Rivals Solomon Hill, Carrick Felix work out for Suns


PHOENIX — Arizona swingman Solomon Hill and ASU forward Carrick Felix aren’t supposed to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, but they’re arguably doing more than anyone else to change that. The rivals might be the most prolific workout machines in this year’s draft class.

They attended a Saturday workout with the Phoenix Suns in a group of wings that also included North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock, Gonzaga’s Elias Harris and Syracuse’s James Southerland and Brandon Triche. For Hill and Felix, the Suns were visit number 17 and each expected to have one more go before Thursday’s draft.

Considering the Chicago Draft Combine went through May 19, that’s 17 workouts across the country in 34 days.

“It’s been a long road, just on the planes, in and out of seats, in and out of hotel beds,” Felix said. “Honestly everything’s a big mush, a mess. It’s all a scramble, you talk to so many new people, you met so many new people. Again though, it’s fun.”

Felix and Hill didn’t have a choice to be tagged as rivals once they chose a college, but even after they played their last Duel in the Desert battle their paths have crossed a number of times while working out for NBA teams.

“I’ve seen him a lot,” Felix said of Hill. “We’ve got to know each other at another level. Everybody always sees us as ASU versus UofA. A lot of people don’t think we like each other but we’ve grown a mutual respect at the time of the workouts. We share the same interests, the same passion, the same drive.”

On Saturday, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, a North Carolina graduate himself, liked Bullock’s ability to shoot and defend. That was the theme of the workout, which in general was the maybe the deepest and most mature group Phoenix has seen over the last few weeks — no weak links, McDonough said.

Bullock could be a pick at 30 for the Suns, but Felix and Hill showed that they might be possibilities at 57.

McDonough said Felix set a record in the conditioning portion of the workout or what McDonough called the “Suns Run.” Again, it’s impressive since he’s been working out every other day.

Meanwhile Hill, who played more power forward than small forward in college, showed that he could hit NBA threes consistently and handle the ball.

“You hear some guys saying, ‘Your first step is quicker than I thought – or your ballhandling skills,’” Hill said. “That’s something I’ve always had. I think my agent showed me a stat, as far as isolation plays in wings, I create my own shots the most.”

Felix and Hill are both fighting to break into the first round, and it’s hard to say any other players in the 2013 have worked harder. Hill is trying to shed his combo forward label for a shooting guard or small forward one, and Felix is attempting to prove he’s the grittiest guy out there.

After four years of college, the goal is simple for each. If there’s any glass ceiling above them, break it.

“People say, four years of college, you don’t have too much potential,” Hill said. “You look at a guy like Brandon Roy, coming out of college, nobody thought he’d be the player he was, he matured to be. I’m only 22. LeBron’s like 29, 28, he’s just hitting his peak years.

“You hear these people, they slate you off … other guys (have) potential, or a guy who can contribute right now. I can contribute right now and I can get better. I’m not an old man.”

Added Felix: “This is who I am. After this past year, I think that’s when I kind of came on. I definitely showed people who Carrick Felix is … just the fact that I’m going to go out there and compete, play hard, play defense and just do the small things.”

What about that rivalry, though?

The former Wildcat wasn’t as close to calling the Sun Devil his friend.

“I think there’s still that rivalry, it’s still there,” Hill said. “You don’t want to get too comfortable because at the end of the day me and him are both competing for the same spot. Both wing guys, both guys that want to defend and open the floor for the team. You can get close but pretty sure on draft day, if I go first or he goes first, the other will be mad about it.”

  • bill.thomas

    @Scott: What do you propose we do about Brown?? He hasn’t shown any baking expertise a la Gobert.

    Shouldn’t we trade Brown right now for any draft choice in the top half of this year’s second round ???

  • bill.thomas

    Robinson is expensive. However, if he could dunk Beasley deep into an earthquake fault, things might net out.

  • bill.thomas

    I would even settle for Barney Miller and a 2nd round 2016 choice for Brown.

  • bill.thomas

    How about a straight-up Brown for a sign-and-trade of Beaubois. After all, Beaubois stripped lil’ Stevie of the ball last year first time he saw him and we want that all next year.

  • bill.thomas

    Markieff has a high IQ. He will always take delivery over DiGiorno.

  • bill.thomas

    At this point I think Barkley would give Beasley trouble on the block.

  • Scott

    @bill. -

    If you want to steal from Cuban, offer him Tucker for the #13 pick plus J Crowder and J Cunningham. He might actually take that offer, as he’s reportedly trying to dump all non-essential contracts to make room for Howard and reload for another championship.

