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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hoop’s Hill a trim shooter

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team held its annual Red-Blue scrimmage Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Hidden behind the lead of Derrick Williams and lead guard Momo Jones’s quiet scoring evening, it was sophomore forward Solomon Hill who played Sunday’s exhibition game indicatively of his offseason work.

Hill’s goal: Trim the body and improve the jump shot — the rest would follow.

So far, so good.

“”I feel like my body was the main focus since trimming down,”” Hill said after Sunday’s 11-point win over Augustana College. “”It’s really, put my mind and my body on the same page.””

Listed at 6-foot-6, 226 pounds, Hill said on media day that his body fat was down to nine percent, far from a year prior, when head coach Sean Miller was just happy that Hill had lost upwards of 30 pounds since joining the team.

There’s a new outlook on preparation for Hill in his second season.

“”It’s not the same aches and pains,”” Hill said of weight sessions with the basketball team’s conditioning coach, Chris Rounds. “”(Last season) we got off the track and couldn’t even get up.””

Now, the Fairfax High School graduate admits he looks forward to the conditioning sessions.

And with his body in check, he can focus on playing the game rather than on being tired.

Hill’s Sunday box score didn’t stand out but read diversely — seven points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Despite three turnovers, Hill said on media day that he’s looking to improve his assist-to-turnover ratio, a statistic Miller watches closely — the forward led the team in assists on a day that saw Arizona’s point guards, Jones and freshman Jordin Mayes, combine for only two assists.

“”(Being) patient on the court,”” said Hill, has been a key trait to the early part of his sophomore year. No longer did he want to be a player that had more turnovers (63) than assists (52) last season.

Those numbers didn’t say that Hill wasn’t smart on the court. Rather, it indicated the game was perhaps a little fast for the then-freshman.

After all, Miller has often praised Hill as being court-savvy, and Sunday’s rotations proved that Miller is a believer in Hill’s improvements and abilities. It was Hill, along with Jones and Williams, who spent the most minutes on the court — 28 to be exact.

Hill’s minutes likely won’t drop off if he continues playing smart basketball, nor will it hurt him to continue extending the range on his jump shot.

On Sunday, he shot an efficient 3-for-5 from the field while hitting one 3-pointer in two tries.

“”You could tell (that last season) some guys played me differently, some guys backed off,”” said Hill, who filled summer’s free time with shooting reps with graduate assistant Danny Peters.

“”Same form every time,”” Hill said. “”Just being confident.

“”It was focusing on keeping the same jump shot even when I was tired. After a while, you could tell that my jump shot was changing as I got tired, or I wasn’t getting the same lift.””

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