Pittman Emerges, Names Leader

Slowed by an injury, Dexter Pittman finally made an appearance at the NBA Camp late in the weekend. The 6-foot-11 big man who previously flew under the national radar, has a chance to be a player.

Dexter Pittman knows that he's got work to do. Inside that 6-foot-11, 335+ pound body, a basketball player lives. One that is strong enough to hammer down a dunk over Cole Aldrich and then drop a soft jump hook over another defender.

Folks, Dexter Pittman is not a novelty item, he's a player. A kid with size and promise. No, he's a charismatic kid, ala Glen "Big Baby" Davis with size and promise. The question is: can he fulfill that potential?

The nimble big man has huge hands. He's got a measure of skill as a block scorer. Heck, on Sunday at NBA Camp he surprisingly went coast to coast where a guard simply got out of his way and let him finish the play. Naturally, at the end of the jaunt he was winded and therein lies the rub: conditioning.

Pittman said he was once at 350 and has lost about 15 pounds. He wants to lose even more. "I'm losing weight right now," Pittman said. "I used to weigh 350 but I'm trying to get to 300."

Losing the weight should provide Pittman with the ability to change ends with some success. To play at the highest level of high-major basketball, he's going to have to shed the weight to change ends and play at a quicker pace. Talent isn't the issue at all; he's got enough of it to crack our next Top 100.

Aside from his basketball talents, Pittman has family history on his side. The son of former Oklahoma State star Johnny Pittman, Dexter's has basketball genes. The Rosenberry (Tex.) Terry center wants to carve out his own niche. His play at the NBA Camp should go a long way toward raising his profile and he'll gladly accept the attention.

"Nobody knows me, I need some press," Pittman said. "Everybody in Texas knows me." The Rodney Dangerfield of Texas hoops deserves some pub.

"I just don't get any respect," Pittman said. "They don't know about me."

That part isn't totally true. Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Florida State and Texas A&M know him. They've all offered. Kansas and North Carolina have been in touch.

For now, all eyes are on Texas. "Texas leads," Pittman said. "I want to stay close to home. They got a good veteran coach. I might change my mind, you never know."

Some guys that are presently recruiting Dexter, recruited his father as a Texas high school player. Guys like Leonard Hamilton have close family ties.

Dexter seems intent on making his own way. "I go to the same high school as [my dad] went. I don't know about going to the same college."

At this point, Pittman has the recruiting attention he craves. Now it's about realizing the potential he's yet to fulfill.

"I have quick post moves and shoot it well. I need to work on my stamina and keep losing weight."

If he does, look out.

Pittman missed most of the NBA Camp with what he termed "turf toe." Upon returning home he was planning on seeing a doctor.

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