By Morgan Bryce
Following his breakout senior season, former Opelika High School point guard Austin Pitts has announced that he will pursue a walk-on opportunity at the University of Alabama.
Averaging slightly more than 13 points per game, Pitts’ play was noticed by smaller schools, receiving offers from Gulf Coast Prep Academy in Mount Vernon, Alabama and DME Sports Academy of Daytona, Florida.
Despite the lack of overall game experience and his 5-foot 6-inch stature, Pitts said the allure of playing for the Crimson Tide’s up-and-coming basketball program led by Coach Avery Johnson was too great to turn down.
“I chose to walk on simply from my family’s (belief) … they felt it was best for me (and) I felt the same also. I accept the challenge as I know that I’m under sized but as I (say)all the time, it’s heart over height, and you always move with a purpose,” Pitts said of his decision to try out at Alabama. “We’re in this for the marathon not the sprint. And if put on the roster, Coach Avery Johnson would be a great person who could teach me how to get better mentally and physically at my position and (work with my) size also. (He’s a) great mentoring coach who’s been through all phases of basketball.”
Alabama’s basketball program has rebounded under Johnson’s leadership. Since the 2015 season, he has compiled a 57-46 overall record and guided the Crimson Tide to the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season.
Until Alabama’s walk-on tryouts Sept. 5, Pitts said he will continue his strenuous daily workouts in pursuit of a goal bigger than basketball.
“I see myself as the epitome of heart and hustle and that size doesn’t mean anything. Always chase your dreams … just cause one door is closed doesn’t mean God won’t open another one,” Pitts said. “I want the next kid who see themselves as being small to not be knocked by other guys who are bigger. Be bigger than them. This whole situation I’m doing is bigger than me. I’m going to give hope.”