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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona basketball to lean on Hill in upcoming season

Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat

Solomon Hill has been through a lot in his three years as a forward on the Arizona basketball, and is poised to lead his team to what he hopes is a National Championship season.

“What I took from last season and even the season before, was giving my team a form of stability,” Hill said. “Last year, we didn’t really have stability. They should know they have a leader who’s willing to lead on an everyday basis and give them somebody to look up to in practice and games.”

Hill’s freshman campaign ended in disappointment with the Wildcats losing in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Conference men’s basketball tournament to UCLA. Hill improved as the season went on and seemed to be a bright spot for the future.

His sophomore season was one of the more memorable seasons in recent history, as the team advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Hill dramatically improved his game and set himself up for an even better junior season.

Hill’s junior season was a step back for the team, as the Wildcats struggled to a 23-12 finish, the lowest since Hill’s freshman season. Arizona was not selected for the NCAA tournament and fell to Bucknell in the first game of the National Invitational Tournament, 65-54.

Despite team struggles, Hill averaged 12.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game in an All-Pac-12 season, but he’s not satisfied with that.

“If I can lead the team in all categories, like I tried to do last year, that’d be great,” Hill said. “I would like to step up my efficiency more and cut down on my turnovers.”

Hill had 86 turnovers on the season an average of 2.45 per game, which led the team and were also the most of his career.

As the end nears for Hill, the senior knows expectations are high. Hill will be counted on to lead the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the nation, as ranked by ESPN, into the season and hopefully toward Arizona’s first national title since 1997.

“Solomon is a returning all-conference player,” UA head coach Sean Miller said in a statement. “Those guys really are coveted because college basketball has become so young, with so much inexperience, and so much turnover, that when you have someone who is both experienced and productive, those guys many times are the anchor to a great season.”

For an Arizona team that has eight newcomers, Hill is a staple of consistency and a veteran leader the team can look up to.

“For me, it’s do or die,” Hill said. “It’s my last chance, so I’m going to go all out. I’m going to go 1,000 percent to help show these young guys the ropes and push them along. I feel really good about our team with me, (senior forward) Kevin (Parrom), and having (senior transfer point guard) Mark (Lyons) come in and some of the key guys like (sophomore guard) Nick Johnson and (sophomore center) Angelo Chol. All we needed was some height, and we got exactly what we wanted. Now it’s on us to produce.”

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