Pitchford looking to love the rim

Walter Pitchford (Getty Images)

Walter Pitchford admits he sometimes falls in love with the three, he's looking to fall in love with the rim.

LINCOLN, Neb. - "Shooter."

It's something Nebraska players constantly hear when 6-foot-10 Walter Pitchford catches the basketball on the perimeter.

Averaging 8.7 points per game on the season, the Florida sophomore transfer is averaging 12.4 over the last four contests – three Nebraska victories. In that time span, he's also shooting 50 percent from three-point land.

"He's got the green light from me from three, I trust him 100 percent," said Nebraska head coach Tim Miles. "He will take some questionable shots, just like any young player will, but at the same time I think he's a really good three-point shooter."

Miles had a meeting with Pitchford a few weeks ago.

The message?

To step it up, the Huskers needed him to do more on the floor.

So far so good, although Miles wouldn't mind seeing the big-man step up in other areas as well.

"I would like to see him rebound a heck of a lot more, I would like to see him get fouled," said Miles. "If you remember something we developed with Brandon Ubel last year that I thought was interesting. He didn't shoot it very well, but he would get it outside, drive it, and make a post move two feet from the basket. He would start at 21-feet, but end up at the rim.

"Walter needs to put some of that in his game as well so he can get fouled. Right now it's all about getting a shot off, because he can. He's very athletic and 6-foot-10."

Basically it comes down to the law of percentages. Pitchford shoots 39 percent from three. He's a 78 percent shooter from the charity stripe. Driving the lane would surely mean a few more attempts at the free throw line.

"I kind of fell in love with the 3 a little too much," Pitchford said on Tuesday. "Now I need to like the 3 and love the rim.

"I really just need to work on ball-handling a lot more than I am right now, taking it a little more serious than I have been."

The Huskers (12-10, 4-6) will host Illinois (14-10, 3-8) Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Pinnacle Bank Arena.

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