The loss of Lamarcus Aldridge to the NBA leaves a gaping hole at the center position for next year's Longhorns. That entire hole and then some could be filled by incoming freshman center Dexter Pittman. Pittman is listed at a modest 6'10" 300 lbs by Rivals.com but is rumored to be around 350 lbs. Let's not start comparing him to Shaq before he even plays a minute of college basketball but anything over 300 lbs. is a load at any level.
Dexter picked the Horns over A&M, Oklahoma State, Florida State, and Arizona State. He is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and is listed as the twentieth best player in the state of Texas. Pittman led Rosenberg Terry High School to two playoff wins this season in competitive 4A Houston basketball. Terry finished 25-11 on the season. Pittman's selection of Texas was aided by the presence of strength coach Todd Wright. Wright is known for really pushing players physically and preparing them for the next level (ala Jeff "Mad Dog" Madden in football). Both Lamarcus Aldridge and Connor Atchley added weight and strength last off season under Wright's direction. Wright will have a difficult project with Pittman.
Pittman is a beast on the low blocks but has limited endurance due to his weight. He has great hands and touch around the basket. Dexter uses his size well on both ends to cement good position on the low blocks. From the limited highlights I have seen, he isn't afraid to dunk the ball either. Obviously, Pittman must trim down to be successful in college. Even though the days of the "Runnin' Horns" are long gone, Texas will probably use the fast break much more next season with a more guard oriented attack. In order for Pittman to play valuable minutes, he must work hard this summer to get his weight much closer to 300 lbs.
Pittman is a work in progress. His father played basketball at Oklahoma State and in the NBA before injuries cut his career short. Dexter has good genes and tremendous potential. I don't look for him to contribute much next season, especially if PJ Tucker returns, but if his work ethic matches his size, Pittman could develop into the physical interior force the Horns have been lacking.
[Author's Note] This is the first in a daily look at the men's basketball incoming freshman class.