VAUGHT: Cameron Hill will miss Kentucky

Cameron Hill is going to miss everything about the University of Kentucky basketball program. However, after three years as director of player development for Kentucky, Hill couldn't pass up the opportunity to become the head coach of the U.S. Basketball Academy in Blue River, Ore.

"It's a team and individual camp to train pro players, college players, European players and other overseas players," said Hill, who will start his new job Sept. 1. "It is a global training facility and I will be working with everybody that comes there. It's a tremendous opportunity for me to solidify my basketball philosophy. I've have three years under my father (Bob Hill) and three years under coach (Tubby) Smith. This is an opportunity for me to put that training to use.

"My situation at Kentucky was great. But it is just time to make a change. I've looked into jobs every year I have been at Kentucky and have tried to evaluate the job market. This hopefully will help me eventually become a head coach. If I was going to leave Kentucky, this job makes the most sense. It gives me a chance to spread my wings." It also puts Hill closer to his family since his father is head coach of the Seattle Supersonics. "I'll get through this season and then see what is going on in college and pro basketball and what my options are," he said.

Kentucky will miss Hill. He often was the one staff member that players related to the best. He says that was his role on the staff and since he was not in charge of disciplining players, it made it easier for players to talk to him.

"Helping players just came naturally for me. I was the likable guy. That was not necessarily the role I wanted to be in. I would rather have had more impact with my coaching, but that was the role I had and I relished it. It was great to be able to develop those relationships and I want to see all the guys do well. It was not a young or old (age) thing with me and the players. It was just circumstantial. I was just the guy they were around and talked to," Hill said.

And what about next season at Kentucky? Will the team be better?

"No question this season will be better. It starts with the players' attitudes. They all recognize how significant this season will be. They have all really committed to improve. The new strength coach has done an unbelievable job. He's really made a huge impact in a short time," Hill said. "I think from top to bottom, everybody at UK feels good about this season. It's a chance to get on the horse and show everybody you can ride again."

And his departure is totally his decision despite recent rumor that UK needed to create a staff vacancy for Shawn Finney?

"This is a decision my wife and I made based on our goals and what we wanted to accomplish. I would stay at Kentucky forever if I could. But for me to do what I want to do by the time I want to do it, I have to move on and do more. I think it will be a good move, but there's no doubt I will miss Kentucky," Hill said.

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