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UConn’s James Bouknight out indefinitely

Surgery has sidelined the potential NBA Draft lottery pick

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Connecticut’s triumphant return to the Big East has been highlighted by Dan Hurley’s gem of his 2019 recruiting class, James Bouknight.

Bouknight, who was recently named to the Midseason Top 25 for the Wooden Award, suffered an apparent elbow injury in the Huskies’ dramatic win against Marquette in Milwaukee on January 5th. Up to that point, he’d been averaging 23.2 points per game on efficient averages from the field. He struggled to score against Marquette, but continued to make winning plays through his passing instincts and defensive effort.

Hurley and his staff seemed to dance around media questions regarding Bouknight’s availability over the past few games, but claimed his injury was only a hyper-extended elbow. However, confirmed sources reported that Bouknight underwent surgery on his left elbow Tuesday night. There is no timetable for Bouknight’s return, which leaves the Huskies without their leading scorer until further notice.

Bouknight, who chose the Huskies over offers from Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, and Miami, among others, came to UConn in 2019 determined to aide Hurley in rebuilding UConn to the national power it used to be.

Following a torn left meniscus in January during his senior year of high school, Bouknight was debatably overlooked by certain programs when it came to recruiting for the 2019 class. Hurley claims that the UConn staff were concerned with “blue bloods” like Duke and Kentucky getting involved with Bouknight’s recruitment once the programs were able to look past his injury concerns.

Luckily for the Husky faithful, Hurley ended up getting his guy. Not only did he get his guy, but he might’ve gotten UConn’s first NBA Draft lottery pick since Jeremy Lamb in 2012. Bouknight’s above-the-rim athleticism is reminiscent of the high-flyers that were jumping through Storrs in the “old days”. His skills to create plays off-the-dribble combined with the ability to score from everywhere on the floors makes him lethal on the offensive-end. In addition, his court-vision and defensive potential make him a viable candidate to be selected in the upper-half of the upcoming NBA draft.

NCAA Basketball: Hartford at Connecticut
UConn guard James Bouknight (2) drives past Hartford’s PJ Henry (11) in a decisive Huskies win.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

But, for right now, the Huskies have their eyes set on Big East conference-play. Losing Bouknight for an extended period of time will force others to step up on the offensive-end. Obvious candidates include Howard-transfer R.J. Cole and Rhode-Island transfer Tyrese Martin. Cole, who scored over 1,500 points at Howard in 2 years before transferring to UConn, has struggled to start the season. Martin, who carried the Huskies in their latest win over DePaul with 18 points, could also be a go-to guy. Tyler Polley will also be looking to stay involved in Bouknight’s absence, as she has been lights-out from beyond the arc the past couple games.

UConn returns to a Bouknight-less world this coming Monday against St. John’s at home.