Amazingly, it has all fit the Indiana Pacer rookie perfectly so far.
“Indianapolis is a real chill city,” Hill said.
That would be West-coast speak for “I’m glad to be here.”
The Los Angeles native has spent the past four years in Tucson, Ariz. starring for the University of Arizona, which he said has made the transition to the Midwest a bit easier.
“I have the same feeling (here) as I did in Tucson,” Hill said. “It is family oriented. It’s not too crazy and you really never run into traffic.”
Hill spent Friday hanging with his former college coach, new Ball State men’s basketball coach James Whitford, at the Crossroads Challenge youth tournament at The Fieldhouse. He’s been able to relax of late, not just because he’s getting comfortable in this city, but because of how comfortable he’s getting on the basketball court at the professional level.
Hill is coming off a solid performance in the Orlando Summer League, where he quieted critics who were questioning his selection by the team with their first round pick.
“I was a bit nervous at first,” Hill said. “So I went out there and tried to show everybody different things. I feel like I came into my own and I got very comfortable on the floor.”
Hill played nearly 29 minutes per game for Indiana and finished the five-game stint with a 12 point scoring average and grabbed over five rebounds per outing. The 6-foot-7 wing also passed out almost three assists per game, while showing the ability to play both inside and out.
“I worked on some perimeter things and getting used to the NBA 3-point line,” Hill said. “I wanted to be out on the wing and guarding a wing. But I definitely think that I can get in there and mix it up inside.”
His comfort level grew with each passing day on the court in Orlando, and it is doing the same in his life as he figures out the peculiarities of the Midwest.
“When you want to go somewhere,” Hill explained, “you look at the map, get the directions, and (in Indianapolis) it takes exactly that amount of time. You don’t have to leave two hours before like you do in (Los Angeles).”
Another twist to his life is that he is living in downtown Indianapolis. In Tucson he lived on campus, while in Los Angeles, it has a downtown (sort of), but Southern California is mostly spread out over hundreds of miles.
“I get the downtown feel and I’ve never really been in a downtown environment,” Hill said. “(Los Angeles) really doesn’t have that.”
He is spending his time this summer doing community work on behalf of the Pacers (he recently helped put on a series of youth camps sponsored by the team) and preparing for the upcoming season, which he knows will be much more challenging than the summer league proved to be.
“The majority of the guys in the summer league were guys that I had played against in college,” Hill said. “I still have to get to training camp, where I’ll have to play against Roy Hibbert, Paul George… NBA All-Star-caliber players. It’s going to be a whole other level in training camp.”