    Tucker costs less than $1m and has a useful veteran skill: defense. So Cuban could actually use him. Whereas Crowder, Cunningham, and the #13 pick are likely just going to take up roster space and salary cap over the next 2 years.

  • bill.thomas

    @Scott: That is an excellent trade. If he doesn’t take it, throw in the 57th. Or better yet, embellish it first by throwing in Dallas’ 2nd round pick to come to us.

    I believe if Mark had to fill a roster out he would just go to his best local strip club to cover over any holes.

  • Scott

    @bill. -

    I don’t think the Suns can get anything at all for Brown, except T-Rob. No other team wanted to sign Brown last summer, and this summer the Suns surely would pay him the $1.5m to walk, rather than keep him.

    T-Rob is not that expensive. He costs about the same as Brown’s normal salary (which is why the trade works), and if he doesn’t pan out, his contract will expire around the time the rebuild is complete.

    If T-Rob’s contract is like that of the Morri, then he’s got two more seasons guaranteed and the following one is team option. So if he’s horrible, and untradable too, then he would play in 2013-14, 2014-15, and be leaving before the Suns pick 2 first rounders for the 3rd year in a row (2015 draft).

    As for Beaubois, evidently something happened to him. He’s not the same player he was in his first year.

  • bill.thomas

    @Scott: As regards Brown/Robinson, I think it is fair and productive and we can handle it.

    As regards Beaubois, I hear he cooks a mean souffle !!!!!!

  • bill.thomas

    “Brown’s normal salary” ??? What is normal about Brown having any salary at all ??????????

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Withey has been in college 5 years
    Started at UofA, then transferred to Kansas when they put Loot Olsen out to pasture.

    sat out a year at Kansas before playing his final 3 years there.
    Not a bad player, decent shot-blocker but am hoping the Suns can do better than that at 30.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Beasley is actually an undercover CIA agent

    He is secretly communicating with the NSA leak-guy Snowden over in Hong Kong.

  • bill.thomas

    Brown for a 2nd round draft choice in the bottom 10 of the round, any year from here to eternity. What does it take to just get him to RESIGN !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • foreveris2long

    What better way to secure a top 3 pick next summer than by trading Gortat and Dragic this summer for 1st round draft picks in the upcoming draft?

  • Scott

    I think Dragic could get traded, though I have really appreciated his loyalty and effort.

    I’m not sure he’d get traded this summer, though. It could happen during the season, or possibly next summer.

  • Scott

    Okay, the Celtics are clearly rebuilding, and I believe this is the first trade of a head coach I’ve ever seen.

    Will this open the gates to more coach trades in the future? Hard to say. I would think it would be fairly rare.

    Anyway, the Clippers have traded a 2015 first round pick for Doc Rivers.

    There is currently no deal involving Garnett, because Stern didn’t want it to look like Rivers and Garnett were being traded together. However, it is expected that a Garnett trade to the Clippers will soon follow, so it’s the reality regardless of how Stern wants it to appear.

  • bill.thomas

    Since the Celts are rebuilding, they need to get someone who cooks a mean souffle. I would nominate Parker, Beaubois, Gobert and Livia Charles, in that order. And if they could bring their GF’s with them, that would be a plus.

  • bill.thomas

    Brown does not cook a mean souffle, but he is great at barbe-quing. Therefore he is an odds-on choice to make it with the Montana Wildcats of the F-League.

  • bill.thomas

    @Hawki: I heard Beasley had a harem of Gypsy women. And that he was teaching them a few new tricks, no less !!!!!

  • bill.thomas

    @foreveris2long: Who are we trading them to and does it necessarily lead to top 4 draft picks? B/c outside the top 4, I’m not sure it is that important.

  • bill.thomas

    I heard Brown is great at BB-Quing Costcos size packages of 80% fat hotdogs.

    Sounds like a great skill to have in the NBA.

  • bill.thomas

    I’m sure we can suck enough next year to get in the top 3. I’m just afraid we may have to keep Brown and have him play serious minutes at the point in order to achieve that.

  • foreveris2long

    Bill, It is addition by subtraction. Conceivably Gortat could get us Portland’s #10 pick. Dragic could net us a 1st round pick but I am not 100% sure of that with the plethora of point guards in this year’s draft. I guess my point is no matter what we get in return, we will be bad enough to be one of the 3 teams with worst record by next summer which could net us a potential superstar in the 2014 draft.