Destiny Pitts, a former Detroit Country Day star who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors at Minnesota, announced Thursday she is entering the NCAA transfer portal after she was suspended for a game that she says left her "blindsided and shocked."
Pitts, a junior, is the leading scorer for the Golden Gophers (11-5, 1-4 Big Ten), averaging 16.3 points, and their top 3-point shooter (45.9%).
"First, I want to thank all of the teammates I have had at the University of Minnesota and the many great, passionate fans of women's basketball in this city," Pitts wrote in statement posted on Twitter. "I am so far from home, but you have made me feel like one of your own these past three years. I could never adequately express my gratitude to everyone who has been loyal to me and from my first steps on campus."
Pitts was suspended for last Sunday's game against Illinois for what the program called "conduct unbecoming a member of the team." Two other players — sisters Taiye Bello and Kehinde Bello, who played at Southfield-Lathrup — also did not play Sunday.
In her statement Thursday, Pitts said she was suspended because of her "body language" during the Northwestern game on Jan. 9, a 56-54 loss in Minneapolis. Pitts said she was "blindsided and shocked" by the suspension, saying it was the first disciplinary situation she's experienced as player "at any level."
Pitts said the Bello sisters sat out Sunday's game "in protest of a suspension they know is wrong."
"I need to reiterate how thankful I am for my teammates," Pitts wrote. "They have consistently checked in on me and helped me through this difficult experience, and I could never express how much that means to me."
Pitts says she wishes "nothing but the best" for Minnesota head coach Lindsay Whalen and her staff.
Pitts led Country Day to a pair of Class B state championships, earning Class B player of the year honors as a senior.
Minnesota plays host to Iowa on Thursday night, carrying a four-game losing streak into the contest.