Solomon Hill's play for the Arizona Wildcats never beamed as something coming from a guy capable of taking over games as in the NBA sense -- not until his final outing for Sean Miller's club, a 16-point performance against the Ohio State Buckeyes in a Sweet 16 loss. But for that, Hill could become a project for a winning ball club who in a few years could make his way into the lineup because of his work ethic and continued improvement as an all-around player.
Hill's high basketball IQ made him a coach on the floor at the small forward and power forward positions with the Wildcats. Though his role changed from year to year depending on UA's roster makeup, he was always a favorite of coach Sean Miller because he knew the schemes and always played within himself. Hill brings savvy, and his strength that allowed him to effectively play power forward should translate well when he must defend the perimeter threats at the next level.
At 6-foot-7 in shoes, the ability for Hill to rebound and push the pace on his own make him a dangerous player in a fast-paced game, and his ability to shoot the ball from three-point range -- which increased from 22 percent his freshman year to 39 percent during his senior campaign -- makes him an intriguing prospect at the next level. Hill is an excellent rebounder from the wing, and his drop in that regard during his senior year was due to the boards gobbled up by Arizona's freshman front line.
As he grew, Hill became a decent scorer by turning over his right shoulder and coming off screens. He also became a bit better at attacking the cup as he lost weight and became more explosive.
The improvement in Hill's shot and also his complete change in his body (Hill is a guy who naturally isn't the most trim player) from junior to senior season were both proof of his increasingly impressive work ethic.
Hill is great at many things but not necessarily good at one. His shooting is arguably his greatest talent, but that is still relatively new and a work-in-progress from a pure technique standpoint. As an athlete, Hill is great once he builds up momentum but is not necessarily shifty nor able to change direction at an NBA-level.
Ball-handling isn't a poor part of Hill's game, but it hampers his play-making ability. Hill isn't explosive enough to blow by perimeter defenders and doesn't have more than a spin move and good footwork to shake defenders. Again, his body is much improved since his freshman season and that helps his leaping ability and ability to attack the cup, but the issue is again getting there.
As a defender, Hill's 6-foot-9 wingspan is solid, but he lacks the ability to move horizontally and didn't play more than decently in handling NBA-level perimeter scorers like UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad.
Hill likely shook the tweener label he earned while playing as an undersized power forward, but he's still below the level most NBA teams would like when considering his natural perimeter abilities.
How is this prospect perceived on campus, and how will he be remembered?
Hill was a fan favorite. A rare four-year pro, he was the voice of the Wildcats and a player always relied-upon by Sean Miller.
What anecdote or story best typifies his time at your school?
Lost in Sean Miller's blowup after being called for a technical foul in the Wildcats' Pac-12 loss was a moment typical of Hill's savvy:
Sean Miller on what the Wildcats can learn from the loss as they look toward the NCAA tournament
"Got to stay in the coaching box," Miller quickly responded to a question before Brandon Ashley or Hill could speak. "And you got to be real, real careful now as the coach, what you say. That's what I've learned."
Hill followed it up by saying that the Wildcats must keep their recent defensive intensity that held the Bruins to 39 percent shooting and limited point guard Larry Drew behind Nick Johnson's defense.
"I think we continue to playing defense the way we have been in this tournament," Hill said. "I think the sky is the limit for us. I think we need to be a little more aggressive going to the rim and getting some fouls. But all in all, we have to stay as a team. Continue playing as a fist and not let outside sources really dictate our play."
Retorted Miller: "You can see what a great leader Solomon is; he's much more poised than me right now."
What parts of the draft evaluation coverage about the prospect do you think is wrong or missing?
There is a lot to be said about Hill's physical limitations, but I believe that might be because there's not much else to dock him points for. Sure, Hill is not an elite athlete and could struggle at first to move laterally on defense, but he's not a poor athlete by any means. Watch the Ohio State game and a few thunderous dunks against the Buckeyes showed he has more pop than people give him credit for. He's also pretty strong.
What will fans of the NBA love and/or hate about this prospect?
Hill could be compared to a Jared Dudley type of player in the league. He's got a wealth of experience from college and won't be a risk to rile up tensions in a locker room. He's smart and projects to improve in increments from year to year.