The attention surrounding Paige Bueckers’ arrival to Storrs last season was nothing short of unprecedented. But Azzi Fudd, tabbed as another generational talent, arrived for her freshman season last month with a similar fanfare.
While their top recruit status and equally hyped arrivals will likely lead to a lot of comparisons between the two through the next two to four years at UConn, however unfair that is, Geno Auriemma has already made one thing clear: they’re “two different players.”
Bueckers’ game is a bit more of a flashy, while Fudd’s is a little more calculated.
“She catches it the same way and shoots it the same way. And because her footwork is always right, it always looks like its going in,” Auriemma said of Fudd.
That’s not all too surprising to hear, given her jump shot has been likened to Steph Curry’s on many occasions.
While Bueckers’ and Fudd’s games may be different on the court, Auriemma noted similarities in their personalities off the court.
“There’s an air of confidence that they walk around with. Azzi just walks around like she’s good. So she and Paige have that in common,” Auriemma said.
At the core of the best freshman season in program history from Bueckers was not just her talent, but her confidence and ability to consistently be unfazed. Expecting Fudd to exceed the season Bueckers just had would be unfathomable, but with Fudd being rumored to possess even more raw talent than Bueckers, the Huskies’ backcourt could be unstoppable if she brings the same level of confidence.
In addition to their confidence, Bueckers and Fudd have the ever allusive praise from Auriemma in common. The Huskies’ head coach rarely has really good things to say about his freshman, especially this early on, but he couldn’t help but gush over Fudd’s footwork after only a month of workouts.
“Her footwork is the kind of footwork that you would expect from someone going into the pros, someone who has spent three or four years perfecting that,” said Auriemma on Thursday. “That’s how good her footwork is.”
Auriemma also had positive things to stay about Fudd’s shooting.
“Her ability to to get shots off and the way the shot comes off every single time, the exact same way, I mean I knew it, but when you watch it on a regular basis, it’s pretty amazing,” Auriemma said.
That praise should be music to fans’ ears after UConn especially struggled with their three-point shooting last season. The Huskies’ ranked just 33rd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage last season and while their efficiency inside the arc ranked much higher among NCAA teams, it was heavily driven by UConn’s success around the basket. Fudd’s jump shot could be a big part of filling one of very few obvious holes from last year’s team.