Stamp of Approval
by Matt Stamp
The 2011-2012 Arizona Wildcats basketball season began with questions and doubts regarding leadership. The team lost their two court generals in Derrick Williams (NBA Draft) and MoMo Jones (Transfer to Iona). In the first month of the season, the lack of a true leader was a glaring issue and a big reason the Wildcats lost two regular season games and an exhibition match-up.
Last week, the Wildcats went 2-0, going on the road to beat New Mexico St. and then taking down NAU in front of a rowdy home crowd at McKale. The best part about these two wins was that we finally began to see a leader emerge from this talented young Wildcats team.
My Stamp of Approval goes to Solomon Hill for taking over these games and stepping into the leadership role. Sean Miller and Co. were desperately looking for someone to take this on and it looks like they found their guy.
The junior forward from Los Angeles averaged 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists last week. He connected on 57.9 percent of his field goals and was 3 of 7 from behind the arc. He is filling up all areas of the stat sheet and that is going to be critical as the Pac-12 season nears.
During the two-game win streak, Hill extended his double-figure scoring streak to a career-long six games and had a career high of seven assists in the team’s impressive victory at New Mexico St.
Looks like I wasn’t the only one to notice Hill’s performance…The Pac-12 just gave him their “Stamp of Approval” and awarded him the Pac-12 Player of the Week. Hill is certainly moving in the right direction and has the experience and all-around skill set to lead this team back to the NCAA tournament.
Next up: The Wildcats will truly be tested on Wednesday night as they travel to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators. This will be a very tough situation for the freshman. I expect Nick Johnson to be a factor and contribute at a high level but in the end I predict that it will be Hill again who steps up and earns back-to-back Stamp of Approvals. This is his team now and a game like this is when a leader needs to shine!
Thanks for Reading!