Until he arrived at Maryland as one of Mark Turgeon’s assistant coaches, this is what I knew about Dalonte Hill:
--That Hill had coached AAU ball, was tight with Michael Beasley and that Beasley followed him all the way to Kansas State. Beasley is now involved in a legal battle with sports agent Joel Bell.
--That Hill got a really big salary.
I profiled Hill in a story for today’s paper to try to fill in a few knowledge gaps – for you and for myself.
Here's what interests me about Hill:
* He’s unapologetic about his abundant summer-league contacts. He’s a staunch AAU defender. He thinks the media is obsessed with writing stories about the seamy side of AAU events -- but not the proper benefits that can accrue to kids in terms of experience and exposure.
* He says the best way to recruit kids is to scout them early and develop trust, but also to know when to stop badgering them. In other words, don’t always be pitching.
“I try to show up early in the kid’s high school career. They kind of get familiar and figure out who I am and then continue to work the coach.” Hill told me. “And when I’m able to talk to them, I try to reel them in where we don’t have to talk about just his recruitment or we don’t have to talk about basketball every conversation. So he feels comfortable answering the phone when I am able to call.”
* Like many assistants, he’s been trying to position himself to eventually be a head coach. “When they promoted me (at Kansas State) to associate head coach, they put me on a lot of the day-to-day stuff—drawing up practice plans, talking about our recruiting, going out and speaking in public. That was a big boost to my career when I was able to do that,” Hill said.
Part of my story touches on how Hill and Beasley ended up together at Kansas State. Were they a package deal? Hill addresses that in my story. That’s something that Bob Huggins, formerly at Kansas State and now at West Virginia, also touched on in this story in the Charleston Gazette.
"Let's be honest, you hire guys that can recruit players," Huggins said, according to the Gazette. "Dalonte Hill was the lead guy in [recruiting] Jacob Pullen, who really had a pretty big impact on Kansas State basketball. And Jacob had no affiliation at all with D.C., DC Assault, none of that. Dalonte's good. How stupid am I to hire a guy who's going to recruit one guy who's going to be there one year and then I'm stuck with a guy who doesn't do [anything]?"