Citizen Staff Writer
University of Arizona basketball recruit Solomon Hill feels like he’s coming home again.
The 6-foot-6, 195-pound forward from Los Angeles Fairfax High School recommitted to UA on Tuesday after decommitting in October and pledging for USC.
“It really does feel like home,” Hill said. “It’s a lot like that.”
Could it be home for others?
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch is reporting coach Archie Miller will join his brother’s coaching staff at Arizona. Archie, 30, the younger brother of new UA head coach Sean Miller, spent the past season as Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s top assistant.
Sean Miller, 40, had been keeping a job open for his former top assistant at Xavier, Chris Mack, but Xavier confirmed Tuesday that Mack would be the Musketeers’ new head coach.
Sean Miller, who had been on the road, has returned to Tucson but did not return a message.
Rich Paige, the team’s media director, said, “Coach Miller is still working hard to complete his coaching staff.”
National letter of intent for the spring begins on Wednesday. Arizona could have as many as six scholarships to give, with the defections of juniors Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill.
UA is still awaiting official word from junior guard Nic Wise on whether he’ll make himself available for the NBA draft and hire an agent. Or Wise could “test the waters” to gauge NBA teams’ interest and not hire an agent, which is what he told the Citizen he would do after UA lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16.
In the meantime, Sean Miller has been busy in his first week on the job. He’s received commitments from two players and could be in line for more.
When Hill decommitted in the fall – after former UA coach Lute Olson retired – he said he was concerned about UA losing recruits and about its unclear future.
But that’s changed. Hill said he’s “real comfortable” with Miller, and that the new UA coach is doing a great job “in building” for the future.
“He’s been able to set his two feet down and has gotten at it,” Hill said. “I really like that.”
Hill is expected to join center Kyryl Natyazhko, who committed to the Wildcats on Saturday, choosing UA over Arizona State.
Natyazhko, a 6-10, 250-pound center, averaged 24 points and nine rebounds a game for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He was listed as the ninth best big man and the 75th best player overall by Rivals.com. He was listed at No. 68 by Scout.com.
It’s not clear where recruit Tremayne Johnson stands with the current UA coaches. Johnson, a 6-7, 200-pound forward from Los Angeles Southwest College, was offered and accepted a scholarship in the winter. He said he has yet to speak to Miller. He feels that he’s “committed to Arizona.” Johnson said he had planned on meeting with Miller soon, maybe within the week.
Hill said he’s excited to come to UA. He said that although he had yet to speak to USC coach Tim Floyd, that he had spoken to some assistant coaches and “they knew I was leaning to UA.”
“You want to do what’s best for you,” Hill said. “He went to talk to Arizona (about the recently vacant head coaching job). He wanted to see about Arizona. That’s what I did. Arizona is a great situation for me. (Now) I can go to a school and get immediate playing time and at good school.”
Archie Miller was an assistant to coach Herb Sendek at Arizona State in 2006-07 before going to Ohio State.
Archie Miller is a former North Carolina State standout, who ranks second in school history in career 3-pointers (218) and free-throw percentage (.846). He helped North Carolina State reach the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
His hiring at UA would leave the status of UA assistant Reggie Geary up in the air. Geary, who recruited Johnson, was hoping to stay on with Sean Miller’s staff.
Mack, a five-year Xavier assistant and a two-time captain as a Xavier player, will usher in a new era in Musketeers basketball as the program’s 17th head coach. Xavier players rallied around Mack, who was key in recruiting many of them.
His candidacy was supported by NBA player and former Musketeer David West, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. West wrote in a text message that “we should keep it in the house. The program is continuing to grow.”
2009-10 UA RECRUITS
Going into basketball signing day on Wednesday, Arizona had three commitments:
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
Solomon Hill F 6-6 195 Los Angeles Fairfax HS
Kyryl Natyazhko C 6-10 250 IMG Academy (Fla.)
Tremayne Johnson F 6-7 200 L.A. Southwest Col.