By Jonathan Deal
High school basketball fans around the state have heard about the Athens player they call “Giddy” over the last several years. At last month’s Northwest Regional Tournament, they found out what the Athens senior is all about.
Potts dropped 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead his team in a 76-72 victory No. 2 Wenonah in the regional semifinals.
After the game, Wenonah coach Cedric Lane summed it up after the game.
“I knew he was good going in,” he said. “He’s a little better than I thought he would be.”
Not that he was an unknown before, but beating the three-time defending champions put him on college coaches’ radars around the Southeast. A few days after the tournament, no less than half a dozen coaches visited Athens High School to speak with the basketball standout.
"A lot of people were waiting on us to play somebody like that," said
Athens head coach Stace Tedford. "When we beat Wenonah, they way we beat Wenonah, I had people around the state calling me and tell me, 'I didn't know he was that good.'"
One of the schools that started recruiting and offered Potts a scholarship was Middle Tennessee State University in Mufreesboro, Tenn. A short trip up Interstate 65 to visit the Conference USA school was enough to sell Potts on the program.
On Thursday, he announced his commitment to the school.
"I think he always wanted to go somewhere close enough to home where his mom could come watch him," said Tedford. "It's (MTSU) an hour and a half down the road, but he's going to get to travel all over the country. Their style of play is going to be very good for him. They like to shoot a lot of threes. If he can run and shoot it, he will do that all day long."
The Blue Raiders recently won a share of the C-USA regular season title and will be one of the favorites to win the conference tournament next week. Potts will be one of five freshmen coming in next year and will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time.
“They run our transition (offense) and they can shoot the ball,” said Potts. “I can shoot with them. I think they’re going to make it to the (NCAA) tournament.”
Along with his big announcement, Potts was selected to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game Thursday. Potts is one of 12 players from the state of Alabama selected for the 24th annual event held at Jackson State in Jackson, Miss.
For Potts, it will give his relative in Mississippi a chance to see him play.
“My family lives in Mississippi, so a lot of them will get to see me play for the first time,” he said.
Tedford said the selection solidifies what the AHS head coach has been saying for years.
"I was telling people all year long, 'This kid is the best player in the state,'" said Tedford. "When he gets picked as one of the top 12 in Alabama, he's got to be one of the best in the state. That's a huge honor. We haven't had one here since Richard Hendrix played. I hope the awards for him won't stop. He’s earned it.”
The boys game will begin at 7 p.m. from Jackson State’s s Lee E. Williams Athletics &
Assembly Center, Friday, March 21.