Arizona Wildcats basketball: Hill declines Portsmouth invite

2013-04-09T14:28:00Z 2013-04-09T14:36:06Z Arizona Wildcats basketball: Hill declines Portsmouth inviteBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 09, 2013 2:28 pm  • 

Departing Arizona Wildcats forward Solomon Hill has opted out of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, the NBA's seniors-only predraft camp.

Hill, who is projected as a mid-second round pick by Draft Express, was originally listed as a participant but has since been replaced by LIU-Brooklyn's Jamal Olasewere. He would have been the top-rated player in Draft Express rankings to play in the camp.

A UA spokesman said Hill was nursing an ankle injury after the Wildcats' loss to Ohio State but was also advised not to play in Portsmouth.

Ryan Blake, the NBA's senior director of scouting operations, criticized Hill's move.

"He didn’t do anything by pulling out," Blake said. "If I'm an NBA guy, I'm wondering `What is he hiding? Is he scared? Why doesn't he want to compete?' "

The Portsmouth Invitational is typically composed of players on the fringe of getting drafted, or those seeking to improve their overseas stock, though many alumni have been drafted in the first and second rounds. 

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The Wildcats are already being projected in Top 10 forecasts for next season.

ESPN has the Wildcats No. 4, behind Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State. USA Today puts UA at No. 7, behind Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State and Florida.

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SDSU assistant coach Tony Bland, a well-regarded recruiter with extensive Southern California connections, is reportedly mulling over a gigantic raise to work for USC. Bland had also been mentioned as a possibility for the UA and UCLA staffs.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says Bland could get a package of about $250,000 at USC. UA is likely to pay about $200,000, since James Whitford was the highest-paid assistant at $210,000.

Among the other potential replacements for Whitford is Memphis assistant Damon Stoudamire, who was a candidate to replace Archie Miller two years ago.

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The Pac-12 announced today it is doing an independent investigation into "all of the officiating and coaching events" during and after the Pac-12 Tournament.

“After considering the matter, Commissioner Scott and I agree that an independent review is important to maintain the confidence of our members, and of the public, in the integrity of our competition,” said Oregon State president Edward Ray, the chairman of the Pac-12 group. “While the review will focus primarily on the tournament, we expect that it will inform a broader examination of our men’s basketball officiating and help us provide the best possible program.”

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said nothing was more important than "maintaining confidence in our integrity."

"Given the conflicting media reports, it is important that we do whatever we can to understand all the facts," Scott said, "not only to resolve the questions about officiating during the tournament but also to learn lessons that will help us make changes and improvements to our overall program.”

Experts who are entirely independent of the Pac-12 Conference will conduct the review, the league said. The review is expected to be completed in time for the presidents' June meeting.

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