Ahmed Hill is third on Georgia high school basketball's all time scoring list. But he never seemed to force things offensively, always finding opportunities within the rhythm of Aquinas' offense. He even spent much of his senior season facilitating for teammates, playing the role of point guard when the Irish were suddenly left without one. A level headed student of the game, Ahmed never took plays off and always impressed me with his intangible qualities (effort, communication, and general leadership) almost as much as his physical gifts.
These qualities have served him well during his first month of major college basketball, as he is looking like a long term 30+ minute per game player for the rebuilding Virginia Tech Hokies of the ACC. Going from shooting frequently and initiating most of his team's offense in high schoo to taking 5-10 shots each game seems to be a transition Hill has no problem executing. Since the preseason his coach and teammates have praised his work ethic and attitude. Channelling the size and agility his 6'4" frame brings to relentless defensive pressure, rebounding, and selectively attacking on the offensive end, Ahmed is proving to be a player coach Buzz Williams can't help but keep on the court.
Hill was assigned one of the country's leading scorers, D.J. Newbill, in a recent narrow loss to Penn State in the ACC-Big East Challenge on ESPN. Playing as one of four guards in the Hokies' perimeter oriented attack, Hill grabbed a team high 10 rebounds and barely missed a long three at the buzzer to tie the game.
I don't mean to say Hill is not involved in the offense. He is averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds per game, he is shooting 40% from three point land, and he has scored 9 or more points in 4 of his first 8 games. More than anything, I am happy for Ahmed, a young man of rock solid character, for finding such a great fit so early in his college basketball playing days. Because he is this entrenched in the Hokies' rotation this early, and because he has made himself valuable without scoring in bunches, I think it is only a matter of time before he starts scorching the nets from deep, making his mid range jump shots, and regularly getting to the foul line. He is in what may prove to be a perfect position for an incoming freshman. He is one of 3 freshmen in the current starting lineup, playing for a coach who hand picked him and who is beginning from scratch with his new team.
I predict Ahmed will keep hustling, defending, rebounding, selectively picking his scoring spots, and most importantly, playing heavy minutes. And when all this experience he's gaining gives him the confidence and comfort level to let it fly, he probably won't score as many major college buckets as he did in high school. But he will make more than his fair share.
***Here are some posts from the past about Hill and his former Southern Stampede AAU teammates***
Nov 20, 2014
Nov 12, 2012
Dec 9, 2012
July 19, 2012