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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hill coming into his own in all facets

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Zachary Vito / Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona Mens Basketball versus Northern Arizona University at McKale Center in Tucson Arizona on Saturday December 3 2011.

Remember when Arizona didn’t have a go-to-guy, and the Wildcats were composed of a group of role players and talented freshmen hoping that mix would translate into wins?

Solomon Hill is making those days seem like a distant memory.

Over the last six games Hill has emerged as “our team’s best player,” according to Miller. The junior is averaging 14.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 54.7 percent shooting in 33.5 minutes.

Hill may not be the one to take a last-second shot, but he’s proven that on most nights, he’ll be Arizona’s most productive player.

He scored 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting, hauled in seven rebounds, dished out three assists and drilled two triples against the NAU Lumberjacks on Saturday.

He gave the Wildcats an interior presence on the glass and in the paint as the Los Angeles native grabbed four offensive rebounds and dropped in four buckets at the rim.

“He played very well again today,” head coach Sean Miller said of Hill. “Some of his offensive rebounds, like Kyle (Fogg’s) 3s, almost became the difference in the game. He does a lot of good things for us.”

Hill’s always shown flashes of his diverse skill set, but it’s never come with consistency. He’s scored in double-figures in six consecutive games, the longest such streak of his three-year career.

Consistency and Solomon Hill can finally be said in the same sentence as he’s doing his part to fill the void left by Derrick Williams.

“I’m just becoming a different player than I have my first two years,” Hill said. “Just being somebody that can be in there and produce day in and day out.

“I knew it would be hard, especially with so many people expecting somebody to take the full load of what Derrick had. But (I’m) just coming into my own, being relaxed, not really buying into the pressure and focused on that.”

Hill’s been thriving as Arizona’s power forward, although he called himself a small forward early in the season. He said playing the four “feels natural” and he’s able to take advantage of slower big men guarding him.

Hill has taken advantage of his new role thus far, but with a step up in competition on the horizon, Hill has to stay on top of his game and remain the Wildcats’ No. 1 option.

“It’s just important that he stays humble, he stays hungry, that he keeps working every day and that’s what got him to where he is now,” Miller said. “To me this is nothing more than a good start. I feel like he can continue to get better as our season grows.”

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