She wears braces, listens to rap and can roll her eyes at her dad as well as any 13-year-old.
She also is a legitimate 5-foot-10, exceptionally skilled at basketball for almost any age and already holds scholarship offers from six Division I colleges.
Meet Addison Potts – Southwest Florida’s next potential (super)star.
“I listen to, um, I don’t know, the names are weird,” said the Gateway Charter eighth grader, looking over at her dad, Andy Potts, who is also her high school coach. “It’s funny.”
Potts, averaging 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.5 steals a game while shooting 48 percent (30-62) on 3-pointers for the high school varsity team, is more than just a rising talent for youth-laden Gateway (9-0), which features two eighth-graders and two seventh-graders on its eight-player roster.
She’s good enough and driven enough to have garnered genuine scholarship offers this summer and fall from, in order, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa State, USF, FGCU and Kansas.
That’s the kind of attention Fort Myers High senior Destanni Henderson, a former USA Basketball Under-17 team member who has signed with college powerhouse South Carolina, received at the same age.
“I just think it’s a blessing,” said Potts, born in Fort Myers and in her second year at Gateway after attending Saint Michael Lutheran in Fort Myers.
“I never thought it would happen this early. I don’t let it get to me that much, but I take it in. They’re expecting me to get better. They’re not offering me for my skill right now.”
It’s not just schools expecting her to keep getting better.
About two years after she first was introduced to basketball around age 8, Potts started taking it upon herself to go through the shooting, ball-handling and other drills that had been recommended for her.
The result quickly became a gifted shooter and ball-handler who also happened to grow about six or seven inches last year and has potential to grow even more.
“I just started playing it when I was really young and just fell in love with it I guess,” said Potts, who buried 8-of-12 3-pointers in a recent 33-point outing against LaBelle.
“I was just seeing the major improvements that I was getting out of them, and I got recognized for it.”
Andy Potts, whose father, Steve Potts, played at the University of Iowa in the 1960s for Ralph Miller and later was an NCAA official before moving the family to Florida, gets all the looks and sees all the comments that come with having a prodigy for a child.
He answers critics the same way he does admiring parents wanting to know how to better spur on their own children: it has to come from the kid.
“I’ve pushed her,” said Potts, 47, a 1989 Cypress Lake High graduate who went to Florida State and now works as residential realtor.
“You have to be hard, to a certain extent, and I’ve been fortunate to have time to spend with her to afford her that opportunity of guidance and gym time and trainers and all of those things that we do. But at the end of the day, she still has to be the one that wakes up every morning and goes out and does it on her own. And she does.”
Addison Potts is the only child still in the home for Andy and Lisa Potts after two older siblings, neither of whom played sports, have gone through college.
“She’s our first, so-to-speak, athlete,” Andy Potts said of himself and his wife, a former high school swimmer in New York who works in new home sales for Pulte Homes and whose father was 6-foot-5.
“We went to the gym. We worked out a lot. At that time I was just trying to introduce her to a few different sports, and right away she was just drawn to basketball.”
Potts insists his daughter’s hoops passion is so internally driven that he and his wife are the ones mindful of burnout. At times, they take the ball away from her.
“I’m almost making her go do some of that stuff,” Potts said of Addison’s other interests, such as guitar, track and field and going to the movies with her mother.
“On top of practice, on top of travel ball – we travel four months of the year – on top of her trainer workouts and all that, she does her own individual stuff. When you try to fit all that in over the course of a week it’s hard to get other things in.
“(But) my deep down fear is that she’s so into it that come her junior year, she’s done it so long and so much that she gets burned out. That’s what we’re trying to keep from happening.”
Addison shakes her head at the suggestion.
“I don’t think that’ll ever happen,” she said. “I don’t know why I would.”
Still, her father is already emphasizing good nutrition and keeping watch over her minutes and practice mileage to guard against her body breaking down.
“We do some ice baths and some stuff we hadn’t done,” Potts said. “That’s what the colleges are doing.”
All involved acknowledge Potts is far from a finished product. She laughs tellingly when her need to improve her defense is brought up.
But even this year she’s better learned how to rebound because of the team’s size needs, even though she’s sacrificed some scoring.
“I like getting rebounds honestly,” she said, expressing no fear at the amount of size and level of interior physical play she’s seen at the elite college level, such as during the Gulf Coast Showcase last month in Germain Arena.
“It’s just they’re bigger and stronger than the high school level.”
Potts, whose favorites to watch include LeBron James (“just how tough he is and how he plays,”) on the men’s side and similarly versatile bigs Maya Moore and Elena Delle Donne on the women’s side, has designs on the WNBA eventually, her father said.
Four years from when she’ll first even be allowed to sign with a college, though, the tall, gifted, driven teenager also is trying to be just that: a kid – hint of teenage sass included.
“I guess,” Potts said.
“Yeah. You do,” her father said.
“OK,” said Potts, ultimately calling herself the one responsible for keeping her humble amid such early college interest.
“I’ve seen people that are really cocky,” she said. “I don’t like how they act. I don’t want to be like that.”