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Texas star Dexter Pittman leaves NBA Draft Combine after family tragedy

May 22, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

On Thursday, Dexter Pittman was running around a gym in Chicago trying to prove to a room full our NBA general managers and scouts that he is in shape and that his post game has dramatically improved.

But he left to return home on Friday after his brother had been shot and killed back home near Houston. ESPN has the report:

Harris County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Janie Wagner said a deputy was sent to the home just before 10 p.m. Thursday. The deputy found the victim “in the garage in his residence sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to his head.”

Johnson was one of Pittman’s three siblings. Pittman was informed his brother was shot at midnight ET Thursday. Pittman arrived in Houston midmorning Friday, where he was informed by his mother that his brother had died.

“I just feel terrible for him. Dexter has gone through so much to get to this point, he was in the best shape of his life, he worked so hard, and then this tragedy happens,” said Mark Bartelstein, Pittman’s agent.

Pittman, who played for Texas, was at the combine to prove he deserved to be a second-round pick (or higher, although that is not likely). He is a big body – 6’10”, 303 pounds with a long 7’6″ wingspan – that could be part of an NBA roster as teams look for ways to match up with the size of teams like the Magic (with Dwight Howard) or the Lakers. The question is conditioning and commitment — Pittman tested for 20 percent body fat at the combine, the highest of any player there.

Pittman has the body and some skills, he could be a solid big off the bench, but he’s really going to have to work for it.

Our thoughts are with him and his family.

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