After making NBA rounds, Hill can only wait and hope
Former Arizona standout Solomon Hill knows the drill. He knows the odds are stacked against him.
How stacked will be determined Thursday night when there will be 30 new NBA players ready to get to work with guaranteed contracts after becoming first-round draft choices. For the rest of the NBA hopefuls slipping into the second round — or free agency — there will be no guarantees other than a mad scramble for roster spots.
Welcome to the 2013 NBA Draft. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen, although it’s more than likely that no Arizona player will go in the first round.
Hill, a 6-foot-7 small forward, is not projected as one of the top 30 by most prognosticators but is considered a likely second-round talent. Grant Jerrett, a 6-10 forward who left Arizona after his freshman season, is also regarded as a second-round prospect.
Because of his tenuous status, Hill has criss-crossed the United States showing his talents to NBA teams the last couple of months. When he completed his workout with Indiana earlier this week, it was his 18th audition in all. Now all he can do is sit and “relax” at home in Los Angeles until Thursday night, hoping to hear his name called.
“The main thing for me is to show teams that I can play basketball, especially on the wing,” said Hill in a phone interview before working out for the Pacers and a day after working out for the Phoenix Suns. “And sometimes it’s not just for now. It could be (making an impression) a few years in the future. You never know.”
Hill is trying to cover all his bases. “It’s about putting a name to a face,’’ he said.
Hill’s basketball IQ has never been it doubt. But after spending much of his Arizona career as an undersized power forward, out of necessity, he thinks he surprised NBA scouts with his athleticism, ball handling and shooting.
His versatility is an asset, as is his work ethic, but he needed to show the pros he could contribute on the perimeter.
He showed new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough that he has NBA range and ability.
“He shot the ball well,” McDonough said. “I was impressed with his NBA 3-point shooting. He can defend his position and showed stuff of the dribble. He’s a good player.”
Jerrett, a so-called stretch forward because of his ability to step outside and shoot the 3-pointer, averaged just 17 minutes and 5.1 points a game in his only season at Arizona, but he offers some intriguing potential for a team that can afford to be patient while he gains strength and experience.
He’s said it’s been his dream to play in the NBA and now was the time to do it.
“I don’t regret it,” he told reporters after his workout in Phoenix earlier this month. “I’m glad I came out.”
NBAdraft.net has Jerrett projected as the 45th player selected, going to Portland. Draftexpress.com has Jerrett going 58th to the San Antonio Spurs.