EIGHT FOR EIGHT: Anthony Stitt takes the reigns of Charleston basketball

During the final eight weeks of the spring semester, CisternYard Sports will be releasing a feature story each week on a student athlete at the College of Charleston that our sports staff thinks you should know. This week, we highlight junior point guard Anthony Stitt of the men’s basketball team.

Anthony Stitt looks to take the Cougars to the next level in 2014-2015. Photo courtesy of CofCSports.com.

Anthony Stitt looks to take the Cougars to the next level in 2014-2015.
Photo courtesy of CofCSports.com.

In college athletics, there are not many positions as demanding as point guard in Division 1 men’s basketball.

For junior point guard Anthony Stitt, his job involves setting the team’s tempo, calling plays on offense, and distributing the ball to his teammates in the right place at the right time.

Hailing from Charlotte, N.C., Stitt has played the point guard position for his entire basketball career. He was selected as the conference player of the year in his high school senior season and was named ESPN’s top point guard recruit in North Carolina.

After choosing Charleston over UNC Wilmington, George Mason, and Northeastern, Stitt made an impact from the moment he stepped on the court. In one of his first games of his career, he scored 23 points and added eight assists in a blowout win over Massachusetts.

As a sophomore, Stitt blossomed into a solid role player for the Cougars. He started 34 games, averaging 11 points and over three assists, both of which were among the Southern Conference leaders.

During his freshman and sophomore campaigns at Charleston, Stitt was mentored by point guard, Andrew Lawrence, who played for the Great Britain national team in the 2012 Olympics.

“The biggest thing I learned from Andrew is to have composure. Through all my years, he always had a great composure on the court. When things were going wrong, he knew to calm everyone down and we had that confidence in him. I want the team to have that confidence in me next year,” Stitt said.

As a junior, Stitt started and played in every game for the Cougars, averaging 10 points, which was second on the team behind Willis Hall.

This past season also marked Charleston’s first campaign in the CAA, which proved much more competitive than the SoCon.

“This conference, from top to bottom, is pretty consistent. The SoCon had a few frontrunners, like Davidson, Elon, and us. In the CAA, I felt like anybody could beat anybody. You had to bring your A-game every night and have everyone playing on the same page. You have to have the mentality that you can’t back down,” he said.

Playing the guard position in the CAA, Stitt was frequently matched up with some of the most talented players in the conference, which both he and his teammates viewed as a great test for themselves.

“It’s great competition in the CAA, especially the point guard and wing positions. Those players were great a creating their own shot. We learned a lot from this season and we know what we need to get better at for next year,” he said.

Stitt has started every game for the Cougars since the beginning of his sophomore season. Photo courtesy of CofCSports.com.

Stitt has started every game for the Cougars since the beginning of his sophomore season.
Photo courtesy of CofCSports.com.

As he prepares to take on the role as the team’s senior leader next season, Stitt credited departing senior Hall for helping him prepare for his new job.

“Leading is not easy. I learned that Willis put his time and effort in to be a good leader. I want to continue that. He did a great job leading this team, but I want to use what him and I talked about and take it to another level.  I want to bridge the gap between coaches and players and be the coach on the floor, especially because I am a point guard,” he said.

One of Stitt’s greatest qualities is his selflessness, a trait that every good point guard should encompass. As he looks forward to his senior season, Stitt knows he needs to work on a few things in order to take the Cougars to the next level.

“My biggest thing, I think, is to know time situations and also playing at my own pace. If you can control the game, you can do whatever you want out there on the court. I know I struggled a few times [this past season] like at Delaware, where we lost. After we broke their press, I committed a charge because I couldn’t slow myself down. If I had slowed down, it would have been a great play. Instead, it was a turning point late in the game that hurt us,” he said.

With returnees such as Adjehi Baru, Canyon Barry, and himself, Stitt believes that the team could be much improved by the start of next season, especially after having a season of experience in the CAA.

“I expect everybody to be hungry and everybody to be ready for next year. I think we are already on our way. We are putting in the work in the weight room and doing individual workouts twice a week. I think everyone knows that they need to be focused, especially coming off this last season where we didn’t do as great. We know we don’t want to go out like [this past season] again and I know I don’t want to go out like that in my senior year. It will be big for us to maintain consistency,” he said.

Although he is prepared to make his senior season his best yet, Stitt remembers a few highlights from his first three years at Charleston.

“My freshman year, playing Tennessee [at TD Arena] is the first big game I ever played in. I dreamt about those games my whole life. We got the win and I played big time minutes. Another great memory was this season against Charlotte. I think we were down seven points with 35 seconds left and we ended up winning the game on that Willis [Hall] shot,” he said.

With one season left in a Charleston uniform, Stitt is far from finished. As someone who head coach Doug Wojcik says could go down as one of best to ever play at Charleston, Stitt should be on everyone’s watch list come next November.

Check back next Friday for the seventh edition in our “Eight for Eight” series on All-American sailor, Ali Blumenthal.

Previous “Eight for Eight” editions: Sarah Boyle (Swimming)Mackenzie Johnston (XC)Darcy Dorton (Volleyball)Daan Brinkman (Soccer), Kelly Kambourelis (Tennis)

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