Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Walter Hill Lands

I'm all for giving a guy a second chance, so I'm glad that Walter Hill will be able to continue his education.

As readers know, Hill was a one-time basketball recruit for Dennis Felton. I had hoped that Hill would be able to come in and contribute right away, backing up Billy Humphrey at the 2-guard, and giving Georgia basketball a lock-down defender on the perimeter.

It was not to be. Before Hill signed his letter of intent with Coach Felton, he was recruited away from UGA's basketball program by UGA's football program.


Even more awkward was what happened next. Not too long after beginning his collegiate football career, Hill was dismissed by Coach Richt.

I was troubled by some of the remarks about what led up to the dismissal. The reported reason was that Hill was not committed to "doing things the Georgia way."

I won't repeat the rumors here, but I think it is pretty well accepted that you really, really have to mess up for Coach Richt to dismiss you outright.

I understand that Southwestern Illinois College is impressed by Hill's all-state credentials achieved in high school basketball and football. However, looking at the totality of the circumstances, I am not convinced that the sportswriter is correct in stating that SWIC "hit the jackpot." Hill is more like a good "scratch-off card." Lots of potential, but realizing it will take liberal doses of discernment, good luck, or both.

Bottom line: If he handles his business the right way, Hill can get back on his feet. The article indicates that he was placed at SWIC by the University of Minnesota. That makes it likely that after a year or two of junior college, Hill can go play basketball under Tubby Smith.

Hill has all of the physical tools (I always thought that basketball was probably the best fit for him and he seems to have come around to that line of thinking), and now he has a second chance. He can get things right, eventually compete in Division I basketball, and get his degree.

I hope he takes full advantage of it.

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