Arizona basketball: Hill puts on full press

Miller: Ex-Cat has 'momentum' after predraft workouts
2013-06-23T00:00:00Z 2013-06-27T19:57:08Z Arizona basketball: Hill puts on full pressBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - During his 17th predraft audition Saturday, Solomon Hill sported a scruffy beard and longer hair than he kept in his four years with the Arizona Wildcats.

It's not like he has a lot of time for grooming these days.

"I'm like a homeless guy looking for a job," Hill said.

A really good job, that is.

In his quest for that job, Hill has dived fully into the NBA predraft circuit while taking time to relax for brief moments at his Los Angeles base. He worked out with five other players at US Airways Center on Saturday and said he will rest at home today before hitting Indiana on Monday for his final workout.

Then he'll rest before Thursday's NBA draft - and get a haircut.

"I get to L.A. when I can to wash clothes and hit the road again," Hill said. "I try to stay out as long as possible until I've got to wash clothes. My father does (the laundry) sometimes, too. Definitely between workouts I've just been resting."

Hill's extreme approach to the NBA predraft process is something of a necessity. Not only is he believed to be on the bubble of guaranteed-money territory - first-round picks are given two-year contracts while high-second round picks often receive guaranteed deals - but he's also trying to rebrand himself as a full-time wing player.

During much of his Arizona career, Hill wasn't able to do that. Last season, UA coach Sean Miller said beforehand that Hill would play small forward, but the Wildcats ultimately found it necessary to move him to power forward much of the time.

Hill even started in late season at power forward, where he was able to create mismatches and be effective defensively.

"It's just like in Derrick's case. He played the five (center) for us, but he wasn't really a five," Hill said of Derrick Williams, who went second in the 2011 NBA draft. "Face up, step out, shoot - everything coach wanted me to do I did for them. We had a thing my senior year where I was trying to play three (small forward), but I know my coach - he wants to play the best defensive team out there. I was out there doing whatever he wanted me to."

Saturday's workout, and every workout so far, had a different requirement: Hill has been asked to show what he can do on the perimeter.

The Phoenix Suns tested Hill by bringing him in with five other potential NBA wings: Carrick Felix of ASU, Elias Harris of Gonzaga, Reggie Bullock of North Carolina, and James Southerland and Brandon Triche of Syracuse.

"That was the reason we had (Hill) in with this group - he hadn't handled the ball much away from the basket," Suns GM Ryan McDonough said. "I was impressed today. He did a little more off the dribble than he did at Arizona and made some plays.

"We had him shoot some NBA threes, we had him do some full-court ballhandling and see how he handles pressure, and I think he did well in all those areas."

Those are the kinds of words Hill says he's hearing a lot.

"A lot of people are surprised with my first step, my ability to dribble the ball," Hill said. "I think people are surprised with my ballhandling, but I really wasn't in a position to do a lot of things off the ball" at Arizona.

McDonough said Hill would be "in the mix" for the Suns' pick at No. 30, though Hill is most often projected to be taken in the second round.

Earlier this week, Miller said he's received recent indications from about eight NBA teams that Hill is showing enough during team workouts that he could slip into the first round.

"His greatest characteristics showing through are that he's a great competitor, a hard worker, a good player who is highly intelligent and highly motivated," Miller said. "When he shows up for a workout, he's showing up comprehensively prepared and I believe that Solomon has really helped his stock.

"There's a lot of momentum for Solomon late in the first round, certainly early in the second."

Whatever the case, McDonough said Hill has a future in the league.

"Solomon can play some shooting guard and some small forward," McDonough said. "I think he's going to be a pretty good NBA three-point shooter, and he can defend his position.

"Guys like that are certainly valuable in today's NBA."

On StarNet: Follow the Cats through the offseason at azstarnet.com/pascoe

Up next

• What: NBA draft

• Where: Barclays Center, New York

• When: 4 p.m. Thursday

• TV: ESPN

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



AP Top 25


Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily

Most Popular

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Video