Sophomore Azzi Fudd named 2019 Gatorade National Girls' Basketball Player of the Year
Azzi Fudd wasn't sure why she was pulled out of chemistry class on Tuesday afternoon.
Her teacher instructed Fudd to tuck in her shirt before whisking her down the hallway at St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C. When Fudd turned the corner, she was met by a mass of people -- her teammates, parents and WNBA star Elena Delle Donne holding a giant trophy.
Fudd, a 5-foot-11 guard and the No. 1 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Terrific 25 for the 2021 class, was being presented with the Gatorade National Girls' Basketball Player of the Year award. After a few seconds of confusion, realization dawned for Fudd about what was happening. An emotional Fudd accepted the trophy from Delle Donne.
"It's so humbling," Fudd said in a phone interview. "And it's motivation to keep working harder."
Fudd is the first sophomore to win Gatorade's national basketball award since its inception in 1985-86, and the only sophomore athlete to do so outside of track and cross country. Just four sophomores have won the track and cross country national award, so Fudd has gained entrance to an exclusive club.
"It was a cool moment," Delle Donne said of her surprise presentation. "I know all the work she's put in and all the sacrifices she's made, so it's cool to be there for the celebration."
Fudd averaged 26.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists for St. John's this season and led the team to a 35-1 record and the District of Columbia State Athletic Association championship. The second-ranked Cadets are also among the field of four competing at the GEICO High School Nationals next month in New York.
Previous winners of the Gatorade national player of the year award include Christyn Williams (2018), Breanna Stewart (2012), Maya Moore (2007) and Candace Parker (2003-04).
Fudd was also the only sophomore on the under-17 USA Basketball team that won a gold medal over the summer at the FIBA under-17 World Cup in Belarus. She is the first sophomore finalist for the Naismith award.