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Solomon Hill On His First Month With the Pacers

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

July 24, 2013

“Pacers” has been placed beside Solomon Hill’s name for less than a month. He officially became a professional basketball player on June 27 when the Pacers selected him 23rd overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. Since, Hill’s been introduced to the city, signed his first NBA contract, gotten his first taste for coach Vogel’s system, played alongside a few teammates at Summer League, and been out in the community.

During Summer League ball in Orlando, Hill caught the eye of NBA evaluators. Starting all five games, Hill averaged 12 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He was also 10-for-18 from long range. Hill’s game was mature, mistakes were few and his maturity was obvious. After seeing him play a few games in Orlando, one NBA scout told Pacers.com that “Solomon’s going to get some minutes next year. Not two years down the road. Next year.”

Photo Gallery: Solomon Hill at Summer League »

Pacers president Larry Bird on Hill: “If you watch Solomon, he makes almost all the right plays. He makes the pass when he needs to, drives it, and he can hit the open shot. We wouldn’t be afraid to put him in there right now and give him some minutes because he’s a pretty good rookie and by the All-Star break he’ll be a lot better.”

Hill, a fellow California native like Paul George, is quickly getting acclimated to the Midwest, though he misses the weather out West. In just a few short weeks in Indy, Hill attended a Fever game, participated in their annual bowling tournament to raise money for the Pacers Foundation, and he assisted at a few camps on the organization’s Summer Hoops Tour.

Most recently, Pacers.com talked with Hill at the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center, where he had just spoken to about 100 campers (ages 6-15) and even broken a sweat with them on the court doing various drills. Read the full conversation below:

How did you feel about playing in Summer League and getting a feel for the NBA?

“I don’t think it’s the greatest showing of the NBA but it’s definitely good to get out there, have a Pacers uniform on, and play with some of the guys I’m going to play with – O.J. [Orlando Johnson], Miles [Plumlee], Donald [Sloan]. It was a great atmosphere. We went out there, competed hard and had the right agenda. We had a couple games that kind of slipped through our hands but all in all, I think we competed hard.”

Have you begun to get a routine with any of the coaches or with Shawn Windle in the weight room?

“I was lifting with Shawn [last] week. I got a feel for how he likes to do it, how he likes to lift. With Coach Burke … I definitely got a feel for how the coaches want to play defense. Coach Burke is more of a defensive coach, so when I had the training camp before Orlando, I was able to feel how he wants to play defense.”

How did it compare to college?

“It was a little bit similar to college. The one big thing is that you can’t sit in the key like you did in college. The positional stuff is almost the same from what (Arizona head coach) Sean Miller liked to do. You want to help the helper; you want to be able to play tough on the ball with someone else in position to help you. All in all, I think it was the same kind of concept but it’s different because you have better athletes being in the NBA.”

What does the rest of your summer schedule entail?

“I’m going back to L.A. and then I have some rookie transition things in New Jersey. So I’ll have to do that (in August) and then I’ll be back here. I’ll be home in L.A. for probably a week and a half, I have to knock out my rookie duties and then hopefully I’ll be back hopefully mid-August.”

Have you been able to settle in to an apartment yet?

“Yeah, I got a spot downtown that I’m going to move into. I wanted to be close to the gym. I want to make sure I’m there on time for things because once the regular season starts, that’s when you start getting fined for everything. I definitely wanted to be close.”

Has Roy or anyone else assigned you some rookie duties yet?

“No, not yet. I think when we get all those guys in one room, some things will pop up. It’s all in fun.”

Do you have any endorsements at this point?

“I’m shopping deals right now. I definitely just picked these (he points towards white, blue and gold Nike shoes) up because they matched the color scheme like they do. Right now, it’s just shopping [for deals]. I’ll probably do a couple meet and greets downtown, probably later when my jersey hits stores and fans can get signed jerseys. Other than that, I’m just trying to enjoy the city.”

Have you always been a Nike guy?

“Arizona was a Nike school, my travel team was a Nike (team). But when you get older, it’s all business. Even though you like Nike, some people may come at you with a better position for yourself, a better brand for yourself so you have to listen to everybody.”

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