Solomon Hill doesn't need to listen to coaches, teammates or fans to know he's expected to have a bigger impact on the Arizona Wildcats this season.
All he has to do is peruse the newsstand.
There, Hill, a junior, can stare at himself on regionalized covers of three major basketball annuals - Sporting News, Lindy's and Athlon.
With standout forward Derrick Williams having left for the NBA, Hill is expected to be among the leaders of a potentially more balanced lineup.
Hill discussed some thoughts on the season ahead with the Star:
Q. What is the impact of Derrick's departure?
A: It just shows your program is significant once you have a guy of that caliber who leaves. It takes the group of guys that you play with to step up and assume a role. I kind of like to look forward to that.
Q. Do you expect to play more inside?
A. "It is too early to tell. We have to see how our big men pan out, and we have to see how (freshmen) Sidiki (Johnson) and Angelo (Chol) do. That might limit me in the post.
Q: Can all four freshmen play a role right away?
A: Yeah, I've seen Angelo do some things that it's like 'wow,' especially defensively. For him to run the floor like he does, and his stamina level is crazy. I haven't seen the guy sweat on a treadmill. He doesn't even sweat. And to see Sidiki - his big body, he has very big broad shoulders and a big chest. To see him put a couple of moves on Kyryl, it's like 'that guy can come out and really help us.'"
Q. What have you seen of the freshman guards?
A: Josiah (Turner) and Nick (Johnson) are fantastic. Their comfort level of playing together already shows on the court. Josiah came out the first time we played pickup, and made Tree (center Alex Jacobson) look good. If a guy can make Tree look real good, just imagine what he can do for the rest of the team.
Q. How did he do that?
A. Just by driving and dishing back to Tree when nobody was looking, and Tree hit a little jumper. It was just all net.
Q. Turner has a unique ability to finish, doesn't he?
A: Yeah, he's real natural finisher. He's a real good decision- maker. And Nick is just like another (guard Kyle) Fogg. They both can defend. They are both natural defenders and both can shoot the three. It's fun to watch.
Q. What different characteristic will this season's team be known for?
A: I think having a true low post guy to clog up the middle and make it hard on other teams. Even though Derrick (caused) mismatch problems, playing against a true center was kind of hard for him because he wasn't the size of a true center, and I think that really made it hard on us to keep guys out of the middle. When you add some size and Kyryl gets the minutes this year, it will be hard to finish at the rim.
Q. UA conditioning coach Chris Rounds said you came in a little heavy after the summer. Are you in good shape now?
A: Yeah. I was about 230 and right now I'm 220, trying to get my body fat as low as possible. Probably by the Red Blue Game I'll be 219 or 218. I think that will really help me out in the long run, especially if I stay out on the wing more. I'll just have a chance to stay in front of those guys.
Q: Will you and wing Kevin Parrom play together this time?
A: That's been something we've talked about. Ultimately, (shooting guard) is going to be his true spot at the next level. So to be able to see that would be a great thing.
Q: How is Kevin doing?
A: He's been great. He's been a cheerful guy. His main focus right now is his mom. She did get out of the hospital. So he's just talking to his family and going to class.
Q. Did he seem shaken up after being shot Sept. 24?
A: Not that I've seen. It happened, and he got back kind of with a different mindset. He wasn't worried about himself as much as his mom.
Q; Have you seen Derrick?
A: He's been doing things from an endorsement standpoint. He's been working out with Kobe (Bryant). He's just trying to keep in tiptop shape because you never know what can happen.
Q: Did any of those magazine covers catch you by surprise?
A: Yeah, actually one, and I had to buy it for my mom. I mean it's a fun feeling, especially (having seen) Nic (Wise) and Derrick on there (before). It was very exciting. It just shows a sign of respect. But it's having to earn it now."