USA TODAY High School Sports has unveiled the ALL-USA Girls Basketball Teams for the 2018-19 season as selected by the USA TODAY Sports staff in consultation with high school coaches and recruiting experts.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Audrey Taylor, Franklin
Name: Azzi Fudd
School: St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.)
Details: Though she’s just a sophomore, Azzi Fudd was the best player in the country this season. She led No. 2 St. John’s College to a 35-1 record, a WCAC championship, a DCSAA title and an appearance in the GEICO Nationals while averaging 26.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
After playing against girls two years older for the majority of her career – Fudd played on a third-grade team while in first grade because her age group didn’t have one – she feels her growth was accelerated against the stronger, smarter and more experienced competition.
Fudd is an elite player on offense and often guarded the best player on the defensive end, something she takes pride in.
It wasn’t until fifth or sixth grade that she began to realize how talented she was.
“My parents sat me down. They were like, ‘Do you think you’re good?’ and I was just like, ‘Yeah, I’m OK, I’m alright,’” Fudd recalled. “They needed to tell me, like, ‘You are good, you need to have confidence in yourself and you can’t be super passive all the time. You need to believe that you’re going to make the shot.’ … I was still doubting myself a little bit but playing around eight grade, I started to realize I was actually kind of good.
This “kind of good” player led her team over perennial contenders including Bishop McNamara and Paul VI for the team’s third-straight title
I don’t like bragging, or cocky people. I don’t ever want to have a big head, if I ever do I want people to tell me that and tell me that I need to control myself,” Fudd said.
The following answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
Biggest strength on the court: I take pride in my defense. I don’t like when people say I’m just a scorer, I hate when people say that. Yeah, I can score, I really like my jumpshot, but I also enjoy guarding the best player on the other team and trying to shut them down.
Biggest weakness: I need to work on my counter moves. Sometimes when I drive and attack, a defender will stop me and I’ll pick up the ball, and I’ll pass it or I won’t probe for another second to see if I can attack.
Favorite food: My absolute favorite meal is chicken parmesan, but my favorite favorite is when my grandpa makes it. He has a special type of breading and his own tomato sauce. I only get it a few times a year.
Favorite class: I really like math. I’m in honors algebra two.
Worst sport: I’m really bad at golf. I like putt-putt but we went to Top Golf once and it was bad.
Best on-court moment this season: Probably the WCAC championship game, when I don’t know if it was Malu (Tshitenge-Mutombo) hitting free throws or me, but it was clear — we were just down and got the lead back up with only a little bit of time left. She said something like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re really doing this!’ and she started squealing in the middle of the game… But also after the game, it was me, Carly (Rivera) and Malu, and we just hugged. It was also really sad because at the time we didn’t know we were going to GEICO Nationals so it was our last game of the season and I had played with them basically since I started playing basketball.
Boys Coach of the Year: Mike Thompson, McEachern
Boys Player of the Year: Sharife Cooper, McEachern
LOOKBACK: 2017-18 ALL-USA Girls Basketball Team