Watching Ahmed Hill during the summer frequently proved to be a disappointing experience. Despite obviously possessing skill and athleticism, his production simply didn't match expectation.
But he appeared to be a new man at the CFA Classic. Hill didn't merely perform far better in Columbia, he competed so much more assertively for Aquinas than he had on the travel circuit. Playing point guard for his squad, he erupted for 36 points, eight rebounds and five assists on a very efficient 14-20 shooting in a narrow defeat to South Pointe.
From a physical standpoint, Hill looked much faster this past weekend than he did during the summer. Handling versus a press, he received the inbounds pass and raced the other way at an impressive clip. When he's able time to time his steps, he's a fairly good one-footed leaper capable of traffic slams.
I still view him as a shooting guard for defensive purposes — he'd struggle to defend floor generals at the next level — and due to some turnover binges, but at the minimum he deserves praise for seeing the floor and his willingness to pass despite being so hot from the field.
He also looks a touch stronger now than he did six months ago, and he earned nine shots at the foul stripe and applied a great deal of pressure off the dribble. Hill never will boast the quickest first step in the Big East, but his strength enables him to slash occasionally even when matched against superior athletes.
He's an above-average shooter but needs some time to release his shot cleanly, and that factor contributed heavily to his lackluster summer. When he balances his attack between shooting (2-5 on threes versus South Pointe), slashing and transition scoring, he becomes far more effective than when he confines himself to the perimeter.
Depending upon how Buzz Williams chooses to utilize him, he also could slide down to wing forward, at least for stretches. On the whole, it was nice to see him shake off a difficult travel season and remind us why he entered the spring so touted in the first place.