williams, there is tremendous competition at the one and two.
 
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Is DT a starter in UConn 2000-2001 year?
If DT is a starter in her freshman year why not Paige?
 
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If the 18 year old Jen Rizzotti showed up in Storrs next season she would be my starting point guard. She was known for her leadership skills and the intensity she brought to games and practices which is something this group needs. I’m hoping that Paige will have these qualities and if she does she will be a team leader from very early on.
 

nwhoopfan

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Is DT a starter in UConn 2000-2001 year?
If DT is a starter in her freshman year why not Paige?
I don't think DT was a starter until late in the year due to several injuries. She was a super sub though. I know for certain she wasn't a starter at the beginning of her Fr. year. UConn played the West Coast Huskies early in the year, I was at the game and I was amazed they had a player that good coming off the bench.
 
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Recently Geno was quoted as saying that Moore was the only freshman who was ready from day one of practice and she didn't start until an injury occurred. I think Bueckers is ready to start for UConn today but I expect that she will sub into next year's opening game. At some point in the season though she is likely to start.
 
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My hunch is that Paige won't start day 1, but could start by mid-to-late regular season. Lots of variables such as how Anna develops, how healthy and up to speed EW is at season's start, where is CW and then is there a true viable 4 that can play alongside Liv and move Megan to the 3, where I think she will do much better. As most posters have mentioned, what the starting 5 will look like and how the rotation plays out will be interesting indeed. My prediction for start of the season would be:

Westbrook
CW
Walker
Anna
Liv

Late in season:

Paige
Westbrook (if fully healthy and CW does not make improvements from Soph yr)/CW (if she makes improvement from soph to junior year like Meg did)
Liv
Walker
Edwards
 
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If Evina Westbrook is a true wing player, I don't see her replacing Megan Walker at the wing. As I see it, we need a replacement at the PG position (for CD), and a definitive 4 slot. Right now, I feel we have a starting SG (CW), a Center (ONO), and a Wing (MW). I can't see Westbrook at the 4. Maybe playing the point may be in the cards, but I see Evina then battling Paige for playing time at the PG slot. We still need a true 4. Maybe Geno uses a rotation of Aubrey and Anna at the 4.

Don’t know if Paige starts Day 1, but I do think she starts sometime during her freshman season. One thing is for sure. If Paige starts next year it won’t be by default. She’s going to have to earn it. Nika is very good and she comes with pro experience. Evina too can play pg, although she may be more effective at the wing.
 

oldude

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If Evina Westbrook is a true wing player, I don't see her replacing Megan Walker at the wing. As I see it, we need a replacement at the PG position (for CD), and a definitive 4 slot. Right now, I feel we have a starting SG (CW), a Center (ONO), and a Wing (MW). I can't see Westbrook at the 4. Maybe playing the point may be in the cards, but I see Evina then battling Paige for playing time at the PG slot. We still need a true 4. Maybe Geno uses a rotation of Aubrey and Anna at the 4.
Megan is currently playing the power forward spot. Anna is playing at the wing.
 

RockyMTblue2

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Geno has talked about the pressure Paige will be under as the freshman wunderkind.

“She is going to be under a lot of pressure,” Auriemma said. "She is going to be under the same kind of pressure [Stewart] was, the same kind of pressure [Taurasi] was. A kid coming out of high school that is supposed to be all-everything, God’s gift to everything, and she is going to have to live with that every single day. That is not easy for a kid.”

“When [Stewart] was a freshman, she took that hard, because the game was so easy in November and everybody was like, ‘Damn, this kid is the like second coming.’ Until reality set in and it was like, ‘Damn, this is going to really hard.’ Paige is in for that. The expectations for her are going to be through the roof. She is going to be great, and she is going to struggle. Look how many struggles [Taurasi] had as a freshman. [Stewart]. Rebecca [Lobo]. Everyone."


Do you think Geno has in mind today whether Paige will start next fall? I have to think that Geno et al will get a strong inkling in preseason practice and exhibition games. Tough call. Start her and end up changing that by December and maybe bruise Paige's sports psyche. And there is the other player - start as PG and then move over for Paige. Lots of considerations afoot, but ultimately you have to give them the ball and say go play.

