Elliott Pitts continues to see his playing time increase and Sean Miller believes that it is due in large part to his defensive ability.
"Elliott has really become a defender that we trust a great deal," Miller said. "He many times guards the other team’s best perimeter player when he comes into the game."
It makes sense that Pitts recognizes his playing time is only going to grow as he improves on defense.
"I’m not completely worried about offense right now," Pitts said. "I think defense is more what I am worried about, just stopping my man every time down the court. That’s what got me on the court this year, so I am going to keep worrying about that."
When discussing his improvement, Pitts points to two reasons as to why he is better than he was at this time last season.
"I think strength wise, definitely getting stronger this summer helped out," Pitts said. "Also guarding guys like Rondae, Gabe, and Stanley every day in practice has helped tremendously.
"Guarding taller and bigger guys has gotten easier for me just because I have been guarding Rondae for so long. It’s been about a year and a half guarding him."
As strong as Pitts is defensively, Miller would like to see him improve on offense as well.
"Offensively Elliott is shooting the ball really well for us," Miller said. "What we want him to do is settle in and be almost a complete player where he can do more than shoot it.
"He has a chance to drive the basketball, to play not to make a mistake, but to be more aggressive. We’re really happy with him and we have learned to trust him a great deal.
"I think the sky is the limit in terms of his role. The role he has now can really grow throughout the year if he keeps doing what he’s doing."
The biggest obstacle for Pitts offensively may be getting over the mental hurdles.
"It’s hard because it’s not as if he is out there for 25 minutes, so I think part of it is that he going through a progression in his mind of making sure he is loosened up and ready and feels good about the shot before he takes it," Miller said.
"Coming off the bench, Elliott Pitts is a very valuable member of our team. He is in our rotation and the amount of minutes can only get bigger. it won’t get smaller because he is doing things on a daily basis that we really respect, especially on defense."