LOS ANGELES — When Solomon Hill committed to the Arizona Wildcats in April 2009, recruiting was in shambles after two years of coaching transition and there was no telling if Sean Miller could even convince point guard Nic Wise to stick around for a fourth year.
Surely, the Los Angeles native didn’t think things could turn quickly around enough to get him to a Final Four by the time he left this spring. But he did.
“Yeah, it’s Arizona,” Hill said after his college career ended in UA’s 73-70 loss to Ohio State on Thursday. “Why wouldn’t I be able to? It’s the reason I came here. We’re in a great location, we have a great fans, and coach Miller, the way he’s put things together, I thought he’d be able to turn guys into better players over the course of four years.”
Hill said Miller has turned him into a better player, as he has with seniors Kevin Parrom and Mark Lyons…but there was never a Final Four.
Hill came a game short of it in 2010-11 and two games short this season. As a freshman, he had no postseason and as a junior, it was one and out — in the NIT.
But Hill did manage to pick up two all-Pac-10 first team honors, an outrigger paddle for being the Diamond Head Classic MVP, some improved NBA draft stock…and a bunch of friends he may have for life.
“It still really hasn’t hit me that it’s my last time wearing an Arizona jersey,” Hill said Thursday. “It’s a little different. But I love these guys. It’s been a fun year. We had some ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Senior guard Mark Lyons didn’t get to a Final Four, either, leaving a veteran of four Sweet 16 teams — one as a redshirt under Miller at Xavier, two more as an active player with the Musketeers and this season with Arizona.
But he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself Thursday, either.
Read more about the Cats in Saturday's Arizona Daily Star.