By Joe Henricksen

Emerging Johnny Hill picks ISU

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By Joe Henricksen

Johnny Hill, Glenbard East's up-and-coming senior star who showed promise and potential as a sophomore and blossomed this past season as a junior, ended his recruitment by committing to Illinois State and head coach Tim Jankovich.

Illinois State and assistant coach Paris Parham, who was the lead recruiter, was in on the fast-rising Hill early as the Redbirds were the first of several schools to offer the up-and-coming 6-3 guard this past winter. Hill's recruitment, which included early interest from DePaul under the previous coaching staff, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Loyola, Murray State, Bradley, Tennessee State and Wisconsin-Green Bay, was beginning to pick up steam as the July evaluation period approached.

The success Illinois State has had in recent years with three NIT appearances and an average of nearly 24 wins a year in those three seasons was attractive to Hill, along with the style of play Jankovich's Redbirds play and the relationship he built with the coaching staff.

"The coaching staff was so genuine and I just appreciated how they were during the recruiting process," says Hill, who averaged 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3.5 steals a game as a junior. "They were very supportive in showing me the basketball side and academic side of things. And I liked how they told me how I could get better, pointed out what I needed to do as a player to improve. I like the style of play, the distance from home and the success they've had as a program."

The long and active Hill had a terrific junior year in helping lead Glenbard East to a 27-2 record and a trip to the sectional championship game, where it fell to Benet Academy. Hill has that glide up and down the floor in transition, finishing on the break or spotting up on the three-point line as a much-improved catch-and-shoot perimeter shooter. He's at his best just making plays, spotting up from three but also with a pull-up mid-range game and using his length and athleticism to get to the basket and create havoc on the defensive end. Physically, Hill needs to progress as he remains thin and undeveloped, which a college strength and conditioning program should take care of.

Although it's a cliché, Hill's best basketball is clearly ahead of him. What makes Hill so intriguing is the upside he possesses as a prospect as he's just beginning to come into his own as a basketball player. Due to his experience level as a player and physical make-up, Hill was a late-developing prospect who continues to open eyes the more he plays. He has been solid this spring playing with the Rising Stars on the AAU circuit and in leading his high school team to titles at both the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout, where he was named the event's MVP, and the Loyola Rambler Shootout.

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I am not going to pretend to be an expert as I am just a basketball junkie who follows high school sports and recruiting. I live in the western suburbs and always wondered why Hill was not talked about more. I think it is a good level for Hill but I also think he could end up being a real find for Illinois State as this kid seems just about ready to take off.

Having had the pleasure to work with Johnny over the past few years; I cannot agree more that his best basketball is in front of him. His greatest asset is his mindset. Johhny will work in the gym, watch tapes, take criticism constructively, and then work more to improve. Illinois State will be very happy they were able to sign this young man. He will be a valuable team leader on and off the floor. I am excited to watch him continue to develop as a player as well as a man.


I think people -- mostly college coaches -- fell asleep on this one. Hill has work to do, no question. But he is just a flat out player. His shot has gotten better and looks good off his hands. And that part of his game I think is final piece. And adding to that thin frame. Love watching him play and as a Bradley alum and having watched this kid play several times I'm sad to see him heading to Redbird Arena.

Congratulations to Johnny Hill and his teammate Zack Miller on their selection of colleges to continue their playing careers. I have had the pleasure of watching them play over the past few years and both are outstanding young men and terrific basketball talents. Johnny has continued to raise his level of play in every game I have seen him play. Zach will make a great addition to the NIU team. The term "coach of the floor" is a perfect definition of how he guides his team. I wish them both great success in their college careers!

Congrat's also to Glenbard East Coach Scott Miller who will have another terrific year with Johnny and Zach on the floor. I am already looking forward to their games!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on June 24, 2010 11:27 PM.

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