I'm guessing she starts next fall.
 

meyers7

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As soon as Rizzotti put on a Husky uniform in the fall of 1992 she became a force. Even as a freshmen she was taking charge of the team, getting in the faces of those who held seniority over her when they needed to play or practice better. She in fact played more minutes as a freshmen than her junior year when she led UConn to its first championship. I do not know happened with point guards before Rizzotti but, for a decade after her, the point guard continued to be the most likely position where Auriemma was prone to start promising players as soon as they got on campus. Rita Williams was next, though admittedly she spent a year at a community college first for academic reasons. Then came Bird, who also started when she first arrived. Some of that may be due to an injury to Walters, but she also was a freshmen. Then came Montgomery starting as a freshmen.....

Then came the back-to-back perfect seasons and things changed. No point guards have started as a freshmen since, even though Hartley, Jefferson and Dangerfield were generally more highly regarded coming out of high school than their predecessors. I don't think that is coincidence. Both the 01-02 and back-to-back seasons led to changes in coaching philosophies from what I could observe. However, now we have our most highly regarded point guard of all time coming into the program. Does Auriemma go back to his old ways? Or does he stick with more recent trend of not starting freshmen point guards?

I am not going to comment on changes in coaching philosophies, but my vote is that Bueckers will be a throw back to the earlier days of starting the point guard of the future right away. It goes beyond talent in my view. We have had plenty of talent come in. Bueckers appears to possess innate leadership qualities that equips her for being told "if anything goes wrong it's your fault."

What do you think? Will Auriemma revert back to earlier times and start Bueckers right away? Or will he go with his more recent tendency to bring a highly regarded point guard recruit off the bench?
It has some to do with the FR, but also who is on the team when the FR comes in. Hartley did start 34 games as a FR. You had Doty who was injured and Dixon, who was better coming off the bench.

Jefferson came in with 5th year Sr Doty and Hartley on the team.

Dangerfield did start 6 games but came in with SR Chong on the team. (and Nurse as a Jr who could run things too)

Williams came in with Rizzotti as a SR, she took over as a Jr (her 2nd year)

Sue Bird came in with Glenney as a So and really the only PG. Duran, Abrlic and Ralph were more 2 guards. And Bird and Walters both ended up injured.

DT came in with Bird as PG (Jr). Then she and Conlon split duties their Jr/Sr years.

Montgomery came in with Swanier as a So. And Renee was just much better.

Bueckers will come in next year with Westbrook (??) and possibly Makurat who could run the point. So I'd say she has a chance to start. She's coming in without an established prior PG. Bueckers, I believe, could also play the 2. Muhl is a PG through and through. It will be interesting to see what happens.
 
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My hunch is that Paige won't start day 1, but could start by mid-to-late regular season. Lots of variables such as how Anna develops, how healthy and up to speed EW is at season's start, where is CW and then is there a true viable 4 that can play alongside Liv and move Megan to the 3, where I think she will do much better. As most posters have mentioned, what the starting 5 will look like and how the rotation plays out will be interesting indeed. My prediction for start of the season would be:

Westbrook
CW
Walker
Anna
Liv

Late in season:

Paige
Westbrook (if fully healthy and CW does not make improvements from Soph yr)/CW (if she makes improvement from soph to junior year like Meg did)
Liv
Walker
Edwards
Ditto for Anna! She has to get in the weight room and slim down some, so she is quicker.
 
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As soon as Rizzotti put on a Husky uniform in the fall of 1992 she became a force. Even as a freshmen she was taking charge of the team, getting in the faces of those who held seniority over her when they needed to play or practice better. She in fact played more minutes as a freshmen than her junior year when she led UConn to its first championship. I do not know happened with point guards before Rizzotti but, for a decade after her, the point guard continued to be the most likely position where Auriemma was prone to start promising players as soon as they got on campus. Rita Williams was next, though admittedly she spent a year at a community college first for academic reasons. Then came Bird, who also started when she first arrived. Some of that may be due to an injury to Walters, but she also was a freshmen. Then came Montgomery starting as a freshmen.....

Then came the back-to-back perfect seasons and things changed. No point guards have started as a freshmen since, even though Hartley, Jefferson and Dangerfield were generally more highly regarded coming out of high school than their predecessors. I don't think that is coincidence. Both the 01-02 and back-to-back seasons led to changes in coaching philosophies from what I could observe. However, now we have our most highly regarded point guard of all time coming into the program. Does Auriemma go back to his old ways? Or does he stick with more recent trend of not starting freshmen point guards?

