A solid body of work and an impressive three-day showcase was enough to propel former La Salle High boys’ basketball standout Jordan Hill to the next level.
The Lancers alumnus verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin of the Big 10 Conference on Tuesday afternoon, three weeks after first receiving an offer.
“I’m excited to commit,” Hill said. “Wisconsin is the big stage and in a great conference and I’m excited to be heading there.”
Hill received little attention after he graduated from La Salle, but his fortunes changed quickly playing AAU ball at the King James Summer Showcase, which took place in Chicago from July 13-15.
It was there that Hill caught the eye of Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan, who spotted him after scouting AAU teammate Brian Alberts.
“I had two really good games on the day coach Ryan was there and I think he was impressed with how I played in the morning game at 8,” Hill said. “Everyone showed up all sluggish and I was out there at 7:30 and played really well.”
According to Hill, he followed up the early morning performance with “the game of his life” against the LeBron James Shooting Stars, the host team, which further ingratiated Hill to Ryan.
“A couple of days after, I got a call from [Wisconsin assistant coach] Greg Gard and then the next day coach Ryan called me,” Hill said. “It did happen quickly.”
Hill received the offer on July 17, but wasn’t completely sold on Wisconsin until an official visit last week.
“I really loved the campus. The facilities weren’t going to be matched by any other school that I was considering,” Hill said. “It seemed like the place to be.”
Hill’s other options included Yale University, Lehigh, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Florida Gulf Coast, Kent State, Northern Arizona and Santa Clara.
“I’m really happy for Jordan. That is fantastic,” said former La Salle Coach Steve Goldstein. “Jordan works really hard and he’s a smart kid. He’s about a year or two from really hitting his potential. If he just adds a little muscle and maybe a little height, look out.”
According to Goldstein, Hill will become the first La Salle boys’ basketball player to participate at the Division I level since 2002 alumnus Mark Kelly starred at UC Irvine.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Hill averaged 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a forward last year for the Lancers, who finished 13-14 overall and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs.
For his efforts, Hill was named both a Del Rey League and All-Area first-teamer.
Hill verbally committed to a scholarship for the 2013-2014 season and will actually spend this upcoming school year at Phillips Exeter Academy, a fifth-year institute in New Hampshire recommended to him by his AAU Coach Robert Icar.
“At first, I was completely against going to Exeter, but I haven’t even got there yet and it’s already one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” Hill said. “Once schools knew I was going there, I got this attention and it helped me get this offer.
“Now, I can just focus on my future, both at Exeter and then Wisconsin.”