April 6, 2012

Pitts always thinking about tomorrow

Kevin McCarthy

Similar to that General Electric catchphrase of yore, progress is the most important product for young basketball players. In that context, meet improvement prototype Elliot Pitts.

photo of Elliott Pitts

It's all coming together for the De La Salle (DLS) junior and Bay Area Hoosier talent. As a natural development, he's grown a couple of inches to the 6-foot-5/6-foot-6 range but the advancement towards reaching his skills potential has come through the proverbial time in a gym. His effort has resulted in the first team All-East Bay Athletic League honoree dramatically extending his effect on the court.

"A year ago, my role was to score six or seven points a game and rebound," Pitts explained. "I didn't need to score so much."

He continued, "This season, a lot has changed. I was at 16-17 points a game because we graduated some players and I worked on my game and improved my shot."

As for next season, "I really understand what I need to do. Earlier, I didn't have a leadership role but next year, I'm the main guy. I need to be a leader on and off the court. I lead more with my actions but I'm working on my vocal skills, in letting teammates know what they are doing right and wrong."

Growth has been the key.

Asked to compare himself personally as a freshman entering high school and now as a senior-to-be, Pitts said "my people skills have definitely gotten a lot better. I was kind of shy as a freshman but now I excel in speaking with teachers and coaches."

But he also possesses a hunger, the factor that is the motor to his development.

As Pitts simply says, "I want to be one of the best."

On this subject, Philippe Doherty, the co-coach of the Hoosiers is straightforward in assessing his player's reach.

"Elliott has been a one, two, three and four in high school, he'll be a one and a two at the next level and a one in the NBA."

California, Georgetown, UCLA and Arizona State are just a few of the long list of Pitts' suitors who would likely concur with such an assessment.

Doherty added, "Elliott is efficient offensively -- he doesn't require a lot of shots to score his points. Plus, he can really pass and has great vision, and he's also grown and gotten really long."

Pitts credits a multitude of factors and people behind the development.

"My parents have always played a big role," he acknowledged. "They both played college basketball and my Dad played [professionally] overseas. When I can't get to the De La Salle gym, they help in finding one to practice in and they'll also rebound for me when I'm working on my shooting."

Being a member of the Frank Allocco brigade at DLS has also aided in Pitts' preparation for the next step up.

"We don't take bad shots," he explained. "We shoot when our offense has gotten us open or there's just no one around us."

Plus, Pitts does something that is not exactly a mainstay in prep hoops, winter, spring or summer.

"I make it an emphasis to play defense, even in AAU ball," he said, obviously a carryover from his high school season where fundamentals are commandments.

About all those colleges in pursuit, Pitts has specific ideas on what he is looking for: "I want to connect with all of my coaches, play in a style suited for my skills and, although I want to play in the NBA , I want to go to a college where I will have [employment] opportunities afterwards."

So why roundball and not another sport or sports for Pitts?

His answer: "I also played a little football and some soccer but basketball stuck with me because I thought I could excel in it."

If the NBA doesn't work out for some reason, it sounds like Pitts has a future in forecasting.