NBA Rookies: Dexter Pittman Starts Journey with Miami Heat

Andrew TolanCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 18:  Dexter Pittman #34 of the Texas Longhorns reacts near the end of an 81-80 overtime loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first round of the 2010 NCAA mens basketball tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 18, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
Dave Martin/Getty Images

Dexter Pittman, at 22-years-old, has already endured a roller coaster career.

Pittman came to the University of Texas as a four-star recruit; Pittman also weighed nearly 400-pounds.

He vowed to lose weight and over four years lost nearly one hundred pounds.

Pittman was a model citizen on the University of Texas campus.  On top of being a member of the Academic All Big 12 team multiple teams, anyone that frequented the UT campus could attest to Pittman's great, jovial attitude.

Pittman would constantly be at Gregory Gym, for the majority of his time at UT with friend and fellow teammate A.J. Abrams, playing basketball and dunking on the hapless individuals that seemed diminutive juxtaposed with Pittman's 6'11" 300-plus pound frame.  

I was on the receiving end of a Pittman dunk, and possibly a Pittman posterization, a number of times.

Pittman as a player, however, never quite had the on-court success that individuals with vested interest in the UT program felt he could.

Pittman showed strong indications that he had put everything together his senior season.  Pittman started the year off on a tear averaging nearly 15 points per game and having multiple 20/10 performances.

Then Big 12 conference play began and the execution, tenacity and skill Pittman put together for the most extended stretch of his career came to a screeching halt.

For the season's remaining 21 games, Pittman only scored in double-figures six times and Pittman only recorded double-digit rebounds, which hurt UT as a team and, consequently, Pittman's individual stock.

Not only did University of Texas go from being the number one ranked team in the country to being an eighth seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, but Pittman fell from being projected as a mid-first round pick in the NBA Draft to falling off many first-round draft boards entirely.

With the second pick in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft (32nd overall), Dexter Pittman was selected by the Miami Heat.

What might have initially been disappointing to Pittman turned out to be a blessing as Pittman could end up being the perfect role player for the Miami Heat.

The Heat signed Pittman to a three-year deal, which is a fairly sizable investment for a second-round player.  Pittman could serve as a solid and inexpensive investment to add depth to the Heat front-court.

Pittman is certainly not short on superlatives to describe the extents of his abilities:

"My strength comes from Shaq,'' Pittman said of former Heat center Shaquille O'Neal. "My explosiveness is from Amare Stoudemire.

"And my fitness is from Pau Gasol.  I'm a big mixing pot."

Pittman, who couldn't average double-figures in the NBA Summer League, may want to curtail comparisons to two of the best big men in the game and one of the best big men of all-time, but his confidence will surely help him fit in with his new Heat comrades.

As Pittman gears up for another ride on his career roller coaster, there is no certainty about where the ride will end, but it is certain that it will be fun to watch along the way.