When Sean Miller took his UA basketball team to Drachman Stadium for a mile run and conditioning work at 6:45 a.m. last Tuesday, Solomon Hill was there.
The first-round draft pick of the Indiana Pacers continues to be an example even though his college eligibility is exhausted.
“I’ll talk about Solomon Hill until my last days of coaching,” Miller said a day later, addressing about 400 people at the Rotary Club of Tucson. “He honored the process.”
Miller recently read Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s book and absorbed Saban’s message, which was “grow out of yourself and into the team.”
Isn’t that how a player like Hill, who averaged a modest 13.4 points a game last season, became a first-round draft pick?
“At the end of October last year, (Pacers general manager) Kevin Pritchard quietly sat through three of our practices, watching Solomon,” Miller said. “By the time Kevin went home, the Pacers were 80 percent sure they would draft Solomon before we ever played a game.”
Miller did some research and discovered that former Arizona basketball players have earned nearly $900 million in the NBA. The common thread?
“About 80 percent of the wealth of our NBA players comes from those who played in the Final Four,” he said. “The better the team does, the more individual accolades come your way.”
Hill is guaranteed $1,246,000 this NBA season and $1,302,000 next year. For him, honoring the process paid off.