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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Solomon Hill has to be the go-to guy

No matter how important a balanced scoring attack may be, every team needs that one player to step up and make a play in crunch time. With the game on the line or the shot clock winding down, that go-to guy puts the team on his back.

Derrick Williams was that guy last season.

But with Williams now in the NBA fighting with owners over 1 percent of the NBA’s revenue, Arizona has no such player. Head coach Sean Miller preached balance and a deep rotation early in the season, but even he knows the Wildcats need someone to emerge as the go-to player.

Miller said the only reason Arizona doesn’t have that player is because no one has emerged as the frontrunner.

“A coach doesn’t anoint the go-to guy,” Miller said after the Wildcats defeated Humboldt State. “The player becomes the go-to guy. I never said to Derrick or the team, ‘Let’s make sure Derrick gets 20.’ He just got 20.”

Arizona doesn’t have a Derrick Williams. There are no 20-point scorers on the roster.

But taking age, experience and skill set into consideration, junior Solomon Hill must try.

Sure, there are other options. Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner are probably the two most talented players on the roster. Johnson scored an effortless 18 against Seattle Pacific and Turner’s shown the ability to break anyone down on the perimeter at any given time. But it’s unfair to lean on a pair of freshmen, especially early in the season.

So that leaves the veterans — Hill, Kyle Fogg and Jesse Perry. Miller said that the go-to guy will be situational. Sometimes it’s Fogg, sometimes it’s Hill and sometimes it’s Perry.

But let’s be honest. Perry and Fogg are role players.

Fogg is a deadly standstill shooter, a lockdown defender and a solid leader. He’ll drill an open triple, but he’s not a playmaker.

The same goes for Perry. He’s a scrapper who can hit the occasional open jumper and attack the hoop all the way from the 3-point line.

He’s not Derrick Williams in the paint. He isn’t a lights-out finisher and he plays below the rim. He does a nice job getting to the free throw line and plays as hard as anyone on the team.

Williams had that it factor. Momo Jones had that it factor. Perry and Fogg simply don’t.

So that leaves Hill. The 6-foot-6 small forward is full of talent. He can make plays in the post and break players down off the dribble. Plus, he’s played in his fair share of big games.

Hill needs to be The Man, at least until Johnson or Turner develop more. He’s the only one with the experience and the talent to fill Arizona’s gaping hole.

That role is Hill’s for the taking, but judging by his last performance against Humboldt State, he’s far from taking advantage of it.

“A lot of guys talk about having and wanting a bigger role,” Miller said. “There it is. It’s like, ‘Man, Derrick Williams is gone, now I have the opportunity.’ He is gone and here’s the opportunity.”

Will Hill capitalize on his chance?

If not, Arizona is in trouble.

— Mike Schmitz is a marketing senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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