Hill needs to improve in sophomore year

Kasey Hill showed flashes during his freshman year of the potential that earned him a five-star ranking coming out of a high school. Every time he went coast-to-coast or blew by a defender off the dribble, he made a freshman mistakes minutes later that reminded everyone of his youth. Those mistakes can't happen as he takes the reigns of the point guard position as a sophomore.

There was always something holding Hill back from taking the next step forward. He showed the potential at the beginning of the season when Scottie Wilbekin was serving his suspension. After scoring 17 points in the exhibition game against Florida Southern, Hill scored 15 points in the season-opening win against North Florida.

After struggling with foul trouble in the second game of the year at Wisconsin, Kasey Hill rebounded with 14 points, six assists and five steals against Arkansas Little-Rock. Things started to slow down after that game. Teams started to play off Hill when the ball was in his hands and force him to hit jump shots. That didn't happen with regularity, and his lanes to the basket were taken away as defenders gave him space.

A high ankle sprain against Southern on November 18 sidelined Hill for less than a month, but by the time he returned, Wilbekin's suspension was over and he took the starting job back. Billy Donovan was able to be creative and find lineups that included Hill and Wilbekin on the floor together, but Florida's traditional starting five gave the team its best chance to win and was the lineup most often on the floor.

There's one major area that has to be addressed before the start of the 2014-15 season, and it's one that Hill has been aware of for years. His jump shot has to get better. His acceleration and quickness is what makes him special, but if teams don't have a reason to defend him behind the three-point line, his chances to blow by defenders and get to the basket decrease.

Hill shot 14.3 percent from behind the three-point line, hitting just five of his 35 attempts on the season. He ended the season on a steak of 10 straight missed threes with his last made three-pointer coming against Alabama on January 23. If those numbers become even respectable, Hill could be in for a big sophomore season.

The point guard also has to improve his ability to stay out of foul trouble. Despite being seventh on the team in total minutes, Hill finished the year fifth in total fouls. And that comes as a perimeter player, not someone taking the pounding of a player in the paint.

Some of the improvements will take care of themselves with the usual improvement that comes from a player's freshman to sophomore season. It happened for Nick Calathes, who went from 15.3 to 17.2 points per game with more assists and more steals during his second season on campus. Erving Walker, whose sophomore year brought more minutes, managed to lower his assist-to-turnover ratio from 1.6 to 2.0 from his freshman to sophomore seasons.

But if the jump shot doesn't improve and force defenders to respect Hill's offensive game from the perimeter, it will severely limit what looks to be an enormous potential.

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