Pacers Introduce First-Round Pick Solomon Hill
Solomon Hill finally had his moment in the spotlight. After arriving at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Monday morning, Hill, wearing his draft day Pacers hat for the first time, stepped onto the risers in the media interview room and sat down on his chair for his introductory news conference. About 15 minutes later, he stood back up and held his No. 9 white Pacers jersey up for photos with NBA legend Larry Bird, who officially resumed his duties as team president the same day.
Not being one of the dozen players invited to the NBA Draft — during his pre-draft workouts, he wouldn’t speculate where he thought he’d be taken — Hill was at home in Los Angeles on Thursday for the draft. Well, sort of.
Hill, 22, had just picked up his mother, LaVerne Hill, from the airport when the Pacers’ 23rd pick was nearing. It was about 5:30 p.m. in L.A., so the two were slowly advancing towards home. On the ride home, Hill first received a call from Pacers coach Frank Vogel, informing him that Indiana was selecting him. He then pulled over and put the vehicle in park, which allowed the two to watch draft coverage on his truck’s satellite television. That’s where he watched NBA Commissioner David Stern read his name.
His time to face the media was scheduled for Friday, the day after the draft, but it was put off until Monday due to inconvenient flights, having to come all the way from the West Coast.
A humble Hill had his moment.
“Some people say ‘The NBA Draft can be about fit,’” he said in front of the gathered media. “I feel like this is a great fit. My family feels like this is a great fit for me and now it’s just trying to run with the opportunity.”
Bird concurred, and added more about the necessity of being taken by the right team.
“If you’re going to be a good player, it doesn’t really matter where you’re drafted,” he said. “It’s just if it’s a good fit. There’s going to be a lot of kids that were drafted this year (that) are good players, (but) the teams they go to are not the right fit. We feel he’s the right fit for our team.
“You see our M.O.” Bird continued, “We like to draft four-year guys. We like to draft kids that are tough, that are willing to sacrifice a lot of other things to stay in the gym, work on their games, develop their games, so it’s no secret that we went out and got a kid that was at Arizona for four years.”
Related: Pacers Eyed Hill, Like the Fit
Bird raved about Hill’s athleticism, his work ethic and ability to play all kinds of positions. And he noted that his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses, which he hopes will be improved upon by mid-season.
“He knows a lot of his weaknesses, but I’m sure the coaches will put him through some tests and find out what he needs to work on, and we’ll address them. We’ve done a pretty good job here of taking young guys and developing them. Our coaching staff does an excellent job with that so whatever his weaknesses are, hopefully by All-Star break (in mid-February) he’ll be a lot better player than he is today.”
Hill’s dad, Solomon Crawford, raised him since he was three. His father believes the environment of being on his own, like at the Boys and Girls Club, taught Hill to get tougher and stronger. When asked what it’s like to see his son achieve his dream, he smiled wide, then said:
“I just knew he could get to this level. It’s a blessing. All the games, all the efforts that we put in together — two tournaments in one day, leaving one city to another city — it all panned out. All that hard work and all that stuff that he didn’t want to do, and it was difficult because he was my first son and I didn’t have anyone to look up to, so it was hard to push him. Then, as his skills got better, it was easier.”
Hill, is among 19 players listed on the Pacers’ summer league roster. Camp opens on Wednesday and they’ll have four days of practice before heading down to Orlando for six days. Frank Vogel won’t coach the team but he’ll be observing his rookie closely.
“This young man is a winner,” Vogel said Monday. “…It’s hard not to glow about this young man and we’re really excited that he’s here.”
Hill will sign a four-year contract with two years guaranteed, worth about $2.124 million. The final two years are team-options.
- Hill will wear No. 9 because it is the sum of his home street address, 612, and he wants to always remember where he came from. 44, his high school and college number, held no significant meaning. It was given to him in high school and he stuck with it.
- He majored in General Studies at Arizona. He’s a reserved guy and prefers to stay home and watch movies rather than hit the town.
- He said the first thing he was going to buy after signing his rookie contract was a place in Indy.
- He’s most looking forward to playing against his former Arizona teammate, Derrick Williams, who plays for Minnesota.
- His mother, who lives in Iowa, declared: ”I will be at all the home games. I will make it my business to come to the games.”