"Cut the crap. It's time for you to mature," Pitchford thought. "You have to sacrifice to get where you want to be, both individually and as a team."
A Florida transfer, Pitchford is expected to be the Huskers biggest threat inside this season after redshirting last year. At 6-foot-10, the sophomore has changed his body since first arriving in Lincoln. Dropping 15 pounds of bad weight, Pitchford built his body back up to 235 and now has a body fat percentage of 8 percent.
"Coming in here, I probably took it for granted a little bit, until the seniors took me aside and talked with me," said Pitchford. "It was then I realized, I gotta step up and get things straight, otherwise I'm probably not going to be in the lineup. Coach Miles isn't a man to play with."
So Pitchford put in the work and at the same time pushed himself in practices, even though he knew he wasn't going to play. And after talking with him off the court, last year's senior class continued to drive Pitchford on it.
"The competition was fierce. I want to point out Brandon Ubel. Man, he goes from start to finish over 100 percent," said Pitchford. "He gives you all he's got. [Dylan] Talley was always in your ear, trying to get you off your game. Even Andre Almeida. That's a man hard to push out of the post. I was guarding him a lot in practices. He toughened me up. The thing we learned from them is to never quit. They never did and we tried to take that from them."
Pitchford played limited minutes at Florida, which means the Michigan native hasn't been on the floor for significant time since 2010-11, dating back to his senior year of high school at East Lansing Summit Christian.
"I really think I have taken a couple steps up in maturity and am the man I need to be for this level of play," said Pitchford. "The whole experience was a learning one. One thing I learned was loyalty and I learned it from Coach Miles. It's not about you. I could sit a whole another year to be honest, it's never going to be about me."