New Albany (Ohio)
basketball player Devon Pitts
will remember his Senior Night for many reasons.
But the biggest memory will always be of good friend Evan Turner, former National Player of the Year at Ohio State University and now a guard for the Philadelphia 76ers. Turner flew in between NBA games to honor the young man, whom he began to mentor in 2005 after they were introduced through a mutual acquaintance.
"This is one of the greatest nights of my life," an emotional Pitts told Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch
. "Evan is like a brother to me."
Turner, originally from Chicago, recalled, "We would text and talk and I came to Ohio and we'd hang out and I saw a little bit of myself in him. He's kind of quiet and trying to find his way. The difference is, with the shyness and insecurities, I had a brother, Darius, who made me feel comfortable. Devon didn't have any siblings. I just tried to lend an ear and lead by example. I told him,'It's okay to do the right thing.' Devon has always been there for some of my biggest moments. I want to be there for him, too."
Pitts has been raised by a single mother, Carol Pitts.
She stressed, "As a parent, there is nothing greater than someone being kind to your kid. I can't say enough nice things about Evan. He will do anything to make a kid's life better. Devon is able to see how Evan treats younger kids, including himself."
New Albany coach Sam Davis has seen the way Pitts passes on Turner's passion for others.
He noted, "We want to be part of something bigger and Devon is doing that. He's always working with the younger kids. He is just rock-solid."
Oh, yes, Pitts capped off his big night with 11 points and 11 rebounds in a 54-33 victory over Watkins Memorial (Patascala, Ohio).