In order for Wake Forest to have a chance at beating the Texas Longhorns on Thursday night in New Orleans, they will have to shut down 6 ft 10 in, 298 lb senior center Dexter Pittman.
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Out of all of the players that Wake Forest may need to stop in Thursday night's first round matchup against Texas, Dexter Pittman very well could be the X-factor.
Most people know Pittman, or "Sexy Dexy" as teammates and friends like to call him, as the college basketball player who lost 100 lbs in the offseason to cut his weight from 400 lbs to a cool 298. However, the role he plays on this Texas squad is more than a poster boy for Subway or weight loss. Pittman averages 10 points and 6 rebounds a game in only 19 minutes of action. While it may not sound like a lot, if you translate these numbers to the points/rebounds totals per 40 minutes of 20 points and 12 rebounds, it is certainly no laughing matter.
Name: Dexter Pittman
Weight: 298 lbs
Averages: 10 points, 6 rebounds per game in 19 minutes
Nickname: "Sexy Dexy"
1. Size - Obviously Dexter Pittman is a big boy at 300 lbs. This gives him the ability to draw a lot of fouls against teams (6 per 40 minutes), and have great positioning on rebounding.
2.Ability for a big man - "Sexy Dexy" is a very skilled big man with pretty soft hands. He has a sweet baby hook, and has a finesse game to go along with the power game required for today's inside players.
3.Basketball IQ - His father played basketball in college, and Pittman is also a 4 year senior who has been through the turmoils of his weight loss and the NCAA Tournament before. His teammates will rely on his experience and leadership to stay motivated.
1.Lack of time on court - Although Pittman has dropped 100 lbs since his freshman year, he still does not put in the minutes that most big men put in. He averages only 19 minutes a game and, although he is very effective in his 19 minutes, most schools need more than that from their big guy.
2.Speed - A guy of Pittman's size is going to have a lot of strengths, but speed and agility is not one of those things. Wake Forest can exploit this by bringing him out of the line and isolating him to take him to the hoop and draw fouls.
3.Foul Trouble - Although Pittman only plays 19 minutes a game, he has fouled out of 3 games this year and averages 2.6 fouls per game. Some may see this as an advantage since Pittman can be more aggressive, but it is not good if he cannot be on the court when it matters.
It will be pretty difficult to stop Pittman once he gets in the lane, so Woods/Chas/Weaver are going to have to force him to get the ball outside of the paint. Technique will be huge in boxing Pittman out to keep him off the boards.
The biggest role Pittman will play is getting another body in there to help out Damion James and free him up. If Pittman can do this, Texas stands a good chance of limiting second chance points for Wake and also gathering up the offensive boards.
Honestly, Pittman should not play a tremendous factor in this game unless he can get our guys in foul trouble, which could happen easily if Wake does not play disciplined basketball. I am a big fan of "Sexy Dexy" because of his work ethic and I love to see him play as he did earlier this year against UNC, where he gathered 23 points and 15 rebounds in only 26 minutes.