The Arizona Wildcats’ bench was all smiles when a 3-pointer from Keanu Pinder splashed through the bottom of the net.
The Australian had just made his first career 3 at Arizona, catching his teammates and even his own head coach off guard.
“I was as surprised as anybody when he made the one he shot,” Sean Miller said Wednesday after the Wildcats blew out Texas Southern, 85-63.
Surprised and, well, not quite as happy as Pinder’s teammates were for him.
“It’s not a good shot for him or our team,” Miller said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him shoot a 3-point shot at Arizona other than the two he took tonight, so that’s not a good shot for him right now.”
Pinder took a 3 earlier in the same game, but it missed badly. That, Miller expected.
“I think 15 to 17 (feet) is good,” Miller said of Pinder’s ideal range.
Even better, in Miller’s mind, would be Pinder sticking to his strengths — rebounding and defending.
The junior college transfer is averaging 4.0 rebounds per game at Arizona so far, and leads the team in blocks, tallying nine through seven games.
Shooting is — and has been — a different story for the 6-foot-9 forward.
Pinder shot just 9 of 35 (25.7 percent) from beyond the arc last season at Hutchinson Community College, and had not taken a 3-pointer at Arizona up until Wednesday’s game.
Miller didn’t want that to change.
“Keanu has a real special role on our team,” Miller said. “He’s a great defender, he plays with a lot of energy, very athletic, he gives us a quickness up front that we really need. He’s been invaluable so far through seven games.
“But shooting really is not his forte.”
Texas Southern may disagree.
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