Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the 2012-13 Arizona Wildcats. Picked to win the Pac-12 by the media, ranked 12th in the AP preseason Top 25 poll, stocked with a talented freshman class that features Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Gabe York.
And then there’s Solomon Hill, who has done nothing but be a rock for the Wildcats program. A guy who has started the last 78 games in which he has played, Hill has been there through thick and thin, good times and bad. Over the last three years, you could always count on No. 44, who was rewarded with a first team all-Pac-12 selection last year.
“College basketball sometimes is misrepresented, where it’s always about who wasn’t here a year ago, the new players. And certainly that’s important and on this year’s team at Arizona that’s important,” head coach Sean Miller said at Thursday’s men’s media day at Pac-12 Networks HQ in San Francisco. “But the players that have gone through hundreds of practices, that have been in big games, that have played in championship type of atmospheres, they’re the ones that are the most meaningful because they can show the new guys the way, that they lead by example, whether they want to or not.”
This is the kind of guy Hill is, as he looks to lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA tournament after just missing out on the Pac-12 tournament championship a year ago. Part of his job as leader this year will be keeping the younger players focused on the task at hand.
“I would say teaching the young guys about sacrifice has been the biggest part of my leadership,” Hill said. “The guys are changing from high school to college, and the social life is there, the partying is there, the after-hour spots are there. And I just tell the guys about putting your talents to hard work, being in the gym a little bit longer, trying to get there early. Those parties will always be there, your friends will always be there for you to go out with, but it’s about where you are at two o’clock in the morning… You represent your family, you represent the college and you represent the team.”
Arizona’s full podium session from media day is here: