Pittman Plays on Despite Tragedy | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / July 12.
  • Pittman Plays on Despite Tragedy

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –No one would have blamed Dexter Pittman if he gave up and quit on his dream of playing in the NBA.

    After what he went through last month, how could you?

    “When I found out the news, I was just in a hole, like I didn’t want to do anything,” Pittman said Wednesday after a group workout in front of more than 20 NBA teams at the Nets’ facility.

    Pittman left the NBA draft combine in Chicago May 21 to be with his family a day after his half-brother, 15-year-old Darius Johnson, was shot and killed in Katy, Texas.

    A Harris County deputy found Johnson “in the garage in his residence sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to his head,” according to The Associated Press.

    The case is being investigated as a homicide.

    Despite the tragedy, the 6-foot-10, 312-pound Pittman soldiers on. After averaging 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds, he is projected as a second-round pick in the June 24 NBA Draft.

    He has workouts coming up with the Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers,  Boston Celtics, L.A. Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

    “It’s really tough but I know that this is what he would want me to do and I knew that I was doing this for him, too,” Pittman said. “Anybody else could’ve quit or  gave up on their dream but I’m going to keep going with it and this could be a blessing in disguise. I’m a very strong person.”

    Pittman is still grieving but appeared upbeat after a workout Wednesday and subsequent sitdown with several executives from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    “I’ll never get over that because that was my baby brother but I’ve just got to keep the fire going inside me, and the drive,” he said. “And that’s what I do, just keep going and going and don’t quit.”

    If Pittman does hear his name called June 24, he said it will be “My dream come true.”

    “I worked hard for this,” he added, “and I’ll be rewarded.”

    (The AP contributed)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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