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Jordan Hill: "I Got Heart"
by: Jonathan Givony - President
May 26, 2009
Jordan Hill sits down for a chat with Jonathan Givony to discuss his training in Chicago, what he might be able to show NBA teams in private workouts, his background as a player in high school, his breakout junior season and much more.





Jonathan Givony: How has your training been going so far?

Jordan Hill: Itís been going really good. Itís been intense, itís been hard work, and everybody is coming out here, having fun, but getting work done has been really good. Weíve been going out there, early in the morning, and donít get done until like twelve, or two oíclock, but itís been really good.

Jonathan Givony: What are some of the things that youíve been working on from an individual standpoint?

Jordan Hill: Probably my footwork, just getting better footwork, stepping out, Iím knocking down the mid-range consistently now. Iím learning more post moves, learning more counter moves in case my opponent stops my first move, so itís really been a little bit of everything to try and get me ready for the next level.

Jonathan Givony: How excited are you to get into some of these private workouts?

Jordan Hill: Really excited man, Iím coming in there trying to be the best. At the next level itís going to be tough, and we got to get out here and just try to get to the next level, itís basically like a job, itís basically like interviews so weíve got to just go out there and do what we do to get ready.

Jonathan Givony: Do you think youíre going to surprise some people in the league with some of the stuff youíre going to be able to show them in private workouts?

Jordan Hill: Yeah, definitely. Itís not just trying to surprise people, I just love the game of basketball. Iím just trying to go out there and have fun. Whatever team I end up at I just want to go out there and help them win, just try to bring the energy, bring the hard work to the table and just go out there and do what I have to do.

Jonathan Givony: It seems like youíve been shooting the ball pretty well, in the drills I just saw. Is that something youíve been working on?

Jordan Hill: Definitely, my mid-range has gotten a lot better now. Just trying to step out there at 15-17 feet, and when Iím on my free time I go out there and step out for the NBA threes, so both of them have been coming around really good right now, I just have to keep working and trying to get better.

Jonathan Givony: Is that something you see becoming a major part of your repertoire in the NBA, that mid-range jump shot?

Jordan Hill: Definitely, a big man canít always be down on the block, trying all these post moves, the post moves are going to get stopped sometimes. Youíve got to have another move, another backup and thatís to step out and, if your opponents back up off you, to shoot the jumper. If theyíre on you, you can take it into the lane and score it, so either way, itís definitely a good move to have.

Jonathan Givony: Letís flash back about three or four years to high school. You werenít the most highly regarded guy in your class, but now youíre on the verge of being a top ten pick, what do you think happened there? What kind of high school player were you?

Jordan Hill: I started playing organized basketball my ninth grade year, I mean I played basketball when I was little just for fun, do what I have to do, but ninth grade year I played, tenth grade year I played, eleventh grade year I didnít play because of my grades, so I just tried to get that up, then my senior year I went to Patterson, North Carolina and played there.

I went through a lot, but I just loved the game of basketball, so I worked hard at it, tried to accomplish what I wanted, and Iím just trying to be a good basketball player. The situation Iím in now, Iím thankful for it, and I canít take it for granted, and I donít have any regrets, all this stuff Iíve been through, I just have to keep fighting and keep going.

Jonathan Givony: Did you ever envision during your senior year of high school that you would be in the position to be a top-10 draft pick?

Jordan Hill: Definitely not. It was definitely one of my goals, but the position I was in it was hard to say, ĎIím going to be an NBA playerí because nobody knew who I was, I was not even highly recruited. I just had the heart for the game, I just wanted to go out there and work hard at it, so if the opportunity comes to play at the next level Iím just going to go out there and do what I have to do.

Jonathan Givony: I donít know if this is just a legend, but apparently you were seen at an AAU tournament in Houston very late in the recruiting game and Lute Olson offered you there, can you tell us what happened there, the whole story?

Jordan Hill: Yeah, I was at the Kingwood Classic, and I was playing against DeAndre Jordan for one of the games, we lost that game, but after the game, my coach was just like, ĎArizona called me, they really like you, theyíre really looking at you,í and I was just like, ĎMan, Arizona?í I was kind of shocked, but I did go out there and work hard at it. I was definitely shocked, when they offered me I just took my official visit, fell in love with the city, and committed right on the spot, and Iíve definitely had my good years and a lot of fun there.

Jonathan Givony: What other schools were recruiting you other than Arizona, what other options did you have?