I am not going to comment on changes in coaching philosophies, but my vote is that Bueckers will be a throw back to the earlier days of starting the point guard of the future right away. It goes beyond talent in my view. We have had plenty of talent come in. Bueckers appears to possess innate leadership qualities that equips her for being told "if anything goes wrong it's your fault."

What do you think? Will Auriemma revert back to earlier times and start Bueckers right away? Or will he go with his more recent tendency to bring a highly regarded point guard recruit off the bench?
So well said. Bueckers definitely seems to be very much running the show whenever I see a video clip of her and she seems to ooze leadership. That's something sorely missing in this year's team. She will definitely be a difference maker, in my estimation.
 
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Geno has talked about the pressure Paige will be under as the freshman wunderkind.

“She is going to be under a lot of pressure,” Auriemma said. "She is going to be under the same kind of pressure [Stewart] was, the same kind of pressure [Taurasi] was. A kid coming out of high school that is supposed to be all-everything, God’s gift to everything, and she is going to have to live with that every single day. That is not easy for a kid.”

“When [Stewart] was a freshman, she took that hard, because the game was so easy in November and everybody was like, ‘Damn, this kid is the like second coming.’ Until reality set in and it was like, ‘Damn, this is going to really hard.’ Paige is in for that. The expectations for her are going to be through the roof. She is going to be great, and she is going to struggle. Look how many struggles [Taurasi] had as a freshman. [Stewart]. Rebecca [Lobo]. Everyone."


Do you think Geno has in mind today whether Paige will start next fall? I have to think that Geno et al will get a strong inkling in preseason practice and exhibition games. Tough call. Start her and end up changing that by December and maybe bruise Paige's sports psyche. And there is the other player - start as PG and then move over for Paige. Lots of considerations afoot, but ultimately you have to give them the ball and say go play.

I'm guessing she starts next fall.
Everyone struggled except Maya Moore. I never saw Maya where she wasn't totally composed and handling any circumstance on the floor that even a well seasoned senior might struggle with. She was definitely a one in a million and as such, my favorite Huskie ever. The closest thing to perfection that's ever put on a UConn uniform.
 
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Geno has talked about the pressure Paige will be under as the freshman wunderkind.

“She is going to be under a lot of pressure,” Auriemma said. "She is going to be under the same kind of pressure [Stewart] was, the same kind of pressure [Taurasi] was. A kid coming out of high school that is supposed to be all-everything, God’s gift to everything, and she is going to have to live with that every single day. That is not easy for a kid.”

“When [Stewart] was a freshman, she took that hard, because the game was so easy in November and everybody was like, ‘Damn, this kid is the like second coming.’ Until reality set in and it was like, ‘Damn, this is going to really hard.’ Paige is in for that. The expectations for her are going to be through the roof. She is going to be great, and she is going to struggle. Look how many struggles [Taurasi] had as a freshman. [Stewart]. Rebecca [Lobo]. Everyone."

[
the great thing about PB is that when her shooting is off she still makes the team better with her remarkable passing..................kind of similar to AM but much more athletic and I believe a more consistent shooter
 
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I am so looking forward to next year. I am hoping this year will seem like a bad dream. Anyway, my favorite part of next year is talking PG. I think it will look more like a cadre of offense initiating play makers that will keep all opponents wondering who is actually "playing the role" of PG until the bucket is drained and assist counted. Paige, Nika, Anna, and Evina will share the duties I predict and it should be fun to watch when the chemistry gels. I'm not sure who starts will matter very much.

It's clearly all in Paige's hands if she can grasp the offense and effectively lead the team. Totally doable. I hope she turns out to be if Sue and DT had a love child good...
 

diggerfoot

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It has some to do with the FR, but also who is on the team when the FR comes in. Hartley did start 34 games as a FR. You had Doty who was injured and Dixon, who was better coming off the bench.
Thanks for the correction. Did Doty start come tournament time? Is that what I am thinking about?
Everyone struggled except Maya Moore. I never saw Maya where she wasn't totally composed and handling any circumstance on the floor that even a well seasoned senior might struggle with. She was definitely a one in a million and as such, my favorite Huskie ever. The closest thing to perfection that's ever put on a UConn uniform.
I don't think Rizzotti struggled as a freshmen. She averaged more minutes and scoring than she did as a junior, when she was on the championship team. I also don't think Sales struggled as a freshman. If she doesn't count because of not starting I get that, but Rizzotti played like an upperclassmen from the start.
 

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