One of UConn’s most highly-anticipated recruiting battles in recent memory is nearing a conclusion. Azzi Fudd, the top player in the class of 2021, is planning to commit prior to the early signing day on Nov. 11 and, according to Sports Illustrated, she will decide between UConn and UCLA.
UPDATE: According to Hearst CT, Fudd is actually down to UConn, UCLA, Louisville and Maryland.
“The college recruiting process, it’s been weighing on me. I don’t know what to do. I’m down to my last few schools, which is progress,” she said in a video series with Slam. “Just thinking that the November signing day is coming up, it’s scary that I have to make a decision that’s deciding the rest of my life almost.”
A 5-foot-11 guard out of Washington, DC, Fudd is one of the most prolific prospects in the last decade. While UConn’s Paige Bueckers, the No. 1 player in the 2020 class, was regarded as the best high school player since A’ja Wilson or Breanna Stewart, Fudd is considered just as good, if not better than Bueckers, depending on who you ask.
Despite tearing her ACL and MCL in April 2019, Fudd’s stature hasn’t changed. ESPN’s latest scouting report described her as hybrid of Kara Lawson and Katie Smith:
Fundamentally, she has no holes in her game. As a three-level scorer, she is a tough matchup for anyone. She is a knock-down 3-point shooter (remember the viral video of her making 268 3s in an 18-minute workout?), has had a money pull-up jumper since middle school and can finish at the rim with contact among the best of them. She has a naturally strong frame that lends to efficient rebounding and helps her be a gritty defender...Fudd has a poise and maturity that allows her to be a big-time shot maker.
On her list of accomplishments so far, Fudd won the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2019 and the DC Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018. She’s also played with the US National Team at the youth level, where she captured the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup.
Fudd also has a well-documented friendship with Bueckers. The two played on Team USA together, work out with each other often, and compete on and off the basketball court. Last December, Fudd visited Storrs and sat with Bueckers and Caroline Ducharme — one of the Huskies’ 2021 commits — when UConn played Notre Dame. Bueckers has actively recruited Fudd on social media, though the connection could work against the Huskies.
“I love playing with [Bueckers], but she’s also a lot of fun to play against,” Fudd told ESPN in February. “So I feel like it’s a win-win situation wherever I go.”
Maryland has long been seen as a contender for Fudd since it was the first school to give her a scholarship offer in eighth grade, along with being the hometown school. Louisville has established itself as a strong program despite the lack of a national title while UCLA is a surprise darkhorse.
UConn currently has two scholarships open for the 2021-22 season. Barring any unexpected departures to the WNBA or transfers, the Huskies will return the same roster from this season while also adding a recruiting class that is already ranked No. 3 in the nation by ESPN.
UConn has three players committed in its 2021 class: Guards Ducharme (No. 5 player in the class) and Saylor Poffenbarger (No. 30), as well post/center Amari DeBerry (No. 15).