By Beth Cox
Johnson County’s All-Northeast boys’ basketball player of the year, Blake Atwood officially signed with King University for the 2019-2020, basketball season.
Several colleges were knocking at Atwood’s door for the chance to have the 6’2 point guard play for their schools, but after careful consideration, the young athlete chose King University.
The Mr. Basketball finalist says that his main reason for choosing King was the respect he has for head coach, George Pitts.
“Coach Pitts has been around a long time and is a great coach, the last half of the season he was at almost every one of my games,” Atwood said.
Atwood emphasized that Coach Pitts likes his team to shoot a lot of threes and play high-pressure defense adding “this playstyle fits me perfectly.” The respect is mutual with Pitts as well. The head basketball coach emphasized his choice for Atwood when he said, “I recruited Blake all season. I watched him play six to eight times, but when he got 34 points against Fulton at sub-state, I had no doubt I wanted him.”
Pitts explained how valuable Atwood will be for King basketball. “Blake is an excellent student, so I don’t have to worry about class issues, he knows basketball, he’s been well-coached, but the main thing is; he works hard and is committed to getting stronger.”
Pitts also feels that Atwood is the kind of student and athlete that King University looks for in a future enrollee.
“Blake has a good chance to play this year if he continues to learn and get better as he goes along,” he said.
Johnson County Coach and Blake’s dad, Austin Atwood couldn’t be happier with his son’s choice. “I like Coach Pitts, he’s a great coach and will be good for Blake.”
The JCHS coach has a lot of admiration for his All-Conference son as well, “Blake can score from all three levels, rebounds extremely well, and can defend; he’s just a tough, gritty, hard-nosed player that simply knows how to play; I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Blake averaged 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists per game and was around 92 percent at the free-throw line. He also dominated the weekly ranks among Northeast Tennessee Players in basketball and demonstrated there are talented athletes east of Knoxville.
The gifted player could have had his choices of
colleges, but his decision to play for a local university
will allow the Johnson
County community to watch him fulfill his lifelong
dream of playing college basketball.