You may not yet be familiar with the name Herbert Hill
, but its one you should get accustomed to, as youre certain to start hearing more of it in the months ahead. Hill, a senior at Providence, never averaged more than 18.4 minutes per game until this year, but hes suddenly exploded onto the college basketball scene, and is quietly making a legitimate run at Big East Player of the Year honors. Hill thus far is averaging 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, and is shooting a remarkable 70% from the floor.
Hill stands 610, weighs 240 pounds, and has a pretty solid frame to boot. He doesnt have the broadest shoulders, but certainly has enough to get by in the NBA, and he has room to add some more weight as well. Hill has decent size right now, and he doesnt show any noticeable problems getting overpowered, but with some more upper body strength he could elevate his already formidable game. Hill also has pretty good length and athleticism for his size, and he uses these qualities to his advantage in his game, especially rebounding the basketball.
Hills offensive game is surprisingly refined for someone who hasnt logged many minutes over the course of his college career, and with his physical tools, its perplexing how his game didnt start to shine earlier. Hill gets his points in a variety of ways on the offensive end, though he seems to be at his best putting the ball on the floor from mid-range with his face-up game. For his position, Hills first step is pretty quick, and he has enough ball-handling ability to take a few dribbles en route to the basket, sometimes showing the ability to change directions or pull off a spin move in the process. He reacts very well when a defender is in his way, altering his path so not to plow into them, and adjusting his shot when its contested by the opposition. He also has a solid understanding of how to use jukes and fakes to his advantage, combining all these skills together to form a very fluid game when he gets in motion. In this game he showed the ability to finish with lay-ups or hook shots, and does a good job of taking what the defense gives him.
Hill also showed off a very solid mid-range shot, which has good form, a high release point, and a pretty quick release. With his height, length, and shooting motion, he should have absolutely no problems getting this off at the next level. Hes only shooting 59% from the free-throw line thus far this season, so his shot is obviously not perfected yet, but all the tools are there, and with work, it should come around.
Hill has a great touch around the rim, and this, coupled with his rebounding ability, leads to a lot of putback attempts, most of which he converts with ease. In this game he drew contact pretty well, not letting it affect any of his shots or tip-in attempts. As for rebounding the ball, Hill uses his relentless motor and physical gifts to try and track down pretty much every rebound, and he also displays good timing on his jumps, a good second bounce when needed, and excellent hands to pull the rebounds in. With his length and leaping ability, he can often go over the opposition to pull down a board.
Offensively, Hill likes to stay within fifteen feet of the basket where hes at his best, as hes always in a position to shoot the mid-range shot or use his face-up game to get to the basket. He shows some flashes of solid court vision and passing ability from the high post, and once he improves this aspect of his game, he will be an excellent triple-threat option out of the high-post. Hill already seems very poised, plays within himself, and seems to have a solid understanding of his strengths and limitations as a player. He also seems to have a strong sense of court awareness and offensive spacing, and recognizes what the defense is giving to him, and proceeds to take advantage of it.
Defensively, Hill shows the same consistent motor he does on offense, and hes very active in contesting shots that enter the lane. Providence plays a lot of zone defense, so its tough to get a read on his man-to-man skills, but when forced to step out on the perimeter in this game, he looked like he had at least above average lateral quickness for a power forward, along with a solid understanding of how to play fundamental man-to-man defense, getting his center of gravity down and sliding his feet.
Its likely not going to remain this way for long, but as of now, Hill is quite possibly the biggest sleeper in all of college hoops, and he should certainly be in discussions about the first round in this upcoming draft. Hills been consistently putting up numbers all season long, and in the four games since conference play began, hes scored 20+ points three times and has three double-doubles, along with a game where he netted seven blocks. If he continues to perform the way he has been, with his combination of physical abilities and developed skills, the first round is not out of the picture for him.