LJ Fitzpatrick signs to play collegiate basketball

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Lj Fitzpatrick’s path has been winding at times, but on Wednesday Fitzpatrick finally got to realize a lifelong dream as he signed to continue his basketball career at Andrew College in Georgia. 

Fitzpatrick’s recruitment to Andrew College took off over the past month after he competed in an unsigned senior showcase on campus. Fitzpatrick then received an official offer from head coach Brian Skortz. 

“It means a lot,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s like my inner kid came out once I got the call saying that I could commit. It felt amazing to be able to play collegiate basketball.”

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After visiting the campus on the day of the senior showcase, Fitzpatrick realized that the college felt similar to his home at Beulah High School.
The team and coaching staff also had several similarities to what he experienced as a Bobcat. The group felt like it was tight-knit, and Fitzpatrick immediately knew that he could go to Andrew College and compete at the junior college level. 

“The program is [about] team-togetherness,” Fitzpatrick said. “You’ve got to stay together as one team. It reminds me a lot of my high school team. I’m coming from a small school, and I want to go to a school that will have faith in me like Andrew.” 

Fitzpatrick also felt that Skortz and the rest of the coaching staff had his best interest in mind. Skortz started recruiting Fitzpatrick heavily after the showcase and made sure Fitzpatrick knew that he was a prized prospect for Andrew College. 

“The coach had a lot of faith in me,” Fitzpatrick said. “He believes I’m a diamond in the rough, and I couldn’t pass up on that.” 

Fitzpatrick had a lot of help throughout the process, with the driving force being his mom. Thomas Hill was also a major part of the process as Beulah’s head coach, but another local school’s head coach helped Fitzpatrick along the way. 

Springwood head basketball coach Lisa Sampson had built a relationship with Fitzpatrick after coaching him while he played for the Auburn Raptors AAU team. Sampson vouched for Fitzpatrick and helped him get the opportunity with Andrew College. 

“They put me in the camp,” Fitzpatrick said of Sampson and Hill. “They told me when the camp was. Coach Lisa vouched for me and talked to coach Skortz for me.” 

Playing at the junior college level for Skortz will be a different level of play for Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick spent most of his time at Beulah playing either as a forward or center due to his height, but he will be expected to play guard in college. 

Fitzpatrick knows he has to work on his shooting from the outside and ball handling to become a successful point guard, but he also believes that his work ethic and attitude will lead him to succeed at the next level. 

“I want to become a better guard and become a better shooter so I can continue and go to Division I or Division II,” Fitzpatrick said. 

Fitzpatrick’s senior season at Beulah High School was one for the books. Fitzpatrick won a state title in the high jump competition and helped Beulah get back to the playoffs in football and basketball. 

Leaving Beulah is going to be tough for Fitzpatrick because he is a Bobcat through and through, but he is ready to give his all to Andrew College.
“They’re getting a scrappy, athletic guard who’s always hungry and willing to do whatever it takes to get better,” Fitzpatrick said.