KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Redshirt-sophomore-to-be Demarius Pitts has signed to play for the UMKC men’s basketball program, announced head coach Billy Donlon Wednesday during the NCAA National Signing Day. Pitts, a 6-4 guard from Clinton, Md., transfers to Kansas City after one year at NCAA Division II Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va.
“I’m really happy to be coming to UMKC,” said Pitts “I feel it’s a great opportunity for me where I can showcase my talent and display my ability. I feel like I can do way much more at the Division I level. I just want to help my team win and eventually make it to the (NCAA) tournament.
“My reasons to come to UMKC are coach Donlon is just a great coach and he works on player development. Also, I feel like I have built a great relationship with coach McKay (assistant coach). I wanted to make sure my parents were involved in the decision and in the end we came to the conclusion that UMKC was the place for me.”
As a freshman playing in the 2018-19 season at Virginia Union, Pitts was honored as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Rookie of the Year. He was third on the team in scoring at 13.1 per game, which was tied for 17th overall in the conference. He averaged 30.7 minutes, starting in 24 of 27 games played. He also ranked third on the squad in total steals (34) and rebounding average (4.1). He shot 43.3 percent (132 of 305) from the field, including 38.6 percent (27 of 70) from three-point range.
He started his freshman campaign scoring 10-plus points in 12-straight games. Overall, he hit the double-digit figure in 20 of his 27 games. He ended the year with his first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds against John C. Smith on Feb. 28. His collegiate scoring best came against Livingston on Dec. 15, 2018 when he netted 23 points, to go along with four assists and a pair of steals.
In his first-ever collegiate contest, Pitts got a dose of some of the best Division I competition in a game at Duke University. He went for eight points and two steals in 26 minutes starting against the Blue Devils.
Pitts played on a Virginia Union team that finished with a 19-11 overall record, including a 13-4 mark in the conference. The Panthers ended the year winning eight of their last 10 contests. The season ended in the CIAA semifinals on March 1.
“Demarius Pitts and his family have made the decision to join our family at UMKC,” said coach Donlon. “We are looking forward to working with Demarius in all aspects as a student, player and member of our community. He is a bright young man with a great ability to score the ball. I’m very excited about his potential in our program.”
Prior to Virginia Union, Pitts spent the 2017-18 season at Springfield Commonwealth Academy in Springfield, Mass. During the 2016-17 season, he attended Frederick Douglass High School (Md.) where the team finished with a 16-7 record. As a senior, he posted averages of 11.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 4.5 assists per game and 1.5 blocks per game. See video highlights of him during his prep career.
Pitts will be enrolled and on-campus at UMKC beginning with the summer semester.
The signing is coach Donlon’s first since being named the UMKC head coach on March 29th.