Aaliyah Pitts knew there was a good chance she might leave Woodbridge after her junior year since her father Thyrick planned to move to Maryland anyway and wanted her to live with him. But even if she left, she still considered commuting to Woodbridge each day from her new home.
Then Tamika Dudley announced in early June she was stepping down as the Vikings’ head coach to take the same position at Sidwell Friends. Dudley's decision solidified Pitts' plans.
Instead of returning to Woodbridge for her final year, the Class 6 state player of the year announced last week she has transferred to Bishop McNamara in Forestville, Maryland.
Thyrick Pitts Sr. said McNamara was the closest school to his home.
“It was more about moving than finding a [particular] school near us,” Thyrick Pitts said.
In March, Pitts helped lead Woodbridge to the program's first state girls basketball title.
The 5-11 forward averaged a team-high 14.6 points along with 7.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.1 steals a game for the 29-1 Vikings last season.
Pitts has over 15 Division I scholarship offers, including ones from Virginia, George Mason, Wake Forest, JMU and ODU.
Once Dudley announced her departure, Thyrick Pitts said a number of public and private schools from Maryland and Virginia reached out and invited Aaliyah to consider their programs.
McNamara, however, was not one of them.
“I reached out to them once I knew where I was moving with Aaliyah,” Thyrick Pitts Sr. said. “With Aaliyah starting to drive it was important to me that her commute be as short as possible, and with McNamara being minutes away it was perfect.”
Thyrick Pitts Sr. said he did not know Dudley planned on leaving prior to her announcement. The same held true for Dudley regarding Pitts’ plans.
“The decision was made very simple with [Dudley’s] announcement which caught us by surprise because we didn’t know she was thinking about leaving as she didn’t know we were leaving,” Thyrick Pitts Sr. said. “So in [a] sense things worked out for all of us.”
Still, Pitts’ decision wasn’t easy. She’s started for the Vikings since her freshman year.
Pitts heads to a program that finished 31-4 last season led by seniors Jakia Brown-Turner and Aliyah Matharu. Brown-Turner, a McDonald’s All-American, signed with N.C. State and Matharu signed with Mississippi State.
“One thing we’ve always talked about is she’s not looking for a guarantee to start, but the chance to compete for a starting position,” Thyrick Pitts Sr. said.
Despite Pitts’ departure, Woodbridge returns two Division I commitments in Alia Denwiddie (Grambling) and Vanessa Laumbach (George Mason).