Hill Transitioning Between Sports

North Little Rock wide receiver and Arkansas football commit K.J. Hill, fresh off a second straight 1,000-yard season on the gridiron, has made a seamless transition to the basketball court and has led the Charging Wildcats to a pair of wins with very little practice time.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK - A young man that many Arkansas football fans hope will help stretch the field next season for the Razorbacks showed off his basketball talent once again on Saturday night.

North Little Rock’s K.J. Hill poured in a team-high 15 points as the Charging Wildcats ripped off a 19-1 run to rally to a 62-51 win over Memphis Mitchell in the final contest and give Arkansas the clinching victory in the seven-game, two-day Battle Of The Border.

The Arkansas pledge did so just a little over a week after the talented wide receiver’s football season ended with a loss to eventual Class 7A state cahmpion Bentonville.

“We had a great football season, but it is time for the transition,” Hill said. “It’s a tough one. I played Friday against Bentonville and then rested Saturday and Sunday and practice Monday and then just went out and tried my best.

“Thats what I tried to do tonight as well,” Hill added. “I am still getting the feel for it (basketball), but I am used to it and it will be okay.”

Hill (6-1, 190), who will play in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio, committed to Arkansas back in August.

He has remained pledged to the Razorbacks, but did take an official trip to Florida during the season.

Hill, who caught 66 passes for 1,096 yards with 13 touchdowns this season, has plans to take official visits to Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Ohio State in January.

“I love how Arkansas played great toward the end of the season,” Hill said. “They finally found out how to win. They just needed to start playing four quarters. I’m looking forward to being part of that.”

So why the other visits?

“It’s just about seeing the other colleges and just seeing what is out there,” Hill said. “But I’m committed to Arkansas.”

North Little Rock head coach Johnny Rice saw his team fall down 35-26 midway before finally kicking into into gear.

It was the same thing that happened Tuesday night in a 64-56 win over Fort Smith Northside.

“We were down like eight points with seven minutes left to go, but I called time out and jumped them and they put it in another gear,” Rice said. “They kind of did the same thing here tonight.

“I told them after the game, I can’t do that every game,” Rice added. “We are going to have to do things differently in practice to get to where we can’t just turn it on or off. We are not the same team we have been that has won the last couple of years.

“We are going to be pretty good, but we don’t have the firepower we have had the last couple of years,” Rice continued.

Florida commit KeVaughn Allen had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win on Saturday night while junior Adrian Moore had 12 points.

An intention foul on Allen in the third quarter sparked the Charging Wildcats (4-1).

“We have got to start of the game with the same intensity that we are finishing it with,” Hill said. “I think what got us up and going tonight was when they had that intentional foul on KeVaughn.

“It was like Coach said ‘it’s time to get tough,’” added Hill, who is considering playing both sports at Arkansas.

Rice is glad to have Hill back with those two after a 2-1 mark without him in the Rumble on the Ridge in Forrest City.

“He practiced 35 to 40 minutes on Monday and then played on Tuesday and we wouldn’t have won without him,” Rice said. “He got three days of practice in after that and came out and got it done tonight.

“I called (North Little Rock head football) Coach Brad Bolding and told him whatever he was doing was great because there is usually a difference in football condition and basketball condition, but he has come out and doesn’t see to get tired,” Rice added.





K.J. Hill


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