Destiny Pitts was among the 108 NCAA players available for the recent 2022 WNBA Draft. The former Minnesota Gopher and Texas A&M star didn’t get drafted; however, she is playing pro ball nonetheless.
The 5-10 guard from Detroit started her pro career last weekend, playing for the Monterrey Fuerza Regia club in Mexico. She talked to the MSR last Friday prior to her pro debut.
Pitts explained it was a quick turnaround from being an undrafted player to heading south across the border to continue her basketball playing. “Earlier in the week, I was working in our athletic IT department at Texas A&M, finishing up school,” said Pitts, who will graduate this year with her human resources development master’s degree—she has her bachelor’s in technology management.
“My agent reached out to me. We thought it would be a great situation.” Finding the right agent, especially one with the right international connections, is awfully important for former college players.
Were there any apprehensions about playing overseas these days with a pandemic still around and political instability around the world as well? “That was my whole point of even signing with [an agent],” responded Pitts. “To be able to trust them and know they’ll put me in a good situation.”
Pitts joins another American, Alexis Jones, a 2017 first-round pick of Minnesota who played two seasons in the Mexican team’s backcourt. Playing for Fuerza Regia, “They really emphasize the importance of the players’ needs,” Pitts stressed. “We all stay in the same building together. We all have our own rules.”
The season isn’t long, about a couple of months, but long enough, noted Pitts. “We are playing back-to-back [games] each weekend.”
We first met Pitts in 2017, a top signee for Minnesota at the time, and almost immediately struck a connection. She lived up to her prep star billing, setting a school freshman record with 90 made three-pointers and leading the Gophers with nine double-figure rebounds games.
Her sophomore year, she made first-team all-Big Ten and Academic all-conference honoree. She was a preseason all-league her short-lived junior season before her unexpected and still controversial departure from the team. She eventually transferred to Texas A&M in 2020.
In Pitts’ senior year she won 2021 SEC Sixth Woman of the Year and led the conference in three-point FG percentage. She also took advantage of the NCAA’s extra year granted due to the pandemic and returned for the 2021-22 season. Our connection remained intact as well.
“I think it was good and bad experience,” said Pitts of her college career at two different schools. “It wasn’t my ideal situation throughout the whole college career, especially what happened in Minnesota. It taught me a lot, and it helped me understand the business side of college athletics.”
More importantly, Pitts learned a lot under Hall of Famer Gary Blair, who retired after this season. “I think it was a really good experience,” she reaffirmed. “He was able to teach me a lot, not just basketball, and helped me make a lot of connections.”
His enormous playbook prepared her for pro ball as well. “The biggest thing is this playbook, of being able to play different positions and know how to manage the game and understand the importance of that. That helped me at the next level,” she said.
Pitts hopes that her Mexican playing experience will lead to more pro opportunities, “to get a feel…to get a better situation overseas.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.