With the regular season now wrapped and the Pac-12′s seniors having played their final home games, we’re taking a tour across the conference and bidding this group of seniors farewell.
With every ferocious dunk and dagger three pointer, the narrative of Solomon Hill’s four year odyssey at Arizona becomes more fulfilling.
In an era defined by one-and-dones and players feeling self-entitled, the progression of Hill from a freshman to a senior has illustrated a satisfying reminder of all that is still right in college basketball.
When the Los Angeles native re-committed to be a part of Sean Miller’s first recruiting class at Arizona, he likely envisioned himself having a similar route through Tucson as fellow class of 2009 commit Derrick Williams.
But while Williams went on to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year his rookie season and then transformed into a college superstar as a sophomore, it took Hill a bit longer to mature.
At 6’7, 220 pounds, Hill quickly realized he didn’t quite have the size to physically dominate in the way Williams did. Instead, under the watchful eye of the Arizona strength and conditioning program, he developed into one of the more versatile big men in the Pac-12.
Off the court, Hill bought into a structured lifestyle that included avoiding many of the distractions that often consume college students. On the court, it has translated to eye-catching results that could catch the eyes of some NBA scouts.
In nearly every statistical category, there is a near-linear progression from his freshman through senior years. None may be more attractive than his three point percentage, which has skyrocketed from a dismal 22% his freshman year to around 40% as a junior and senior.
But Kenpom.com or any other stat analyzing site couldn’t portray the true evolution of Hill as a player and a person since he arrived at UofA in the summer of ’09.
Whereas early in his career he was content with being a complimentary piece on offense, Hill has acquired a kill or be killed mentality mixed in with a terrific understanding of game situation. Albeit he is still plagued with occasional inconsistency, he knows when it is time for him to take over or when he should dish it inside to one of the bigs.
Hill has also handled his senior responsibilities remarkably well. It’s not easy to keep together the chemistry of a team loaded with underclassmen but here we are in March and there is still a sense of unity, despite the recent setbacks in conference play.
With the Pac-12 Tournament and the Big Dance around the corner, it’ll be Hill’s Last Hurrah and a chance to seal his legacy in Tucson.
But whether the final destination is Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Atlanta or somewhere else, there will be no disputing what Hill has meant to this program and what Arizona has meant to Hill.
When Hill made the pledge to become a Wildcat – less than a week after Miller left Xavier – he made the biggest gamble any young basketball player can make. It paid off.