UA PLAYERS WHO RANK IN TOP 20 CAREER SCORING AND TOP 10 CAREER REBOUNDING
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Hill is 52 points from No. 20 career scoring leader Joe Noels, who had 1,409 points from 1976-80. He is 24 rebounds shy of No. 10 career rebounding leader Jordan Hill (no relation), who produced 763 from 2006-09.
Solomon Hill battled weight issues at the start of his career. Hill and teammate Kevin Parrom have missed March Madness twice in their careers, which is uncommon at Arizona in the last 30 years. Hill was a preseason Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate, but that honor looks like it will go to Cal’s Allen Crabbe instead.
Hill has battled through adversity at Arizona, but the Wildcats and Sean Miller are much better off with him on the roster. Any player who sticks it out for four years — a dying breed in college basketball — and overcomes difficulties like Hill and Parrom should have their name on a plaque at McKale Center.
Hill and Parrom join an impressive list of seniors who did not emerge as All-Americans but left their mark on the program. Among them: Ray Owes (career scoring average of only 9.8 points), Juwann McClellan (persevered through injuries and the passing of his father), Nic Wise (four head coaches in four years and a knee injury), and Kyle Fogg (a quiet leader who was not spectacular but was efficient).
Hill can potentially add his name to an elite group of Arizona players who rank among the top 20 scorers and top 10 rebounders in the program’s history. Only six have that honor: Al Fleming (1972-76), Bob Elliott (1973-77), Sean Elliott (1985-89), Anthony Cook (1985-89), Channing Frye (2001-05) and Michael Wright (1998-01).
Hill needs 52 points to catch Joe Nehls for the No. 20 spot on the career scoring list. Nehls had 1,409 points in his career. He needs only 24 rebounds to catch No. 10 rebounder Jordan Hill (no relation), who had 763 rebounds in his three-year career.
Hill will likely not achieve these marks tomorrow against ASU at McKale Center on Senior Day, but he can potentially reach these marks by the first or second game in the Pac-12 Tournament next week in Las Vegas.
Hill was Miller’s first recruit, bridging the transformation of the program from Lute Olson to the current regime. Hill committed to Olson out of Los Angeles Fairfax High School in 2008. When Olson announced his retirement, Hill changed his commitment to USC. Shortly after Miller’s hire in 2009, Hill switched his allegiance back to Arizona.
“I think he thought he was going to be here about six months,” Miller said in the accompanying CBS video about Hill’s NBA aspirations upon arriving at Arizona. “He (thought he) was going to be a lottery pick, hands down and probably a Pac-10 Player of the Year at that time.
“I don’t see that as a knock on Solomon. It’s just the way of the world.”
Parrom’s world has also been turbulent during his four years at Arizona. Aside from his foot injuries, being shot in the leg last school year and the deaths of his mother, grandfather and grandmother, Parrom has mostly played off the bench during his Wildcat career.
It was not until the second half of this season that Parrom became a regular starter.
That’s not easy to take for a guy from the Bronx, who has shown flashes of his intense mannerisms in brushes with former ASU players Ty Abbott and Derek Glasser and a flagrant foul this year against Washington State guard DeVonte Lacy. Instead of sulking and showing anger for having to be the sixth man for most of his career, Parrom has been a consummate team player and leader figure for Miller and the Wildcats.
Parrom told Bruce Pascoe of The Arizona Daily Star he plans to petition the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility because of the games missed while nursing his foot injuries and the gunshot wound to his right leg during a home invasion in the Bronx in September 2011.
He gets his character from his late mother Lisa Williams, who died of cancer a month after he was shot. Parrom has stated that his mother had the will to win despite the adversity.
“She didn’t like us losing. When she was alive it was, ‘You know, Kev, what you guys doing losing all these games?’ … ” Parrom told Pascoe.
“I always remember that. She got on me for that especially when I was younger. I think that’s why I play so hard now.”
Hill, Parrom and fellow senior Mark Lyons have had their share of difficulties this season. Many fans have been critical of Arizona overall after the Wildcats have lost four of their last seven games.
Overriding all that noise is the fact that Hill, Parrom and Lyons joined the Wildcat program with the hopes of making it one of the elite again. Hill and Parrom especially have never shown a sense of entitlement during their four-year Arizona careers.
“The way it is today, if things don’t work out right away, it’s the coach’s fault,” Miller said in the CBS video. “It’s the staff’s fault. It’s the style of play. It’s the teammates … any excuse you can think of, and it’s time to run. It’s time to find another place.
“Solomon has stuck with it. And although I am sure there are times he wishes things were different and success would have come more often, success early was there. It just wasn’t the level that he is experiencing now.”
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner