Earlier this week, we covered in our scouting profiles Dakari Johnson, a Center headed to Kentucky. Johnson was born in NY and played his high school basketball at Montverde Prep School in Florida. On his team was another New York born baller who was destined to become a top recruit in the class of 2013.
Committed to Florida, Kasey Hill is one of the most exciting recruits arriving in the NCAA next season. Born in the Bronx, Hill follows in the foot steps of other flashy New York point guards to gain a high profile in high school like Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair.
The one two punch of Johnson and Hill was a dangerous force in high school but when it came time to make pick where they would play in college, the two players chose separate schools and new teammates. With Johnson headed to Kentucky and Hill to Florida, the former teammates may soon become rivals in the competitive SEC conference.
Here is a highlight video of Hill in high school.
Possibly the fastest athlete in the 2013 recruiting class, Hill is just a blaze with the ball in his hands. As well, he is just as quick without the ball and is able to play possessions without controlling it if need be. His speed makes him an absolute monster in transition where he can often act as a one man fast break. If Hill pulls down a defensive rebound, the opposing team better be quick at getting back on defense because Hill will push the ball at breakneck speed without getting tired. That kind of speed is great for a point guard because it is up to him to set the tempo for his team and if he is always running, his teammates will be too.
As a point guard, he does his job well. He has excellent vision and sees passing lanes about as well as any point guard in the nation. If he has a man with him on the fast break, it is almost an automatic assist every time down the court. Hill is also unselfish and a great leader, willing to sacrifice his own numbers at times to better his teammates.
With the ball in his hands, Hill can basically go where he wants to with his dribbling skills. He is very flashy and loves to entertain the crowd but he is also secure with the ball. Combined with his great athleticism, it makes Hill a threat to attack and finish at the rim every offensive possession. That type of skill also makes him a potentially lethal threat when put in the pick and roll, coming off the pick, any time the big man is forced to switch onto Hill, it probably won’t end well for him.
His long arms and speed allow him to be a very good on ball defender. When asked, he is capable of picking up his man early in the front court and apply pressure all the way down the court. Hill is also able to play the passing lanes with the best of them so opposing guards have to be careful when throwing passes his way.
Though he is a fantastic athlete, Hill has not been gifted with great height. He is only of average height for a point guard and that might hurt him going up against bigger and stronger players in the NCAA. That can be remedied by spending some time lifting weights and adding some bulk to his frame. It is important that Hill be careful not to add too much though as he does not want to lose his explosiveness.
As mentioned above, Hill is terrific in transition. He does however have some work to do when it comes to the half court game. Hill’s decision making could stand to be improved as he tends to try for the hard plays at times looking for the highlight reel when the easier, if less flashy, play is available. He will need to take the time to learn the offensive playbook at Florida inside and out and become comfortable with calling out plays and running a set offense. In high school, he is able to break plays and create his own chances with his skills but in the NCAA, that will be much harder to do and with a coach like Billy Donovan, it will lead to Hill getting benched.
While his shooting form looks good, he will need to become more consistent with his outside shot. If defenders realize that Hill struggles to continually make shots outside of the paint, they will sag off of him and make his life difficult. The best way to fix that is to not let it happen by making your shots. Repetitions in practice is all that is needed to fix such a problem so hopefully he is committed to continually improving his game.
What to expect at Florida:
With their starting guard Kenny Boynton graduating last season, Hill will come into his freshman season as the expected starter for the Gators. Donovan is a demanding head coach but an excellent one. Provided that Hill commits himself to the program, Donovan will make Hill better almost instantly.
Playing point guard at the NCAA level is hard. Often times, the offense will run entirely through you and if things go south, you will take the blame for it. Hill is a tough player and he knows what sort of expectations will be placed on him. He will have some bad outings here and there but I expect Hill to have a largely successful freshman season. His speed and play making abilities will shine through and he will be an exciting player to see on the court, any time he has the ball in his hands, he has the skills to make something exciting happen.
The hope for Hill is that he continues to improve his jumper, learns how to control a half court offense efficiently and keeps putting in the effort on defense. His potential is high and he has a chance to become a player similar to Tony Parker, a guard who scores most of his points in the paint using his shifty moves and his speed. It remains to be seen if Hill can reach such lofty heights but it will be fun to keep tabs on him and find out.