Kyle Pitman followed up his captaincy with the Desert Vista boys basketball team by getting a second term with the Thunder’s volleyball team this spring.

It isn’t surprising to anyone who knows the Desert Vista senior, but the fact the he is such a well-rounded athlete is to Thunder volleyball coach Ryan Tolman.

Tolman first met Pitman when the latter was an awkward 10-year-old athlete who could shoot the basketball with the best of them, but that was about it.

“When he came in as a freshman I remember him being limited athletically,” Tolman said. “When he came out I thought, ‘I sure hope he is a better athlete.’ It’s pretty remarkable how hard he has worked to get to this point.”

It wasn’t all hard work in Pitman’s mind.

“By no means was I athletic in any sense of the word when I first met him at a basketball camp,” Pitman remembered. “I could shoot because my dad (Jim) was good and he worked for the Suns so I was around the game, but I grew into my body and worked hard at it.”

While it might have taken Pitman awhile to find some flow athletically, Tolman said he knew there was no question about the way he carries himself.

“He is a character guy and a great leader,” Tolman said. “He always has been and there was no question he was going to be one of our captains.”

Pitman shares the duties with Drake Moran and Brock Wilson and they’ve been doing a good job as the Thunder’s off to an 8-2 start. They made the semifinals of the Chandler invitational to start the year before losing to eventual champion Mesa.

The Thunder had two set wins over Boulder Creek and Brophy in the event and it showed them what they can accomplish if playing well.

“I think we have the chance to be really good,” Pitman said. “We all really like each other, the chemistry is right, and we work hard. We’ve already beat some good teams and we should only get better as we get deeper into the year.”

The Thunder is playing 6-2 this year, meaning Pitman is not only setting but getting a chance to hit at the net as well.

The fact that Pitman is a basketball player first, he was expected to hear about being accepted into MIT on Thursday where he would play hoops, but still performs at a high level speaks to how far he has come athletically.

“He is our most experienced varsity player and I rely on him a lot, and I’ll end up saying, ‘What Kyle said,’ because he is so dialed in,” Tolman said. “He only plays club volleyball a little bit before basketball takes over. He isn’t fully committed like some kids, but he still gets it done.”

As far as hitting a little more these days the 6-foot-1 Pitman says he is growing into the role.

“It’s coming along,” he said. “I’ve gotten a chance in club, but I don’t have a lot of experience. It’s getting there.”

Volleyball is less tense than basketball but that doesn’t mean Pitman goes about being a captain any differently as he sees the final months of his high school career dwindle away.

“Basketball has a different feel to it and is my passion,” Pitman said. “It’s what I work at and think about all of the time. Volleyball is more laid back and I lead by example, but if something needs to be said, I’ll say it.

“I take pride in being a captain because it means I have the respect of my teammates and that’s the most important thing.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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