One of the core beliefs of American society and a pillar in the world of sports is hard work and determination pay off. One basketball player is an embodiment of that ideal.
Ti’Aira Pitts, senior forward, began her athletic career in middle school and while her interests were varied, it soon became clear basketball would be her sole focus.
“I did track in middle school,” Pitts said. “I did hurdles and I did volleyball up until my junior year of high school.”
While Pitts was involved in volleyball, she was also beginning to take an interest in basketball. The Austin native was tall for her age, a trait her coaches noticed.
“In seventh grade, I was very tall,” Pitts said. “I actually played volleyball. The volleyball coaches were the basketball coaches, so they were like, ‘You’re playing basketball.’”
Her mother, Clarice Reeves, began to see improvement in her game after Pitts began playing with a team outside of school.
“By her eighth-grade season, she started with this other basketball team, you know, like AAU,” Reeves said. “She started with them and she did pretty good. She just had to work on being (less) sensitive.”
Since arriving at Texas State, Pitts has matured as an individual and owns up to her overly sensitive and immature ways.
“When I first came in as a freshman, I let a lot of things get to me,” Pitts said. “But now that I’m a senior, I take everything with a grain of salt.”
Pitts arrived at Texas State in 2014, and being family-oriented, the location of the school played a large part in her decision.
“It’s right down the road,” Pitts said. “I’m from Austin, so my family can come to my games, and as soon as I stepped on campus I just felt a different atmosphere.”
Aside from an ideal location, Pitts found common ground with the team and coaching staff from the get-go.
“The team that was here automatically made me feel like I was part of the team and I just loved everything about the coaching staff,” Pitts said.
Pitts’ first year with the Bobcats was a difficult one. 16 games into the 2014-15 season, the senior forward suffered ACL injuries and missed the remainder of the season. Despite the setback, Pitts remained vigilant, focusing on her schoolwork while recovering.
“She injured both of her knees, had two ACL surgeries, dealing with schoolwork and basketball at the same time, and it just shows what type of person she’s always been,” Reeves said.
The senior forward tries to have a positive attitude on and off of the court.
“I always try to be positive even when things aren’t going my way,” Pitts said. “I always tell myself there’s people out there that wish that they had my bad days.”
Pitts’ unwavering spirt and perseverance have always been apparent to her mother, even from a young age.
“She’s a go-getter, very determined, and just won’t stop until she gets what she wants,” Reeves said. “She’s always been like that, since she was little.”
With the end around the corner, Pitts resolves to remain a pillar of leadership for the team and aims to add a championship to her resume.
“I just want to continue to lead my team, continue putting points on the board and continue to be that voice on defense and offense, just being there for my team,” Pitts said. “Our end goal is of course to win this championship and go to the NCAA tournament.”
Since the beginning of the season, she has embraced her confidence, playing a vital part in the team’s success.
“Something just clicked in me and I was just like, ‘I’m not going to play timid,'” Pitts said. “My confidence is going to be at an all-time high, and I’m just going to shoot the ball. So that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Pitts is majoring in psychology and plans to pursue her master’s degree, eventually becoming a counselor to provide guidance to middle schoolers.
“I want to be a middle school counselor so I’m going to try to get my masters,” Pitts said. “I feel like middle school is a very crucial part in children’s lives where they need the most guidance.”
Although her collegiate basketball career is ending, she does not see a future without her favorite sport involved in some way.
“I love this game so much,” Pitts said. “There’s no doubt it’s going to be part of my life in some way or another.”