Azzi Fudd and the UConn women’s basketball team have made it to The Final Four, the biggest stage in college hoops.
And the 19-year-old freshman guard has proven she is ready for the spotlight.
At just 15 years old, Fudd became one of the first young women ever invited to Steph Curry’s SC30 Select Camp.
“It meant a lot to be one of the first two women invited to Steph's camp,” Fudd said as part of NBC Sports Bay Area's feature on Celebrating Women's History. “It was a surreal experience. Once I got there, my nerves were through the roof. The camp was so much fun. Just getting to see Steph, we got to watch him and interact with him throughout the camp.”
After winning the three-point contest and being a standout at the camp, Fudd signed a NIL contract with Curry's brand, SC30 Inc, becoming the first college player to sign that type of deal.
Steph’s mentorship, guidance and friendship along the way has set up Fudd for early success. And in her freshman season, she has found herself in the perfect position to steal the show in the NCAA tournament.
“Azzi was a special talent,” Curry said on the feature. “First time you see her play, just the way that she moves, the way that she shoots, she’s definitely an amazing talent that you can tell right away."
In her freshman year, Fudd is averaging 12.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 28.5 minutes.
In her first career start, the young guard went off for 25 points, including a remarkable 7-of-9 shooting from deep, in UConn's win over Tennessee on Feb. 6.
In what will be a familiar sight for the defending national champion Stanford Cardinal, Fudd will experience playing in the Final Four for the first time on Friday.
The winner will advance to the national championship and face the winner of the South Carolina-Louisville matchup also going down on Friday.
“She calls and texts every once in a while if she has any questions to ask about her game, about the season, about things I went through when I was in college. I can offer advice there,” Curry said.
“I told her I’m super impressed as a 19-year-old for her to even be in the mindset where she understands the opportunity that she has. Like when I was 19, I was trying to remember where my dorm was. I wasn’t even thinking this big in terms of the impact that I could have for the people looking up to me at that time. It’s impressive this generation how they’re handling things. I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Steph, alongside other NBA athletes, has increasingly shown their support for girls and women in sports.
And while there’s still a lot of work to be done, every step has made a huge difference.
“It means everything to see NBA players support women’s game,” Fudd said. “I mean, they dominate social media and everyone respects what they say so it sends a message to people that hate on the women’s game and it tells them to stop degrading the game, and stop trying to minimize us and criticize us just because we’re women. We are capable of great things too and we’re accomplishing great things. And if you really respect the game, you’ll respect the people that play it no matter their gender.”
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“Nobody’s looking for a handout, they’re just looking for an opportunity,” Curry said. “I think that’s hopefully the message and narrative that anybody can invest in the women’s game, can invest in women in general, can create level playing fields in any industry, in any category, and allow them to show their talent and their ability to drive and lead.”