Jordan Hill: I had Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Vanderbilt, and Illinois. I had another couple of low schools there, but Duke, North Carolina, they were nowhere in sight. Arizona, they saw something in me. I think I made a really good choice by selecting them.

Jonathan Givony: Do you feel like people may have missed the boat a little bit on you in high school, or were you just not that good?

Jordan Hill: I knew I had potential, and I was an athletic, long big man, but I just needed a good coach to take me under his wing and have faith in me, and just work with me, and Lute Olson did that, but Lute Olson retired, and I only played with him for one year, so Iíve been trying to learn the game from different coaches. I just did what I had to do, I love the game, like I said, and Iím going to work hard at it and give it my all, and listen to the people that know the game.

Jonathan Givony: You made an unbelievable jump between your sophomore and junior years, just in terms of offensively, cutting down on your fouls, just your all-around polish. What happened there that let you do that?

Jordan Hill: I was hungry. I was really hungry. My sophomore year we had Chase Budinger, Jerryd Bayless, so there were two really well known players, and no one really knew about me, so I just waited patiently and did my role.

Basically I was a little bit of a role player my sophomore year, I let those two have their fame and glory. Then my junior year came, and I was like all right, itís time for me to step up. I started working on my game, doing everything to bring out my A game, to shoot up, and it came out my junior year, I really feel like I did a heck of a job, and Iím just going to keep going for what I want.

Jonathan Givony: How close were you to declaring for the draft after your sophomore year? We heard some rumblings that maybe you were considering it, but you decided not to.

Jordan Hill: I definitely wasnít considering it. I knew I wasnít ready to make that jump, I definitely made a smart move by coming back. I mean, it was hard work, I just had to go out there and wait for my turn to come up. I had faith in God, God gave me the strength to go out there and play basketball, the game I love. I was a baseball player awhile back, but I thought it was time for me to give it up as I started growing and growing, I was like, Iíll stay with basketball, thatís what Iím doing.



Jonathan Givony: So, Iíll be honest, I donít think thereís a player in the top 10 who is going to get much flak as you from various experts, like ďOh, in any other draft he would go here, thereĒ I mean, youíre hearing that stuff, Iím sure. How does that make you feel?

Jordan Hill: I try to not let it get to me. Thereís always going to people who doubt you, thereís a lot of doubters out there. I donít have that much publicity, so basically to me itís just those people who are only watching the highly recruited players, who everybody is talking about, thatís who theyíre going to watch.

Iím really not known out there still, and I donít think theyíve been really watching my games, because there were some games where I really put my heart into it and played good, I think I played good in a lot of games. It really gives me motivation to just go out there and kick butt on the court. I love the game, but thereís always going to be doubters out there, I just have to shake it off and keep going, keep fighting.

Jonathan Givony: One game that really sticks out in my mind is the game at Washington where you hurt your ankle, and it looked like you were done, then they bring you back onto the court, and you canít even really move, but you somehow manage to help your team and get back in the game. That really showed me a lot. What are your thoughts on that game in particular?

Jordan Hill: Like I said, I got heart. I got heart and love of basketball. When I hurt my ankle, I definitely thought I wasnít going to play anymore, I thought I was going to sit out the rest of the game, but when I got off the court, the trainer was on me, moving it, and I was thinking, ĎMan, I donít think Iím going to be able to get back out.í

But then I heard the crowd getting into it, just getting louder, louder, and I was thinking my team might be losing badly, because they were just getting hyped, but then all of the sudden this adrenaline flows through my body and Iím like, ĎMan, Iím kinda ready to go now, Iím just kinda ready to go.í

So I told the trainer, ĎIím good, Iím going to go back out there, Iím just going to keep going, I know my team needs me.í I went out there and gave my team that little bit I had, I just wanted to help my team in any way.

Jonathan Givony: Do you see yourself as a guy in the NBA that is going to demand double teams on the block? Do you see yourself as more of a go-to-guy like you were in Arizona or do you see yourself as more of a complementary off the ball player?

Jordan Hill: Itís definitely going to take time for me to become a go-to player, but when I get there Iím going to have to be just like I was when I got to Arizona coming out of high school, I was a role player when I first got in. So I have to just go out there and be a role player for awhile just to see what I can do. I definitely can score, but Iím just going to do the things my team needs me to do, like I said. If it comes to me being a superstar, or a go-to-guy, then thatíll be a wonderful feeling. Until then, I just gotta play my role.

Jonathan Givony: Have you been watching the NBA playoffs at all?

