WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne Presents Winner with Honor
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Azzi Fudd of St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C. is the 2018-19 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Fudd won the award for her accomplishments on and off the court, joining a group of former Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners that includes two WNBA Hall of Famers and 12 WNBA first round draft picks who collectively won 13 WNBA MVPs and made 46 All-Star appearances.
Fudd was presented with the award at her school among teammates, friends, family and coaches by WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne. Check out a video of the announcement here.
“I had so much fun celebrating with Azzi Fudd after she was named the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award and welcoming her into our prestigious family of winners,” said Donne. “To be recognized by Gatorade is a statement that you are one of the best athletes in the nation. There is no greater honor in high school sports.”
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Fudd as the nation’s best high school girls basketball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Fudd from nearly 415,000 high school basketball players nationwide. Fudd is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
“What separates Azzi is the maturity of her game, because it’s not at all high school-like,” said Kevin Lynch, national talent evaluator for Blue Star Basketball. “She’s been a gym rat all her life and she’s doing things that no other kid in high school can do. She handles. Her pull-up J is money. She’s unselfish, plays lockdown D and has an uncanny sense of when she needs to step up and take a game over. She reminds me of (10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist) Sue Bird, who at a certain point in a game would say, ‘It’s time for me to settle this.'”
The 5-foot-11, combo guard had a historic season, averaging 26.1 points, 2.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.9 blocks. She is also the returning Gatorade Player of the Year, a member of the USA Basketball U17 Women’s World Cup Team and is ranked No.1 for ESPN’s Class of 2021.
Moreover, Fudd is active in her community, having served as planner and host of the “Hoop for a Cure” basketball clinic to raise money for the Pat Summit Foundation, while also mentoring local youth, and volunteering at local youth basketball camps and at the Catholic Youth Organization. She accomplished these athletic feats, all while maintaining a 3.68 GPA.
“There are more than 400,000 student-athletes who play girls basketball so the competition for this award is fierce,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “Azzi Fudd set herself apart with accomplishments on and off the court, which is the epitome of what Gatorade Player of the Year is about.”
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Fudd has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
SOURCE The Gatorade Company