Freshman star Sturdivant leading surging Bulldogs
When Andrea Sturdivant looks back on the start of her basketball career, she comes away a bit confused.
“I’m not sure why I even tried, considering how short I was,” the Fort Bend Austin freshman guard said.
Sturdivant was five years old. At the time, she liked to do whatever her older sister, Arianna, did. Arianna liked hoops, so she liked hoops.
While at Arianna’s practices, Sturdivant would grab a basketball and try doing anything she could possibly do.
“Besides putting it in the basket, of course,” she said.
Then, the hoop might as well have been as high as Mount Everest. Now, it’s seemingly as big as an ocean.
These days, Sturdivant has no problems putting the ball through the hoop, and she can do pretty much anything she wants with it as well. She is one of the top freshmen hoopers in the Greater Houston area, leading the upstart 22-5 Bulldogs in points (17.4), assists (3.7), and steals (3.1), while averaging 4.3 rebounds per game.
Sturdivant is a natural, gifted shot-maker, connecting on 64 of 200 3-pointers in 24 games. Her shooting makes up for her 5-foot-7 frame, and she's not just a spot-up specialist. She finds ways to create opportunities to shoot 3s., averaging 2.7 makes per game.
Sturdivant already holds the program single-game record for 3s made with seven. She has made four or more 3s in a game on five other occasions.
“All the different moves and ways to get a shot off,” Sturdivant said of what about the game comes naturally. “Just being able to make the right plays and passes, noticing different things on the court that other people might not see that gives an opportunity to change the scoreboard.”
Sturdivant watches a lot of another great shooter, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. It’s not so much Curry’s long-range prowess she admires as much as his mindset.
“Whenever he shoots the ball, he believes it’s going in, which makes other people also believe it’s going in,” Sturdivant said. “That can add a lot of confidence to your game. Even when he does miss, people don’t think too much about it and just say he’ll make the next. Move past it, and focus on the next shot he takes.”
Step back 3 training starting to show. Dad said working hard and shooting is in my DNA!!pic.twitter.com/7IcCE0ABNi— Andrea Sturdivant (@Andrea Sturdivant) 1621113943
Sturdivant spent last summer in the gym. She knew she’d be up to the task of competing for a varsity spot as a freshman, so she put in hours working on her game and making sure she was ready for it. She’s not just a one-dimensional dynamo. She is also adept at creating for others and playing the passing lanes.
Sturdivant’s biggest adjustment from eighth grade ball to varsity ball is the amount of practice she’s getting in now.
“I wasn’t expecting to have practice all week, and sometimes that can be quite tiring, but I work through it,” she said.
Sturdivant is still in the process of finding her way as a player, which is a scary thought for opponents.
She’s learning to control her emotions. Sturdivant said she can be sensitive when it comes to “serious conversations or topics that I don’t really want to be reminded of.”
She credits her parents and Arianna, now playing at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, for their support. She is appreciative of how far she’s come in the game and how much she’s improved from those days when she struggled to do anything with a basketball, anything to make Arianna proud.
And Sturdivant is grateful for her team, one with tremendous promise. Austin already holds a signature win over perennial power Dulles, and Sturdivant is motivated by the team’s determination to win.
“We wouldn’t have come so far without all the hard work we put onto the court,” she said.