Jordan Hill: Yeah.

Jonathan Givony: Anything youíve been noticing about the big guys there, like things that suit you, that could compliment your skill set?

Jordan Hill: The big guys in there, theyíre kind of different, like Dwight Howard- heís just at the basket, dunking everything, Paul Gasol- he can step out and shoot the mid-range, get rebounds, use the post move, but I think I can be more aggressive than him. He is a good player, but I think I can be more aggressive.

Jonathan Givony: Kenyon Martin, or Nene?

Jordan Hill: Kenyon Martin- I like him, heís a beast. Heís got a lot of heart and heís really aggressive, I like watching him.

Jonathan Givony: Could you see yourself playing a role like that?

Jordan Hill: I definitely could. Itís whatever my team wants me to do, if they need me to be a role player, if they need me to step up and score some baskets, Iím all for that, but everything takes time when it comes to the next level.



Jonathan Givony: Something youíve been criticized for in the past is your defense, do you think thatís going to be a concern in the NBA?

Jordan Hill: I definitely donít. Iíve been working on my footwork a lot now. I used to get in foul trouble a lot, you know. Iíve been working on footwork, and trying not to block everything. My defense is getting there, I can alter shots, I can block shots, I can do things, my footwork got a lot better, but now I just have to keep working at it.

Jonathan Givony: How much room do you have left to grow still, as a player?

Jordan Hill: I still got a lot more, a lot more. Iím very coachable, my talent, my potential is still coming out right now, I still got more post moves that I can learn, I can get my feet quicker, my mid-range could be 80%. I think I can get out there with the three point shot, if I keep working at it. I can definitely get a lot better right now.

Jonathan Givony: What are your expectations in terms of where you might get drafted? What are you hearing there?

Jordan Hill: Iím not hearing anything, I just let my agent deal with that, I know I just have to go out and keep working hard, and whatever my agent says I just have to be ready for. It doesnít matter where I work out at, who I work out with, I just have to go out there and work hard.

Jonathan Givony: Does it matter where you go, if you go #4, if you go #9, is there a difference there for you?

Jordan Hill: Definitely not, I just want to get to the next level. Iíve been through so much in my entire life, and I hate to say it, but when I was younger I definitely had doubters who didnít think I was going to be anything. When I look back, itís just crazy. When my mom passed away when I was three, we were struggling, and struggling, I got into some trouble, everything kind of went downhill after my mom passed. I just want to keep going, it doesnít matter where I go, I just want to get to that next level so I can say, ĎYes, I accomplished what I wanted to.í

Jonathan Givony: The things that youíve been through, how big of a role have they played in the person that you are today?

Jordan Hill: They played a very big role. They helped me grow up, made me a smarter person, especially when I moved to Arizona. Before I moved to Arizona, I was around my family, to do all that, and I was like, ĎMan itís time for me to grow up and get out on my own.í So thatís the reason I went to Arizona, just to be on my own, and help me grow up, and live life how I want to live it.

Jonathan Givony: Jordan, youíve been great. Thanks for your time, and best of luck moving forward.

Jordan Hill: Thank you.

 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

Jordan Hill
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 232 lbs.
Birthday: 07/27/1987
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: The Patterson School
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #8 in 2009 Draft
by the Knicks
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
9.5 Pts, 8.2 Rebs, 1.3 Asts


DeAndre Jordan
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 250 lbs.
Birthday: 07/21/1988
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Christian Life Center Academy
Previous Team: Texas A&M , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #5 in 2008 Draft
by the Clippers
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
8.8 Pts, 10.0 Rebs, 2.0 Asts


Chase Budinger
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 206 lbs.
Birthday: 12/31/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: La Costa Canyon
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #14 in 2009 Draft
by the Pistons
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SG/SF
Quick Stats:
10.2 Pts, 3.0 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


Jerryd Bayless
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 204 lbs.
Birthday: 08/20/1988
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Mary
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #11 in 2008 Draft
by the Pacers
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
4.5 Pts, 2.2 Rebs, 4.2 Asts


Dwight Howard
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 240 lbs.
Birthday: 12/08/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Southwest Atlanta Christian
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2004 Draft
by the Magic
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
12.0 Pts, 7.7 Rebs, 0.3 Asts


Kenyon Martin
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 230 lbs.
Birthday: 12/30/1977
36 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Bryan Adams
Previous Team: Cincinnati , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2000 Draft
by the Nets
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
4.3 Pts, 4.2 Rebs, 1.6 Asts


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