Da’shon “DayDay” Gittens’ decision was an emotional one. The PSA guard returned from an official visit to Florida International University the first weekend of October and really knew it was where he wanted to play college ball. Over the next few days, he thought on it before informing his mom, Dawne, that he had cemented that decision. “I almost started crying talking to her,” Gittens said. “This is a dream come true for me and something I’ve really been working for and wanting my whole life. She was proud. She always backs me up, like moms do.”
The Miami-based school started showing interest in the 6-foot-4 ultra-athletic guard in September when the Mustangs’ first open gyms took place. From there it was a quick process for Gittens to commit. He said his communication with the coaching staff was very consistent over the last few weeks, which showed him how badly they wanted him to be a part of their future.
The Panthers, coached by Jeremy Ballard, struggled to a 9-17 mark last year but rebuilt their roster through the transfer portal. FIU views Gittens as a major piece of their future; he said they talked to him about coming in and taking over the starting point guard role next fall. (Mohamed Sanogo, who played for PSA last year, is a freshman there this year as well.). “When I went on my visit, it was really just like, ‘Wow,’” Gittens said. “The coaching staff and team, it was another family that I could connect with, with guys who I could look up to and help me accomplish my goals. I just really felt like I could relate to a lot of the guys and we had a close bond with them. And I didn’t even go to school there. That’s when I knew.”
Gittens, a native of Hartford who last year played on Woodstock Academy’s Prep team, said he realized this was a possibility during his sophomore year at Weaver High School. That was when he broke onto the scene as a bonafide scoring threat and that if he worked at it, he could excel at a high level. “That was when I started to get after it,” he said. “Once I really started doing that and working on my craft and taking it more seriously, I felt like college was something that could happen for me. I’m really excited about it. It was emotional too, knowing that this school fits me and was what I was looking for. The people at FIU are people I can look up to and I trust. There’s a lot of emotions that go on with that.”
PSA coach Tom Espinosa is looking forward to what Gittens can do this season, especially now that this decision is behind him. He is intense and athletic, and if his jumper continues to evolve into a consistent weapon, look out. “DayDay can be a real special player,” Espinosa said. “He reminds me a lot of Kyle Lofton (a former PSA star who has had a great career at St. Bonaventure). He’s a kid who has all the tools to be really, really good and I think he’s just scratching the surface right now.”