Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Player of the Week: Dexter Pittman

Player of the Week: Dexter Pittman, C, Texas

There was certainly no shortage of candidates for Player of the Week honors this week in college basketball, despite the relative lack of games prior to the weekend. First of all, there was Duke’s Jon Scheyer averaging 29 points, 6.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists in two blowout wins. There was Florida State’s Solomon Alabi coming through with 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in three important wins for the Seminoles. Ole Miss’ Chris Warren dropped 32 points in an overtime win over UTEP, while South Florida’s Dominique Jones averaged better than 24 points, nearly five rebounds and four assists in three wins. On the non-BCS level, UAB’s Elijah Millsap averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds in wins over Cincinnati and South Alabama. Perhaps the best two-game effort came from Omar Samhan of Saint Mary’s, who averaged 29.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in two wins.

However, the best – and most important – week belonged to Texas’ Dexter Pittman. In the top game of the week, Pittman and No. 2 Texas knocked off No. 10 North Carolina on Saturday, 103-90, behind 23 points and 15 rebounds from Pittman. 12 of those rebounds came on the offensive glass. Pittman thoroughly dominated the vaunted UNC frontcourt, finishing with his first double-double of the season. Earlier in the week, Pittman went for 14 points and seven rebounds in just 12 minutes against Texas-Pan American. Overall on the week, Pittman averaged 18.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game.

This season, Pittman has been a force whenever he gets enough playing time. Although he is a starter, he averages fewer than 20 minutes per game, due to a combination of foul trouble, fitness and competition. However, in the five games he has played more than 20 minutes, Pittman has put up All-America-caliber numbers: 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game, while shooting 73 percent (38-52) from the field. His overall numbers on the season are 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, shooting 73.4 percent from the field. Pittman gets another chance to make an impact on the national stage against Michigan State on Tuesday.

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