FORT SMITH - In this day and age of high school specialization, Bryant sophomore KJ Hill is an anomaly.
Is he a great football player who also plays basketball or a great basketball player who also plays football?
"He is simply a player," Bryant basketball coach Michael Abrahamson said. "Actually a great player no matter the sport and a great young man. Beyond athletics, he has just been raised right to go with all that ability. It is a pleasure to coach him."
Regarded as a top 50 player nationally in basketball and certainly one of the state's best 2015 football prospects, Hill – who makes no secret of his desire to be a Razorback - is in no hurry to make a decision on which sport to play in college.
"I love both of them," said Hill, who is just 14 and notes that he is supposed to be in the ninth grade. "God gave me the ability to play both of them so it is just going to end being a decision I make down the line."
The 6-0, 175-pound Hill had a game-high 23 points in his team's 81-60 loss to North Little Rock Thursday in the opening round of the Coca Cola Classic at UAFS's Stubblefield Center.
The point guard was matched up a lot against Charging Wildcat sophomore shooting guard KeVaughn Allen (6-3, 180), who had 21 points – including 13 in the opening quarter.
Allen is tabbed 25th nationally and Hill 48th by Future150.com basketball rankings for the 2015 class.
"We have played against each other a lot," said Hill, who does not hide his desire to be a Razorback one day. "We always bring out the best in each other."
Allen already has offers from Arkansas, Florida, Baylor, Memphis, Louisville, Arizona and Nebraska while Hill – who has over a 3.0 grade point average - is receiving football interest from Arkansas, Duke and Arizona.
Hill is coming off a football season in which he was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's sophomore Co-Player of the Year on offense along with Charleston's Ty Storey.
He had 48 catches for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed 27 times for 233 yards and three more scores.
"Throw it to him and he will catch it – I know that," Abrahamson said. "I don't coach football and I don't claim to know a lot about it, but he seems to be a really good route runner and is just very precise in what he is doing. He just has all the intangibles – he is a competitor, he is a worker and anything you asked him to do, he is going to do it and you only have to tell him once."
Hill also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass and had 18 kickoff returns for 332 yards.
"I've seen (former Razorbacks) Joe Adams and Cobi Hamilton and I think the way we play is similar," Hill said. "I can just picture myself at Arkansas just like them."
Hill had a chance to see new Razorback head football coach Bret Bielema on television during the new coach's introductory press conference.
"I saw his press conference and I like his demeanor, how his heart goes to football and how he handles himself," Hill said.
He's also a fan of Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson.
"I like how he runs and presses and I like their tempo and the speed they play with," Hill said.
Hill splits his AAU basketball time with Dunk Dog Elite – a squad that also includes Conway freshman Adrian Moore and who won the 14-and-under national title last season – and also Tha View.
He has helped lead Bryant to a 9-2 start this season with the only losses to Jacksonville – a game in which he had 26 points - and North Little Rock.
"We have been playing good, but when we play elite teams, a lot of people get shocked and are not use to the tempo and the talent of the players," Hill said. "I am use to it from AAU and playing the best in the nation. We'll come along."
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