Pitchford looking to love the rim

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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