Solomon Hill scores 19 in D-League debut
Pacers rookie forward Solomon Hill was up in Fort Wayne Monday night, as he suited up for the Mad Ants, the Pacers’ D-League affiliate. Hill, who wore No. 24, scored 19 points but his team — which trailed by as many as 22 points — came up just short and lost to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, 103-101.
With an excess of players at wing, the Pacers asked their first-round pick if getting time in the NBA’s Developmental League was something he’d be willing to do. Wanting some game action and to improve on his skill, Hill was a willing participant.
From the tip, Hill seemingly had his way. Nearly every time he drove into the lane, he finished or was fouled — and sometimes both. On the first possession of the game, Hill dribbled into the lane and hit an off-balanced jumper to put his team in front. The next time down the floor, he zipped a sweet pass to Tony Mitchell, who was assigned by the Detroit Pistons, for the flush. Less than two minutes in, Hill had a basket, assist and rebound.
On the night, Hill made 6-of-12 field goals and was 5-for-6 at the line. Though his six turnovers stand out above the rest, he also had five assists, three rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes. Ron Howard, who played on the Pacers’ Summer League team and then took part in training camp, led the Mad Ants with 23 points.
It was his first game action since Dec. 8. He hasn’t played in the Pacers’ last eight games and has been inactive in the four games since Danny Granger returned from injury.
“I was looking forward to just the conditioning aspect,” Hill told The Journal Gazette. “Making shots on a regulation court with referees, playing the game, it’s different than just practicing and going over drills over and over again. You’re actually putting it into a game. I wanted to be out here, running up and down the floor, showing that I can keep up with the pace.
“I can’t be too overly aggressive on defense. I got myself in foul trouble and took myself out of the game. And I’ve got to cut down on turnovers. All in all, other than that, I played a pretty decent game.”
Hill did have a trio of fans courtside for his debut. Teammates Orlando Johnson, who played four games last season for the Mad Ants, Chris Copeland, and Donald Sloan made the drive on their own to support their teammate. Those four typically spend a lot of time together before games, both on the court shooting and then in the locker room.
— Fort Wayne Mad Ants (@TheMadAnts) December 31, 2013
“Gotta have togetherness in everything we do” -frank Vogel
— Donald Sloan (@dsloan15) December 31, 2013
— Solomon Hill (@kingxsolo) December 31, 2013
Hill’s next game with the Mad Ants is on Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. against the Iowa Energy.