Different stroke helps Florida Gators' guard Kasey Hill

Kasey Hill came to Gainesville with elite quickness and a high upside.

Through his first two seasons, his shot from the perimeter has kept him from reaching it. First-year Florida coach Mike White and his staff of three former point guards spent their offseason working with Hill on some corrections to his shot’s form that could make it easier and more consistent.

In his first two seasons, Hill shot 38.9 percent from the field, but the real issues came from the three-point line and free throw line, where Hill shot 20.3 percent (13-64) and 59.1 percent (107-181) respectively.

To try fixing it, White and his staff encouraged Hill to get the ball away from his face. When he shot the ball during his first two seasons at Florida, Hill pulled the ball up and released right in front of his eyes. A slight move to the right keeps his eyes clear to focus on the basket and gives Hill and easier time pulling the trigger.

It could be only part of the problem, as Hill admitted some of his shooting woes became mental during the last two seasons.

"I would say when it comes to shooting threes, a lot of it was mental for me,” Hill said. “When it comes to midrange, I'm way more comfortable with midrange than threes. But I’d say about 70 percent was mental for me when it came to three-pointers.

"(Free throw shooting) was all mental. I'm a way better free throw shooter than what I showed last year. I'm going to show that this year."

Hill’s issues didn’t come as a surprise to White. He saw it in the film he watched from last year’s team and it showed up during individual workouts the staff was able to be a part of during the summer. His elite quickness and ability to get to the rim helped Hill create offense during his first two seasons, but teams started to give him more and more space on the perimeter because no opponent respected his ability to shoot.

“The obvious is sitting there -- Kasey knows it, you know it, I know it. He's got to shoot it better,” White said, “and I've got to do my best to put him in position to be successful. He's got to shoot better from the foul line, from the arc. He's got to take great shots. He's got to continue to be in the gym more and more. Our staff, including myself, is continuing to encourage him to do that.”

While improved shooting would go a long way to help Hill, he thinks the new offense will be a good fit for him. White wants to push the tempo on offense, trusting Hill and Chris Chiozza with the ball in transition. For Hill, that’s where he thrives. His speed and ability to get to the rim could take another step forward in an offense aiming to push the basketball.

“I love the new style, the new coaches,” Hill said. “I think it fits perfectly for me, but also for the rest of the players on our team. Like Devin [Robinson], Devon [Walker], Doe-Doe, Brandone Francis, those type of guys it fits perfect for everybody.

“Everything is new, but we also have in the back of the mind we still had a bad season last season and we want to get out there and prove a lot of people wrong. We're ready. I don't really have many expectations. We just want to improve. That's our main goal, I know that's my main goal is proving everybody wrong."

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