In-state forward starts to turn heads

Arizona doesn't usually recruit in state, but as of late the quality of player has been getting better and better. It used to be that a special player came around the state every three or four years. In the last three years the Wildcats have given a number of in-state players a serious look. A combo-forward from the Valley of the Sun is getting looks and only time will tell if he has the stuff the Cats are looking for.

In the past few years the Cats have looked at Bryson Krueger, Devon Evertson, Matt Haryaz and Ty Morrison. Many times either a player was not needed that particular position or the player was not quite good enough to wear the Wildcat uniform. Regardless, the players mentioned have proven that the quality of basketball is improving in the Grand Canyon State. Now Lawrence Hill is on the Wildcats' radar screen and continuing that tradition.

Hill has a lot of talent and the intangibles to play high division one basketball, but time will tell if he fits the mold of an Arizona player. Hill, who is completing his sophomore season, is an impressive player. However, to be "Arizona good" Hill needs to prove himself over the summer and during his junior season. Although he has taken an unofficial visit to Arizona, a scholarship offer is not on the table yet.

"They've seen me play since I was little," Hill said. "I've played against their old assistant coach, Jay John's son for awhile."

Although the scholarship offer is not there yet, the coaches have told him that they are interested.

"They are going to look, they are going to watch my team," Hill said. "I need to win games. If we keep winning then something is right."

Hill is a 6-7 forward from Deer Valley High School who looks like he will be a combo-forward in college. He looks more like a wing at this time, but could grow into a player who can play either forward spot.

"If he gets to 6-9 or 6-10 he'll be a Tommy Smith type player," said his AAU coach David Grace. "He's a Luke Walton type, 6-9 with those type of abilities. I'm not saying he's another Luke Walton, but who is."

Although he can certainly play on the wing, Hill has spent time in the post by necessity. It's hard to come by a long, 6-7 player who can rebound and block shots.

"I like to try everything," Hill said of playing the post or wing. "I'm not restricted. I want to do whatever I can to earn a spot. I've just got to work on both. When I get outside and someone small is on me I'll post up, but if he's big I'll take him outside."

Hill is long and lean and could use a little more bulk, but has shown great athletic ability and has a nice build. He's a decent shot blocker and a very good passer. He has a good handle and, although we didn't see him shoot much, by all accounts he can knock it down.

"He can shoot," Grace said. "He can put it on the floor and play on the wing." Hill works hard but is not quite as aggressive as his Arizona Magic teammate Ty Morrison. The junior wing is the go-to guy on the team and often times he or point guard Darren Jordan take over the games. Hill rarely has plays drawn up for him and most of his shots come off of offensive rebounds. Despite getting a lack of touches, he does not complain and instead feels as if playing alongside Morrison will help his game.

"I'm working behind Ty (Morrison)," said Hill. "I get to learn how to go to the basket hard. With him and Darren going to the hole I either get the board or get to shoot over people."

Hill will most certainly be a D-1 recruit, the big question is how high his stock will rise. If Hill can add a few inches and a few pounds he could develop into a nice combo-forward recruit. Whether or not the Wildcats get more involved remains to be seen, but Hill will certainly work hard this summer to make his stock rise.

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