Haley Jones, Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd installed as top women's basketball prospects
The three women's basketball prospects and FIBA U17 World Cup champions take over the top spots in the annual flip of the espnW HoopGurlz rankings for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes.
Jones, an undeclared 6-foot-1 wing in the 2019 class and the reigning California Gatorade player of the year, kept her foot on the gas this summer after averaging 21.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a junior at national powerhouse Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, California). She started all seven games for USA Basketball in Belarus and averaged 10.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists to earn a spot on the tournament's all-star team.
Jones plays with consistency and confidence. In addition to her ability to carry a team on her back, she has developed into a leader who can make those around her better.
Bueckers, an undeclared 5-foot-10 point guard in the 2020 class, started all seven games in Belarus alongside Jones. She averaged 9.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds. Her assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.13 was the best in the tournament. That seven-game statement followed a sophomore season at Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minnesota) in which she averaged 22.3 points, 6.8 assists and 5.9 rebounds and was named the Minnesota Gatorade player of the year.
Added height and strength have propelled Bueckers to the top of her class. She has superb court vision, swagger and poise. She's a playmaker who puts up numbers on both ends of the floor.
As for Fudd, she has been the presumptive 2021 No. 1 for more than a year and has been hearing comparisons to Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi for even longer. She was the youngest member of the USA Basketball U17 team, but she started all seven games and averaged 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists. She led all players in 3-point field goal percentage, hitting 9-of-16 attempts, and was perfect (5-for-5) from the free throw line. As a freshman at St. John's College High School, Fudd averaged 24.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists. She was the first freshman to win Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player honors.
On offense, Fudd is automatic. She has the best pull-up jumper of anybody in any high school class. She also has contagious enthusiasm and is a blossoming superstar.
Other notable movers in the annual shuffle:
- Jordan Horston, a 6-foot-1 guard at Africentric (Columbus, Ohio) who earned MVP honors at the FIBA U17 World Cup, moves up to No. 2 in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100.
- Aijha Blackwell, a 6-foot guard who was part of the USA Basketball U18 team that won gold at the FIBA Americas in Mexico City, soars from No. 22 in the 2019 class to No. 8.
- Fran Belibi, a 6-foot-1 Stanford recruit who has made national headlines by dunking with ease at Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colorado), moves from No. 33 to No. 23 in the 2019 class.
- Angel Reese, a 6-foot-3 forward at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, leaps from No. 18 to No. 5 in the espnW HoopGurlz Super 60 for the 2020 class.
- Leilani Kapinus, a 5-foot-10 guard at James Madison Memorial in Madison, Wisconsin, makes her debut in the 2020 rankings at No. 9.