Sometimes things happen so quickly and a bit unexpectedly, but that is how it is in the basketball world. One day your far far away in Kazakhstan and as distant from the big show as some NBA commentators were recently from telling the German Wagner brothers apart. That is exactly how it was almost two years ago as BC Astana was battling Russian team Enisey in a Epic VTB game as there were two Hill’s on the court. The one was Malcolm Hill who had had a stellar career at Illinois (NCAA) and the other was Jeremiah Hill (188-G-95, college: Valdosta St.) who had had a stellar career at Valdosta State (NCAA2) and had had to pay his dues. The only difference was that in 2022, Malcolm Hill is living the Cinderella story in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls while Jeremiah Hill is playing great basketball in Russia and continuing to move up the basketball ladder. Two years ago, both Hills helped beat Enisey as Malcolm had 29 and 23 points and Jeremiah had 17 and 15 points. They both had an unforgettable season together which Jeremiah will never forget. ‘The best memory on the court was probably the game we played against Enisey, it wasn’t like a killer game from either of us but probably the game we were just having the most fun possible. Off the court could have been any of the bowling nights but probably one when his mom came to visit and we all went and ate and played’, remembered Jeremiah Hill. After his time with BC Astana, Malcolm Hill had a solid season with Hapoel Jerusalem and this season had the confidence and game to give the NBA a shot. He played NBA Summer League and began in the G-League with Birmingham where he totally left his A game on the floor earning his ticket to the NBA. Jeremiah is watching from a far and proud of for his ex teammate. ‘It’s awesome and I couldn’t be anymore happy for his success. He has always had the body and ability to play at that level and it was just a matter of time’, stressed Jeremiah Hill. Seeing a guy like Malcolm Hill do his thing and make his NBA dream come true helps him see what is possible. ‘Him making it just shows me more that it’s all about timing and just to make sure I’ll be ready if given the shot’, expressed Jeremiah Hill. He understands that there are millions of guards in the world trying to do the same thing so it’s about luck and timing to reach the NBA.
Jeremiah Hill who lists current Atlanta Hawk player Delon Wright as his toughest opponent in school was born on September 4, 1995 in Richmond Hill, Georgia. As a freshman he balled at Savannah State University playing 32 games averaging 6.4ppg, 1.5rpg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 77.1%. He was named to the MEAC all rookie team. Despite having a solid freshman year in the NCAA, he opted to take a step back and move to the NCAA 2. Even if there is a difference between the two leagues, you do find very skilled players in division 2. ‘The only difference between the levels is big men. That’s the biggest thing I got between playing the two levels. Obviously there are the elite guards at D2’, stated Jeremiah Hill. He scored in double figures in 12 games including hitting Md-E Shore for 17 points and scored 16 points against Coppin. He also produced 15 points against Hampton. He then played at Valdosta State (NCAA2) from 2014-2017 playing a total of 60 games. His game really took off as he was able to improve his scoring average each season. He was still finding his game in his first season averaging 7.1ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 77.3%. His game took a giant leap as a junior as he averaged 14.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 46.7%, FT: 80.0% and exploded as a senior averaging 20.2ppg, 5.5rpg, 4.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 77.3%. He was put in a super situation and was able to play his game and succeed. ‘Just the role I had and the pieces around me. My junior year could have been a really big year for us without injuries and me missing half the season’, stressed Jeremiah Hill. He demonstrated his consistency scoring in double figures in 42 of 60 games. He had some really explosive games, but a team highlight was his fondest moment there. ‘When we won the regular season my senior year. It just showed the work we done all year paid off but it’s been a while since college so the games start to get blurry’, commented Jeremiah Hill. He remembers teammate Blake Justice getting the best of him during 1-1 battles in practice and personally had some incredible games including netting 36 points and 33 points against Shorter, 35 and 33 points against Mississippi College and 33 points against W Alabama. He scored 20 points or more 16 times. He racked in achievements like All-GSC Player of the Year -2017, All-GSC 1st Team -2017, Reese’s NCAA D2 All-Star Game -2017, NABC NCAA D2 All-South District 2nd Team -2017, and NABC NCAA D2 All-America Team -2017.
The Georgia native who names Beau Justice, Josh Lemons, Askar Maydekin, Braian Angola and Mareks Meijers as his 5 best teammates of all-time turned professional in 2017, but didn’t make it overseas right away. Instead he had to pay his dues playing semi-pro ball with the Jacksonville Giants (ABA). The amount of division 2 players overseas is minimal, but usually guys that had MVP seasons will make it overseas sooner or later. Despite having to test the ABA waters, it was an experience that he won’t forget. ‘I won’t really get into much about my representation at the time but I had great friends in Jacksonville that really changed the way I played basketball so it was more beneficial than anyone probably could believe’, warned Jeremiah Hill. Instead of going overseas in 2018, he opted to stay at home and get further seasoning and grooming in the G-League with the Lakeland Magic. He was lucky to have come into a positive situation where there was obviously a lot of competitive spirit, but at the end of the day had teammates that cared for each other. ‘The experience was not like any other team I think in a long time. We had a group of guys who didn’t care about who was successful because that would make us all winners. It does have its difficulties but at the time I was just trying to advance my career forward. It did take a while to get the confidence to believe I could play with them but after that it’s just the same game I had always played’, remembered Jeremiah Hill. In 46 games he averaged 6.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 73.1%. His finest scoring performance was netting 30 points in a 130-101 win over Maine as he was the best man on the floor drilling home 8 three’s. ‘The best part of that game was how genuinely happy everyone was for me. If you watch the game back and look at the bench it showed what kind of team we really had. A lot of it had to do with my position coach breaking film down about shots I need to be taking and then coach allowing me to play’, stated Jeremiah Hill. Guards are as present in the basketball world as flies are on earth in steamy areas like Texas in summer. There are so many talented guys in Europe that could play in the NBA now, but don’t because of limited roster spots. But at the end of the day, the guards in Europe are getting by very well and understand that there is a lot of financial reward overseas. ‘I had a great time and would do it all over again if I had to choose. There are millions of guards in the world trying to do the same thing so it’s about luck and timing really of getting the chance. For a lot of guys it’s much better to be the main player making a lot of money in Europe rather than being a back up or sometimes even third string’, warned Jeremiah Hill.
