COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Azzi Fudd has yet to even play a high school basketball game and she’s the top recruit in the 2021 class. Not only has she gained notoriety from colleges before stepping on a high school campus, she’s earned recognition from her country playing for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 team.
Fudd is the only class of 2021 player to make the team and it’s not really surprising. Already a national champion in 14U girls’ flag football she is extremely athletic. The player that the 5-11, guard strives to be like is Maya Moore, and with her abilities at 14, it’s easy to see why she strives for such greatness.
“The one thing she is not lacking is a physical presence; she’s really strong for a 14-year-old,” Team USA head coach Carla Berube said. “Mentally, she doesn’t talk enough on the floor which is just youth, but she’s savvy and a great ballhandler. She shoots the ball very well, she’s a strong defender and she has a complete game.”
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Fudd, considered by many to be the top-ranked player in the Class of 2021, pointed to a specific reason why she thinks that she made the team.
“Every session I went my hardest and tried my best,” said Fudd, from The Potomac School (McLean, Va.). “There were a few that I could’ve done better but I made it to the next session and viewed it as a fresh start. I tried to forget about the past and go hard again. I felt like some of the other kids my age didn’t have a good day then that made them nervous the next day.”
That short-term memory that helped her through tryouts she noted will help her the rest of her career and age certainly isn’t going to delay her possible stardom.
“I’m trying to make an impact, age doesn’t matter on the court,” Fudd said. “It’s about skill level. When I’m on the court I’m not thinking about how they’re older than me, I just play.”
Fudd doesn’t see herself as a prodigy or that unique. She’s goal-oriented and she’s been taught that it doesn’t matter what her talent has provided her if she doesn’t take advantage of it.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a natural. I work for it and everyone here puts in the work,” Fudd said. “To be on a USA team you have to put in the work you can’t just take days off. I want to be an Olympian someday and they do not take days off.”
The 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championships started Wednesday in Argentina, and Fudd scored a modest eight points in 22 minutes.
Regardless of how she plays moving forward, this has already been an overwhelmingly positive experience for her.
“Azzi is in a great situation,” Berube said. “Being this young and having some great players to learn from.
“Azzi is a confident kid for 14-years-old and she’s not afraid to ask questions, she’s a super great kid.”
Azzi has taken to Samantha Brunelle—the top commit for the class of 2021—in her journey to South America. The two, each proud to represent their country, are seen as the future of women’s basketball.
“It’s incredible, I’m so excited to go to Argentina and represent,” Fudd said.