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Arizona basketball: Solomon Hill finds recipe to be small forward

2012-08-24T00:00:00Z 2014-07-25T12:07:07Z Arizona basketball: Solomon Hill finds recipe to be small forwardBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 24, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Solomon Hill won't mistake himself for a cook or a nutritionist, but there are some things he now knows about food.

He has to.

Not only is the Arizona Wildcats' senior forward heading into his final college season, a last chance to impress NBA scouts, but he's also expected to move to a small forward position that will demand perimeter shooting and nimble defense.

"I'm in a position where I have to guard little guys," Hill said Thursday, during UA's end-of-summer news conference.

So Hill now sports only about 220 lean pounds on his 6-foot-6 frame, thanks to a strategic summer of workouts and dieting, after he once carried more than 240 pounds.

Hill said he still doesn't really cook - "someday," he said - but has learned to bake chicken, make turkey burgers and eat healthy breakfasts.

He also changed some habits.

"No more fast food at all. No more late-night snacking," Hill said. "Fruit, but no juice."

Hill is now buff enough that UA coach Sean Miller tweeted a photo of a bare-chested Hill on a beach in the Bahamas, saying "not too many college basketball players have worked harder this offseason than this guy - hard to recognize."

While also noting that Hill's three-point shooting has steadily improved every season, Miller said Hill's physique has changed as dramatically as anyone he's seen.

"Solomon doesn't get enough credit for how hard he's worked," Miller said. "What I really hope for with him in his last year is that he can finish this season off with an exclamation point."

Fit freshmen

Miller said freshmen post players Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley have already made progress physically since their arrival in Tucson in June.

The 7-foot Tarczewski arrived at 223 pounds and is now up to about 250 pounds with just 8 percent body fat, Miller said.

"You don't gain that much weight in that period of time unless you're working as hard as you can," Miller said.

The 6-8, 230-pound Ashley reported with 22 percent body fat, but has already dropped to nearly 10 percent, Miller said.

"If you lose 13 percent body fat, that's a great commitment," Miller said.

The Wildcats' other freshman post, the 6-10, 220-pound Grant Jerrett, was not able to report to Tucson until July because his California high school year did not end until June. But Miller said he's confident Jerrett will become "bigger and stronger."

Instant defense

Arizona's leading defender last season, Kyle Fogg, may be gone. But Miller received a reminder in the Bahamas that things may not be all that bad once Mark Lyons showed up.

Miller recruited Lyons to Xavier and re-recruited him last spring, with Lyons able to transfer and play immediately once he graduated from the Cincinnati school this summer.

"I got away from recognizing that maybe the best thing he does is how quick he is on defense," Miller said. "He's been through a ton of practices and games so not only does he have ability on defense, but he has the know-how, and, when you add a new player to your team, they usually don't have one or the other."

Big options

Among the potential lineups the Wildcats could have this season is one featuring the 6-6 Kevin Parrom at shooting guard, with Hill at small forward.

Miller said Parrom's play this summer, after a season marred by a gunshot wound and broken foot, indicated he's ready.

"Watching him move and shoot the ball, how he plays, he's going to be difficult to keep off the court," Miller said. "He's really proved to all of us that his injury is in the rear-view mirror, and if he has a future injury, it's not going to be connected to anything in the past. Functionally, he's 100 percent and more important than that, mentally he's in a different place."

Parrom has been expected to back up Hill at small forward, with sophomore Nick Johnson and freshman Gabe York at shooting guard, but Miller said there was "no question" Parrom would also earn minutes at shooting guard.

Rim shots

• Miller said junior guard Jordin Mayes is 100 percent after suffering a stress fracture last season. "He had a very good summer," Miller said.

• Former UA guard Josiah Turner signed a professional contract with the Hungarian team Albacomp, according to Eurobasket. Turner left the Wildcats in May after one season and initially committed to SMU before turning pro.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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