Harrell getting better at the free-throw line

University of Louisville sophomore Montrezl Harrell has been playing as well as any college basketball player in the country in recent weeks. Harrell has even been shooting free throws better in the last three games. What did the U of L staff do to try and correct his woeful free throw shooting?

Montrezl Harrell monster slam dunks have become a commonplace to see during University of Louisville basketball games.

And in many cases, several Harrell slams a game.

But just as the high-flying dunks that Harrell was throwing down his woeful free throw shooting was also becoming all to familiar to U of L fans.

"I'm practicing hard," Harrell said two weeks ago.

Now four games after hitting just 5 of 12 from the line in the win over Cincinnati, Harrell has seemingly improved his shooting.

"Even his bad ones look good," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "He's working hard on his free throws and every one looks great now."

Harrell is 61 of 126 for the season but has hit 11 of 18 in the last three games, including 5 of 8 last week in the win against SMU.

"I've been shooting a lot of them in practice and just trying to stay focused, doing what my coaches are telling me," Harrell said.

Pitino said his coaches have "simplified" things for Harrell. The Hall of Fame coach said he's never had bad form, just some bad habits.

"All we did was slow down his motion," Pitino said. "One big thing on free throw shooting is your eyes have to be focused on the rim. You don't look down and then go to a slow delivery. You have to stay focused on the rim.

"We had him focus on the rim and slow down his delivery and release. He has done that and now they all look great."

Now instead of Hack-A-Trez potentially happening in a close game, Pitino said he's getting more and more comfortable with Harrell on the line.

"He's not a bad free-throw shooter," the coach said.

"I feel a lot more comfortable," said Harrell, who hit 32 of 63 – 50.8 percent – from the line as a freshman. "I'm still working."

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