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Feel the Heat (Dexter Pittman)

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Our Taco John's Athlete of the Week is a member of the Skyforce who joined the team when his NBA affiliate assigned him to the D-League.  No, it's not Jonny Flynn.  It's Dexter Pittman of the Miami Heat.

No NBA player wants to get sent down the D-League.  But if there was ever a guy who could understand why his team assigned him, it's Dexter Pittman.  After all, the rookie out of Texas wasn't going to see many minutes as a member of the Miami Heat.  Not with LeBron, Wade and Bosh on the floor.

"It's basketball," said Pittman.  "When I came here, LeBron and [Juwan] Howard, they all told me don't get discouraged.  It's just a detour in where I want to be and I'll be right back as long as I work hard and keep doing what I do."

Pittman is known for his hard work.  And his size.  As a senior in high school, he weighed almost 400 pounds.  Five years later, as a member of the Skyforce, he's down to 280.  Now Miami's second round pick is learning how to use his size and his skills to his advantage.

"Dexter is very talented," said Skyforce Head Coach Tony Fritz.  "He just needs to play and that's the sign of a great organization that understands that and has assigned him here."

Coach Tony Fritz has been impressed with Pittman's talent, but admits his best attributes are intangible.

"His best quality so far has been his attitude," said Fritz.  "He wants to be here.  He wants to play.  He wants to fit in and be part of the guys.  He doesn't want to be the assigned player.  He's a Skyforce member right now and we're happy to have him."

In six games with the 'Force, Pittman has averaged 14 points and nearly 9 rebounds, more than he ever did in college.  It may just be a matter of time until he's back with the Heat.  Until then, he has plenty to offer the Skyforce.

"Work hard, play hard, come out and give this team a boost," said Pittman.
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