Freshman Stitt standing tall for Cougars

Anthony Stitt had 23 points in Saturday's rout of UMass.

The expectation level this season for the College of Charleston's freshman class was pretty high because of prized 6-9 recruit Adjehi Baru. While Baru has performed solidly, one of the big reasons for the Cougars' success (5-1 after last weekend's Battle 4 Atlantis) has been another freshman, 6-1 point guard Anthony Stitt.

Stitt had a breakout game Saturday in Charleston's 85-61 rout of Massachusetts in the Bahamas, scoring 23 points while hitting 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also contributed eight assists, three steals and two rebounds.

One day earlier, Stitt hit the game- winning shot against UNC Asheville. For the season, Stitt is averaging 8.7 points. But the most telling stat is the number of minutes he is playing, 25.8 per game.

"I thought he would back up (junior starter) Andrew Lawrence for two years. I thought he might play five minutes a game," Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said.

The one thing Cremins learned early on was that Stitt was a hard worker and he has

earned his playing time.

"I didn't know I was going to get a lot of minutes," Stitt said. "I thought I would come in, work hard and maybe my sophomore year I would get to play more. Being a backup point guard, I knew Andrew Lawrence was going to get the bulk of the minutes. I was thinking like 10, maybe 15 minutes."

If the name rings a bell, it's probably because of his cousin Demontez Stitt, a standout point guard for Clemson who is now playing pro ball in Israel. And when the Cougars beat the Tigers in Littlejohn Coliseum last week, Anthony said he made sure to let his cousin know.

Anthony Stitt would have loved to follow his cousin's footsteps to the ACC and as a high school sophomore he was getting feelers from league teams. A broken ankle during his junior year cooled interest from the bigger schools and the mid-majors began recruiting him.

"He comes from a good (basketball) line," Cremins said. "He's such a conscientious young man. I really like him as a person. He's never late for anything. He plays hard. He plays defense. He's had some bad moments, but he's just so tough."

Stitt said he is trying to focus on bettering his assist-turnover ratio and his shooting.

"We knew we were going to be a young team this year," Stitt said. "We have to make our own breaks by playing hard and playing defense. If we do that, we can be good."