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The Daily Wildcat

 

Hill goes off against Oakland

Hill+goes+off+against+Oakland
Gordon Bates

Following his uninspiring performance against Gonzaga, Solomon Hill sat down with Sean Miller.

Hill’s head coach of three years outlined the junior’s shot selection in Arizona’s losses, proving that as the Los Angeles native goes, the Wildcats go.

MIller showed him that in three of Arizona’s biggest losses, Hill didn’t show up. He shot 4-of-12 in a loss to San Diego State, 1-of-7 in a loss to Florida and 1-of-7 in the Gonzaga loss.

The meeting hit home for Hill, and it showed in his play on Tuesday night.

“It kind of motivated me and just showed me that I had to relax I’ve got to stick to what we do best,” Hill said.

Mission accomplished. The 6-foot-6 junior put together what Miller called “his best performance at Arizona” as he scored a career-high 23 points on only 10 shots, while grabbing 11 boards and dishing out three assists.

Hill was deliberate without forcing the issue. He was aggressive, while still choosing his spots wisely. Tuesday was indeed Hill’s best game in cardinal and navy, and possibly a sign of things to come for the versatile forward.

The work ethic has always been there. Hill has always been Arizona’s best practice player, even when Derrick Williams was in Tucson.

But his talent never came full circle. Consistency was an issue, as was over-thinking. Miller said “He has as big of a motor to be a great player as maybe any kid I’ve been around. Once in a while that motor can almost work against him because he wants it so bad.”

But on Tuesday, Hill said he relaxed. He let the game come to him and looked as natural as he has all season. One game after playing a huge part in Arizona’s drubbing at the hands of the Bulldogs, Hill put his game face on and just played ball.

“I think it says a lot about Solomon,” Miller said. “It makes me feel good about our future because his mind was really in the right place.”

When Hill plays like he did against Oakland, he’s an all-conference player. His talent and upside are through the roof.

At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Hill has the vision and handle of a point guard, the rebounding potential of a power forward, the post moves of a big man and the lateral quickness of a two guard.

He can score on the perimeter, in the paint, and nearly anywhere in between. Then add in that his basketball IQ is off the charts and Hill becomes one of the Pac-12’s most dangerous players.

“I think when he plays like he played tonight he’s certainly one of the best forwards in our conference,” Miller said.

If Hill continues the mentality he showed against the Golden Grizzlies, he’ll earn himself a shot in the NBA. He’ll overcome the “tweener” label that his body type suggests and prove how valuable his versatility can be.

Right now, it’s not about the next level, especially with one more year of eligibility. It’s about Hill finally coming into his own, taking the blame for bad losses, and the praise for good wins.

Three days after an embarrassing performance against the Bulldogs, Hill can now bask in that glory rather than take the blame, because after Tuesday’s performance, he more than deserves it.

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

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