Southern Illinois Has Basketball Talent Also

The state of Illinois is deep in basketball talent in the class of 2013. One of the players emerging on the scene is Belleville East wing Malcolm Hill. The sophomore had a stellar season and recently visited Illinois for a game.

Malcolm Hill is a 6'-5" shooting guard from Belleville East High School in southwestern Illinois. The sophomore has played at a high level in a lead role for his ball club. Colleges are starting to show interest including Illinois.

Hill took an unofficial visit to Illinois for the Illini's game against Purdue on February 13. He talked before the game about what he was looking to learn about the program on this visit.

"I am looking at how they play and the atmosphere."

The Belleville East guard grew up a big fan of the Illinois program. His AAU coach with the Southwest Jets Patrick Smith says he has been exposed to the program for a long time even extending back to before Bruce Weber's tenure.

"Malcolm has gone to the Illinois camp since he was in the fourth grade. He's been going to camps since before Bruce Weber was there. He has been exposed to Illinois over the course of the last six or seven years."

Smith said the sophomore enjoyed had fun on the Illinois campus in mid-February.

"He enjoyed it. They went back after the game and talked with the coaches. They had a good time up there."

Weber came to watch Hill practice at Belleville East to get another evaluation on the 6'-5" sophomore. Smith says Hill has built a good relationship with the staff and has received some feedback from them.

"One of Jay Price's comments to Malcolm was he wants to see his body mature, get stronger, be more physical and keep his grades up."

Hill talked during his visit about some of the schools showing early interest in him.

"Purdue, Michigan, Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State."

His summer coach mentioned that SIU-E and Southwest Missouri State are also recruiting him. Smith discussed which schools the sophomore has visited.

"He has been up to Southwest Missouri State. He has been up to Michigan's gym. He has been to games at Illinois and Purdue."

Smith talked about how his star played for his high school team this year.

"This is his first year being a full time starter. He probably could have started full time last year. He is Belleville East's best player and one of the best players in the conference. By just looking at him, you wouldn't think he was a sophomore. He had a really good year this season."

Hill likes how his game is progressing and discussed his strengths.

"I played pretty well. I averaged about 18 points per game. I am a scorer and a slasher. I am usually going to have a really good shooting night or an ok shooting night."

Smith believes he has a special player for the Southwest Jets. There are several aspects of Hill's game that stand out against other prospects.

"He has a knack for scoring. He does a variety of offensive things well, but he has a knack for scoring. I see him at a two. He is about 6'-5" now. He has a good enough perimeter shot and handles the ball well. He can defend a smaller or bigger guard."

The combination of Hill playing and Smith coaching has been a successful combination over the years. Their relationship goes back a long way. Smith knows him as a player and person very well.

"I've been coaching Malcolm since he was 6 years old. I have been his AAU coach since 3rd grade. We have been doing this a long time. He has become a really great teammate and facilitator. He has been able to impact the team beyond just scoring."

Hill is a player Illini fans need to continue to track over the course of his career as he is a high major target with a big-time game.

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