On the Rise: Jalen Hill

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- 2017 prospect Jalen Hill has a motor that just won't quit, and Cal is one of the first schools on the talented Corona (Calif.) Centennial athlete.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- 2017 prospect Jalen Hill has a motor that just won’t quit. During the second open viewing period this July, the Corona (Calif.) Centennial prospect played in three games for two AAU teams on a single day at the Battle at the Beach.

“The other team needed a big man, they needed somebody to rebound, and I did that for them,” Hill said of his game for Team Bayless 16U, for whom he played two games on July 17, sandwiched around one game for the Compton Magic 15U team. “I had a pretty nice game that game. I really, any game that I can play with any of the Magic teams, I’m going to do it, so I can get better every game.”

By the time the day was over, Hill had played three games, back-to-back-to-back.

“I’m going to eat first, and then I’m going to sleep,” he laughed after his third contest of the day.

The 6-foot-8, 175 pounder has the body and game of a wing, but is developing the physicality to play on the inside, which is likely where he’s headed, with his size 15 shoes and doctors predicting that he’ll hit 6-foot-10 or 6-foot-11 by the time he’s a senior.

“I want to be up there,” said Hill, who was carefully watched by California assistant Yanni Hufnagel, who’s already communicated with the talented prospect.

“We talked about two or three weeks ago, about how I’ve got to keep working, working on my game every day, getting better,” Hill said. “He’s a nice guy. I like him. The first thing he asked me is, was I working on my game, and I like coaches to ask me that. They’re not worried about ‘Oh, I’m going to get you up here,’ they want to know if I’ve been working on my game.”

Hill has his sights set very high when it comes to schools he’d like to hear from. While the Bears have gotten in on the ground floor, judging by his nascent game, they’ll have a fight on their hands.

“I’ve got some letters coming in, even though they’re form letters. I’ve got K-State – I talked with coach Frazier on the phone – and I’ve got some of the smaller schools sending me letters. Arizona sent me one,” Hill said. “I want to be at Kentucky. I want to be at one of the big schools – Arizona, Duke, any of them – that’s what I work for. I’m a big-game player. I like to play in big games, and they have one every single game.”

Hill is a worker above all else, and even though he’s right now stuck between a wing and a big man, he continuously tries to improve and broaden his skill set.

“For my high school, I’m short corner, high post, so I like to work on my face-up game,” he said. “I’ve been working on that every day. Even though I’m not going to be a guard, I still work on my ball-handling skills. Free throws, too, I work on those every day.”

Hill figures to be one of several centerpieces for the Centennial Huskies this coming season, what with SMU commit Sedrick Barefield and quick-rising 2015 prospect Khalil Ahmad in the back court.

“We have a big thing about sacrificing for our team, being unselfish,” Hill said. “Since we’re such a stacked team, we don’t have t have one guy do everything. Everybody on the bench or on the floor can score any time they want, but we’ve got to get the ball around.”

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