Asia Potts’ mother didn’t believe her daughter scored over 1,000 points during her basketball career at Rock Hill High School.
“She had to prove it,” said De’Nitra Johnson, smiling.
Potts actually scored 1,004 points as a Bearcat, most of that coming in the last three years under Rock Hill coach Kenny Orr. She’ll have to score her points the next two seasons under coach Jovan Gilliard after signing a national letter of intent Wednesday morning to play basketball at Denmark Tech.
“It’s not a big college at all and I think the size of the college fits me,” said Potts. “I can focus on basketball and my education.”
Potts was joined Wednesday by her mother, her father, Jermaine Brown, her grandmother, Margaret Potts, and her aunt, Deloris Prosser.
It was a happy day for a player who wasn’t sure a college basketball chance was going to fall into place.
Potts led Region 3-AAAA in scoring at 18.2 points per contest, and also grabbed 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 steals and dished out 4.7 assists. The 5-foot-5 guard had interest from Johnson C. Smith, Newberry, Louisburg and Converse College. Potts had a 3.1 grade point average, so she’ll be able to leave Denmark Tech after one year if a four-year school makes an offer.
“All of our players that we sign, we make sure that they have a 3.0 or higher so we can get them in and get them out,” said Gilliard.
Denmark won Region 10 again this year and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament in Kansas. Gilliard’s team finished 17-3 – eight games were canceled because of an ice storm – and he sees Potts slotting right into the team’s style of play, and lineup.
“We were definitely on her hard to bring her in here, to lead the show for us,” said Gilliard. “She fits in with her speed and her ability to get to the basket, because we play up-tempo. We averaged 80 points per game this year. She’s gonna be starting for us and we expect her to come in and keep our plan like our other guards have been doing.”
Far from worrying about the jump in level of play at the NJCAA level, Potts felt ready.
“Basketball is basketball,” she said. “If you’re a ball-player then it’s no big deal.”
Orr has known Potts since she was a nine-year-old playing on a boys team at the YMCA, where Orr refereed games. The last three years only confirmed what he’d always suspected.
“She does it all,” said Orr. “She can shoot a mid-range, she attacks the basket with a vengeance, she got her points spread out. A lot of them off of layups, but the one key fact was that she shot 197 free throws. That’s basically nine, 10 times a game.”
Potts will get to play one last high school game when she participates in the CSRA All-Star Basketball Classic on April 19 at Paine College in Augusta, Ga. The game pits top girls’ basketball players from South Carolina against their counterparts from Georgia and Potts probably won’t be the only 1,000-point scorer, though maybe the only one who had to verify her accomplishment.
Johnson was “Constantly calling me, ‘did Asia do this? Did Asia do that, ’” said Orr. “She says sometimes Asia can kind of hedge the truth a little bit. And to be honest, we didn’t even realize it until after the fact when I was going through the record book. She scored her 1,000th point against Northwestern; what a way to end her career.”
Potts didn’t have to convince Johnson that she was continuing her education and basketball career at Denmark Tech. Mom and dad were right there beside her Wednesday morning.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T