“It was hard not getting around. I didn’t really want to try different foods, didn’t know what was going on,” said Hill about his recent trip to Beijing. “It’s a different world over there.”
It’s been a different world in general for Jordan the last 24 months.
Hill didn’t start playing organized basketball until 2002, when he was in ninth grade. He also sat out his entire junior year of high school for academic reasons. He was considered a project when he joined Arizona, but the NBA spotlight turned to him almost overnight when he averaged over 18 points and 11 rebounds during his junior season.
His size and athleticism had scouts drooling, but Hill had a lot to learn about the game of basketball. As a result, he was not considered an impact, plug-and-play type lottery pick.
“Jordan’s whole thing is his concentration level — he’s got to keep it the whole time he’s on the court,” said Adelman about the 23-year old. “He’s a young guy, he loses his concentration and then he puts himself in bad positions.”
In an effort to improve, Hill attended offseason workouts in Houston run by former Rockets assistant coach/GM Carroll Dawson, who has tutored Rockets bigs for more than 30 years (See: Video of Dawson working out former Rocket Joey Dorsey).
Dawson focused on developing a go-to move for Hill.
“He’s a jumphook guy,” said Hill. “He’s always telling me ‘put your hands straight up, get it in.’ He definitely helped me with my jumphook and I’ve been working with him on my mid-range game.”
Dawson wasn’t the only Rockets legend Hill had on his radar this summer. The 6-foot-10 forward said a workout with the greatest Rocket of them all, Hakeem Olajuwon, almost took place as well, but there was a miscommunication and Hill was not in Houston when the workout with Dream was possible.
“It would definitely be a great experience working with him,” he said of Olajuwon. “But I’m glad I got to work with somebody who worked with him and got him to be how he is.”
As far as where he’s improved specifically since his final year in college, Hill says it’s a little bit of everything. He cites his jumper first as being much more polished, but his rebounding and post moves have made strides as well.
“I started a little late, but I’ve been progressing every year,” said Hill.