Malcolm Hill is a blossoming superstar. The 6'-6" Belleville East junior has a tremendous ability to attack the basket. He is so quick with his first step, and so aggressive in his pursuit of the rim, he either finishes or gets fouled on every attempt.
Hill played with his high school at the State Farm Thanksgiving Tournament of Champions in Washington, Illinois last week. Belleville East lost to an outstanding Proviso East team, but Hill scored 22 points including 10 made free throws.
"I think I played pretty well. I should have hit more jump shots, but I was attacking the basket. I need to work on my handle."
He agrees he hasn't needed a jumper with all the success he has attacking the rim.
"Yeah, that's how it usually is."
Hill was pleased with his overall effort, but his primary concern was his team.
"I might have played well, but our team didn't perform as well as we wanted to. Since it's only our second game, hopefully we learned a lesson."
Lancers coach Ray Hoffman knows he has something unique on his hands.
"He's a special kid. The best thing about him is he likes to share the ball, and his competitiveness. It's not all about him. Having those kind of guys when they're your best player makes it a little bit easier."
Of course, he still must make improvements in his game.
"Malcolm had a pretty good game. He's got to do some things better. He's our go-to guy. He works hard every day in practice and cares about the team first."
Hill is working on his weaknesses.
"I'm working on my outside shot, and my quickness. I've really worked hard on my defense. That's what a lot of people criticize me about. That's why I really worked on it this summer. And my rebounding.
"I want to work most on defense and rebounding. I need to learn how to get up on the ball handler. I sag off most of the time, so I want to learn how to pressure up on them and keep them in front of me. On rebounding, I need to work hard on getting on the glass and boxing out better."
He must learn how to move his feet laterally on the defensive end, but his quickness and long arms help him cover the passing lanes.
"Yeah, that's one advantage about me, getting my hands in the passing lanes."
Hill's commitment to Illinois is firm. He explains his reasoning.
"It's a great campus. I really enjoy the coaching staff and players. Also, I can get a good job afterword if I work real hard on my books when I get there. That's why I really picked them."
He is optimistic about this season, but even more about next year when his young team will have more maturity and experience.
"Yeah, I'm gonna be really excited because we're a really young team this year. We've got a lot of areas to improve on and a lot of time."
Illini fans can check out Hill and his teammates for themselves at the December Shootout at the Assembly Hall.