Thursdays and Saturdays are great if you're a freshman on the Arizona basketball team. The same can't be said for Fridays and Mondays. Those are the days when all that lofty playing time from those game nights is dissected, sometimes painfully.
"I think it's hard for us, because every time we watch film, a lot of stuff comes back to us seeing what we messed up on," freshman center Derrick Williams said.
For Solomon Hill, a bright freshman forward, the fear of making more mistakes eventually paralyzed him, to some extent.
Until he had 12 points at Washington on Thursday, Hill had scored in double figures only once during the Pac-10 season, and he lost his starting job Jan. 14 at Oregon to Kevin Parrom.
"I lost my aggressiveness, and it wasn't just about scoring points," Hill said. "It was about creating for others, getting back on the glass, and just doing what I should be doing out there on the court. Just the total mindset."
In particular, Hill said, he froze early in games because of the importance of it.
"I think the first few minutes was heavily emphasized in practice," Hill said. "I didn't want to mess up. I didn't really take any chances. I didn't really square up to the basket. I just wanted to make sure I did my part and not make mistakes."
Parrom brought an opposite approach once he jumped in the starting lineup at Oregon, going intensely on defense and rebounding.
Even Hill said that was a necessary touch.
"I think in those first four minutes of the game, Kevin Parrom really establishes himself out there," Hill said. "He gets a lot of defensive rebounds and gets it going fast, and I think that's what we needed. He came out at Oregon, and that's when we started the (four-game winning) streak."
Since he's already pondering changes to his lineup, Miller could consider moving Hill in over a guy such as junior forward Jamelle Horne. But Miller said Tuesday he wasn't sure yet if he'd change the lineup, and that it really doesn't matter when Hill gets in the game.
It just matters if he's in the game.
"He's an important factor, whether he starts or not," Miller said. "Sometimes starting the game means the most to the players. To the coaching staff, it's not as if the player who doesn't start doesn't play. It's more about the quality of play in the Oregon game. Whether he starts or not, he's going to be an important part of what we do."
Miller said Hill, averaging 4.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in conference games, is particularly critical because of his ability to play inside and out.
"That's asking a lot for any player," Miller said. "It's asking a lot even more so of a freshman, because he has to do a lot of different things. He's improved steadily in that role."
But whether Miller inserts Hill or anyone else in Horne's spot, the UA coach made one thing clear Tuesday: Something has to change with the Wildcats' talented but somewhat enigmatic junior forward.
Horne is averaging 10.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in conference games, the team's fourth-leading rebounder in Pac-10 play, and has had only five total rebounds in the UA's past five games. Even 5-foot-10-inch guard Nic Wise is out-rebounding Horne 31-29 on the defensive end, a stat that bothers Miller.
"Jamelle … rebounding the ball; that's one of the keys to us finishing the season strong," Miller said. "We talk to him all the time about it. It's not an easy solution."
Miller successfully pushed Horne out of funks on Dec. 23 against North Carolina State, when he didn't start Horne after Horne said a foot sprain could keep him out at least six weeks.
He also did the same in the second half of the UA's 77-58 win at ASU on Jan. 23, and indicated Tuesday another fire may be lit.
At the same time, Miller said, he didn't want to get too extreme.
That could include both freshmen and veterans.
"One thing that's hard is you ride the emotion of the season," Miller said. "One of the things that beat Cal was Jamelle had some really significant plays in that game. He really played a team game. When you think about his career at that moment, you felt really good.
"He didn't do some things at Washington. But he wasn't the only one, believe me."
• What: Oregon at Arizona
• When: 8:30 p.m., Thursday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)