The ex NCAA 2 player who has Jordan, Lebron, Kobe and Steph Curry on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore finally made the trek to Europe in 2019 joining BK Astana (Kazakhstan-National League) after playing NBA Summer League with the Orlando Magic averaging 8.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 5.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 34.8%, 3PT: 33.3% where he played two seasons .He didn’t need any adjustment time putting up magnificent stats in both competitions in his first overseas gig and in the VTB averaged 12.5ppg, 3.7rpg, Assists-3 (6.0apg), Steals-3 (1.4spg), FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 86.1% and in his second season VTB season averaged 15.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 78.8%. He helped the club win the cup in his first season and the league title in his second season. Especially the team in his first season was extra ordinary being able to overcome adversary at the start of Covid. ‘That team was special because of the bonds we built. Both me and Malcolm Hill took the time to get to understand the guys and ways to be able to push them to be better confidently. Then the addition of Thompson helped because he was almost the same mind as me and we were able to play well together’, expressed Jeremiah Hill. It was during these two years that he was confronted with Covid that effected the whole world. It wasn’t always easy, but he had to cope with it just like everyone else. ‘I was there as it really hit the sports world and initially we thought it was all going to pass or at least that it wouldn’t be a problem to play without fans. Honestly the worst part was realizing how serious it was and having to be all the way across the world without my family. The only thing we did was play video games and wait. Truthfully it has not really changed my perspective on much other than being grateful of the time you have with people you may not get to see again’, stressed Jeremaih Hill. He showed his true colors in the VTB league a top league in Europe scoring in double figures in 23 of 42 games. He had some real explosive games hitting Enea Zastal for 30 and 26 points, scored 26 points against N.Novgorod and produced 24 points against Khimky. In his first season he had solid games against Euroleague powerhouse team CSKA Moscow scoring 12p/6a and 14p/7a. In both games he battled against ex NBA and current top Euroleague player Mike James who combined for 50 points including 27 points in 19 minutes in the second game. ‘He is a warrior but it all comes back to his work ethic in the off season. He works out so hard to be able to do the things he does and it just shows undersized guards can still be very successful in the higher leagues of basketball. After he was not an opponent anymore then you have a different eye when watching him play but at the time I was just trying to figure out how to slow him down’, remembered Jeremiah Hill.
This season he is suiting up for Parma Basket Perm once again showing his class in the VTB. The club is holding their own in the very competitive VTB league fighting for a playoff spot and reached the next round of the Fiba Europe Cup. After proving he is a top point guard in the VTB, I would expected him to move up possibly finding a Eurocup team. ‘Yeah you could say that, I wouldn’t say at this point in my career it is as difficult to get jobs as making the right decisions to continue to push forward. It’s all a part of a plan so I won’t speculate what could have been or things like that’, stressed Jeremiah Hill. He is on a team that is comprised of six different nationalities and he is the only American on the team something that is rarely seen at the higher levels. He actually hasn’t profited with IQ, but in another area. ‘It’s not been an issue really only thing probably would just be fitting in the team that had so many guys returning. The part that is helping is that most of them are much older so they have little nuggets here and there. Experience is the biggest teacher so just playing more so I will be able to learn more each season’, stated Jeremiah Hill. His game has really profited from veteran guard Adas Juskevicius who is playing his 13th season at a high level and has witnessed Euroleague and Eurocup. ‘Adas is a great person and we get along great on and off the court but it helps to have someone off the ball capable of creating and having a different approach of attack’, said Jeremiah Hill. Most people compare his game to Steph Curry as he is having another solid season in the VTB scoring and dishing out assists while shooting above 40% from the parking lot. His IQ is his biggest strength which has allowed him to play with anyone, but he also knows he has to prove to others that he can compete at both ends of the court. ‘Defense has been the biggest focus of this year to try and show that I may not be the best defender but that I am a capable one’, warned Jeremiah Hill. His work ethic and heart is absolutely huge mainly because he never had it easy having to prove his worth before coming overseas. It is obvious that getting up the basketball ladder isn’t always a swift encounter, but he is getting more and more known each season. ‘I believe that people are noticing that I am more than capable of playing through all levels. The chip is not as much of a problem as it used to be because I’ve already proven myself so not many people look at it as a downfall anymore. It always will have changed my work ethic because of how hard the initial door was to break down’, warned Jeremiah Hill. If he will be another Hill to reach the NBA is unknown now, but Malcolm Hill is a great role model and example of what can happen if the work ethic is there, because he needed some grooming time before making his dream come true. Jeremiah Hill has the work ethic and heart and now just needs luck and timing to continue to reach his goals.