Indianapolis, IN (AP) - Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel couldn't help but refer back to the player the Pacers are trying hard to keep when talking about one of its newest additions, first-round draft choice Solomon Hill.
"Everything we say about David West being the heart and soul of our team, having a professionalism to him, the work ethic, the seriousness, a caring about the game and about his teammates, you see in (Hill)," Vogel said Monday. "It's hard not to glow about this young man. We're real excited that he's here."
With his parents in attendance, Hill was introduced to the Indianapolis media today during a news conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He posed for pictures with team president Larry Bird, along with a No. 9 Pacers jersey. The team made the former Arizona standout the 23rd pick of the first round last Thursday.
Some players drafted that low might be cast as developmental players. Not Hill, who played all four seasons at Arizona and will get a chance to provide some depth on the wings immediately.
"This young man is a winner," Vogel said. "He fits the things you have to do to play winning basketball. I definitely think he has a real opportunity to come in and play right away."
Added Bird: "We've done a pretty good job of taking young guys and developing them. Our coaching staff has done an excellent job of that. Hopefully, by the All-Star break, he'll be a lot better player than he is today."
The 6-7 Hill averaged 13.4 points and 5.3 rebounds last season for Arizona. He is originally from Chicago, but grew up with his father in Los Angeles.
"Some people say the NBA Draft is about fit," Hill said. "I feel like this is a great fit for me. My family feels like it's a great fit for me. Now, I have to take it and run with the opportunity."
Bird declined to comment on the NBA free-agency period that started at 12:01 a.m. today other than to reiterate that resigning West remains the team's priority. The Pacers also are in the market for a backup point guard.
"We have a budget," Bird said. "We will not go into the (luxury) tax for any reason. Whatever fits in there is what we're going to do. Obviously, David is our No. 1 guy and we're going to try to get him done. Hopefully, everything else will fall into place."
7831 N. Business Park Drive