This is the third installment of a series on what we learned about each player during Arizona’s recent trip to the Bahamas. You can find the first two here:
Player Evaluations: Mark Lyons, Gabe York
Player Evaluations: Nick Johnson, Jordin Mayes
Solomon Hill is all business. Much has been made of Hill’s improved physique, but the biggest change we noticed was mental. Hill is very aware that this is his last season at Arizona, and he is completely focused on basketball and preparing to be successful at the next level. Both on and off the court, Hill is showing the attitude of a senior leader. This is Solomon Hill’s team, and he is carrying himself appropriately.
In the first game, Hill displayed the all around game one expects from a senior. Hill took what the defense gave him, shooting 7-11 from the field (3-5 from deep) for 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. The defense did not have a player that could match up with Hill, and he took advantage both on the perimeter and in the paint.
In the second game, Hill struggled with his three pointer, shooting 3-9 from the field (0-5 from deep) for 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. With the rest of the team scoring effectively, Hill did not need to force any shots, and instead focused on distributing the ball. When Hill catches the ball at the high post, he is incredibly difficult to defend because of his ability to attack off the dribble or pass to a big man. If teams choose to double team Hill, Arizona’s post players should see many easy scoring opportunities.
Thanks to the new post depth, Hill will primarily play the small forward position. This move should showcase Hill’s strengths as a passer and creator. Hill was forced to develop a post game over the past few seasons, often playing out of position. If Hill can add a long range shot, he will be a threat to score from anywhere on the floor, which will pressure opposing defenses. It seems likely that Hill will touch the ball on almost every possession to make use of his decision making and understanding of the system.
Hill is the most experienced player on the team by far, having played a lot of minutes during his first three seasons. That experience will be crucial to Arizona’s success, as the team has a number of newcomers. Hill will be the face of this team, and his play and demeanor will dictate how Arizona does. We expect Hill to have the ball in his hands during clutch situations. Arizona struggled with those possessions last year, and the hope is that Hill has developed a killer instinct to go along with his all around skill set.
Kevin Parrom can be a game changer. After everything that Parrom endured last season, just seeing him on the court was reason enough to be happy. But Parrom had two great showings, reminding fans just how much his game was missed last season. Although not as experienced in terms of games played, Parrom has been in the system for four years and will be one of the senior leaders of this team.
In the first game, Parrom scored at will, shooting 7-10 from the field (4-7 from deep) and 3-3 from the free throw line. In just 18 minutes, Parrom recorded 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Parrom shot with confidence from behind the arc and seemed to catch fire during certain stretches. If Parrom’s three point shot is consistent, he will stretch defenses to a breaking point, as he appears to have range out to a few feet behind the three point line.
In the second game, Parrom continued to score but contributed in a number of other ways. Parrom shot 6-10 from the field (2-3 from deep) for 16 points. But Parrom also added 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal, with only 2 turnovers. Parrom showed that he can be effective in each phase of the game: shooting, rebounding, passing, and defense. There’s no question that Parrom makes the game easier for everyone else on the floor.
Because of his versatility, Parrom is a player than can provide whatever is needed. Whether it is pulling down a rebound and leading the break, locking up the opponent’s best guard, or making key three pointers, Parrom can change the game from anywhere on the floor. Parrom’s toughness is contagious, and he can provide the energy Arizona will need to make it through rough stretches.
We know that if Parrom is open, he will shoot it. But when Parrom is in the game, it seems to change the whole lineup. Along with Lyons and Hill, Parrom will be counted on as a leader of this team. The freshmen will inevitably face adversity, and the team will rely on its seniors to gut out some victories. A healthy Parrom provides just as much, if not more, than any of the new faces on this year’s roster.