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Dexter Pittman excited to join the Heat and ready to contribute

The day before his first NBA contract was signed with the Miami Heat, I spotted Dexter Pittman relaxing on the team’s day off at the Thomas & Mack Center in the UNLV campus. He was laughing and joking around with a group of friends and would have blended in the crowd if it wasn’t for that 6’10", 300 pound frame. Perhaps his good mood was due to his impending status as an official member of the Miami Heat and the chance to play with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. Though his production at the Summer League was limited because of a minor injury, his talent and potential were evident regardless. If he can continue to work hard and develop under the Heat training staff Pittman will soon be regarded as one of the steals of the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. When his contract was finally announced, he could hardly contain his excitement with a large grin. "Excited and ready to go to work for the Heat," Pittman said. "Being an official member of the Heat is a blessing. There was nervousness and butterflies and saying ‘OK, I’m a part of Wade County. So it’s time to go to work so I can help those guys the best way I can.’" Pittman won’t be afraid of getting his hands dirty to get minutes in a crowded power rotation that includes Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard. "Being a bruiser and just being active whenever the ball goes up. Whether it’s tipping the ball to my teammate or if it’s going up and getting a foul or whatever," is how he described his role on his new team. Asked about the prospects of playing with his three new superstar teammates he smiled broadly. "I’m trying to keep it calm right now because it’s a business," he said. "Being a boy growing up you always dream about playing with three great players like them but now I’m going to be able to step in between the lines and go to war with them." He has only one goal on offense when he’ll be out on the floor with Wade, Bosh and LeBron: "Just got to be ready to catch everything," he noted. "No matter if it’s coming from the state of Texas or whatever I just got to catch everything." His plans for the summer before the season starts are two-fold. "For one, I want to transform my body again. And two, just being the bruiser down low. The young guy that’s going to go after everything (in practice)." Pittman wants to learn from two important big men in the Heat franchise: Alonzo Mourning and Udonis Haslem, who knows a thing or two about getting into NBA shape for a long career ahead. "Hopefully one of those guys will take me under their wings," he said. "I’m going to get advice from them everyday. I’m going to be like a sponge, just soaking up information."