Devin Hill came to DePaul in 2008 with the reputation as a basketball player who spent much of his time in the low post while on the AAU circuit with the New York Gauchos. He mostly blocked shots, rebounded and got putbacks for the guard-oriented squad.
In his debut season with the Blue Demons, the 6-9, 200 lb. forward from Stamford, Connecticut had to adjust to the college game and playing away from the basket.
Hill averaged 17.5 minutes per game as a freshman. He appeared in 31 games and started in nine of them. Devin averaged 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Hill recorded a career high of 10 points in games against Alcorn State during non-conference play and at Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in January. He grabbed a career high 13 rebounds in a win over Liberty in December.
Blocking shots is one area where Devin excelled. He led the Blue Demons in rejections despite his limited minutes. Hill averaged 1.23 blocks per game and finished 13th in the Big East in that category. His 38 blocks are tied for 17th with Bryant Bowden (1995-96) on the school's all-time season chart. Devin recorded a career high of six blocks in a win over Southern University and blocked four shots on four different occasions during the season.
Hill scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and blocked four shots at Syracuse in January, but after that he struggled in the rough and tumble Big East. His minutes on the floor dwindled due to an ankle injury and Hill being unprepared for the physical play in the league.
"He has some length and some size to play the small forward spot," said Mike Procopio of ATTACK Athletics after Hill camped there earlier this month. "I worry about his lack of physical play. He can finish. He's an athletic, smooth player.
For Hill to improve, he's going to have to make the weight room his second home. "He definitely needs to get in the weight room," said Procopio. "I think he needs to put some weight on."
"He's not going to be a beast with that frame," Procopio said. "I think he needs to improve his strength. His ability to make shots has to improve. You can't be a small forward in that league and not be physical and not be able to make shots. You've got to be able to do one of those things."
Hill does defend well with his length and the shot-blocking ability. "Maybe he's a good wing defender like a poor man's Stacey Augmon," said Procopio. "He needs to be able to do something. You can't just be big and good in layup lines."
Devin has been trying to improve his perimeter shooting as he adjusts to playing in the Big East. Hill shot 16.7% from beyond the arc last year. One highlight of the season for him was scoring back-to-back three pointers to close out the first half in a win at Illinois-Chicago.
"The physicality isn't going to come overnight," Procopio said. "He really needs to get in the gym and shoot the ball, you know 500 shots a day. I think repetition is what creates a good shooter."
"Bruce Bowen of the NBA ended up being a very inconsistent shooter," said Procopio. "He didn't become a great shooter, but what he did was he got in the gym and shot 500-700 shots a day until he was a servicible shooter. That's all he needs to be."
One thing that Procopio admired was Hill's work ethic. "He did really work hard in camp. He's a good kid. He's got a lot of time. He's young. He's got three years to go."
"I think he has a ways to go, but he's got some ability and size," Procopio said. "If he improves his ballhandling ability a bit, and makes that 15-17 foot shot, he can contribute off the bench."
Hill is aware of many of the things that he needs to work on to be a successful player at DePaul. "I need to work on my shot and my handle," Devin said. "Rebounding too. I need to make sure I go after every rebound and get a lot of rebounds."
Coming off a season where the Demons finished 9-24, Hill feels that he knows what the team must do to get better this season.
"We need to play together and spread it out. Everyone needs to get a good amount of shots. If everyone works on their own individual game, then we'll be alright this year."
Breaking Down DePaul Sophomore Devin Hill
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