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houstondukie
02-02-2010, 08:00 PM
I never saw Thomas Hill play, but all Duke fans should at least know he is the player crying with his arms behind his head after Laettner hits his famous shot against Kentucky. I'm trying to get an impression of the kind of player he was from those who remember watching him the best. What memories do you have?

I've started a few of these threads (Ricky Price, Alaa Abdelnaby, Roshown McLeod) and always appreciate the insight. I think its important as Duke fans to appreciate some of the past Duke players who have given us such great memories, particurlarly guys who we rarely talk about or are underrated/underappreciated.

roywhite
02-02-2010, 08:16 PM
I never saw Thomas Hill play, but all Duke fans should at least know he is the player crying with his arms behind his head after Laettner hits his famous shot against Kentucky. I'm trying to get an impression of the kind of player he was from those who remember watching him the best. What memories do you have?

I've started a few of these threads (Ricky Price, Alaa Abdelnaby, Roshown McLeod) and always appreciate the insight. I think its important as Duke fans to appreciate some of the past Duke players who have given us such great memories, particurlarly guys who we rarely talk about or are underrated/underappreciated.

Thomas Hill was an excellent player who was a key part of championship teams at Duke.

From Texas, he was not the most high profile recruit. His father was an Olympic hurdler that Coach K knew from his West Point days. The story is that when Coach K called Thomas and introduced himself, young Mr. Hill thought it was a phone prank, that Duke and Coach K would not have any interest in him. But Coach K knew that athletic ability and high character ran in the family, and wanted to have Thomas come to Duke. Hill came in with Hurley and Billy McCaffrey, who were both much more heralded recruits.

Thomas was a lefty with somewhat of an outside game, but he really excelled on defense and on slashing to the basket. With Hurley running the break and guys like Tony Lang, Grant Hill, Brian Davis, and Thomas Hill filling the lanes, Duke was awfully hard to defend. Thomas could finish effectively with either a dunk or an acrobatic layup. The trailer on those plays was Christian Laettner, who often ended up with a clear 3-point shot from the top of the key (teams could not defend everybody). Talk about potent offense.

Thomas developed quickly at Duke and appeared headed for the NBA. His senior year (1993) was a bit of a disappointment; his shooting percentage dropped off, and he wasn't able to move from a very good player to the star level.

Overall, a good player and a good guy.

Inonehand
02-02-2010, 08:19 PM
T Hill was exactly the kind of player we are missing on this team...a role player capable of dropping 20+ on a given night when needed but was going to bring it defensively EVERY night. He was a really good athlete with a pretty shot too. Really no holes in his game...he just wasn't a superstar. He also was one of the most likeable Duke players...smile the size of Cameron. And a sweet Kid n' Play hi top fade. Better than G Hill's all day long.

houstondukie
02-02-2010, 08:21 PM
Thomas Hill was an excellent player who was a key part of championship teams at Duke.

From Texas, he was not the most high profile recruit. His father was an Olympic hurdler that Coach K knew from his West Point days. The story is that when Coach K called Thomas and introduced himself, young Mr. Hill thought it was a phone prank, that Duke and Coach K would not have any interest in him. But Coach K knew that athletic ability and high character ran in the family, and wanted to have Thomas come to Duke. Hill came in with Hurley and Billy McCaffrey, definitely the least heralded of the three.

Thomas was a lefty with somewhat of an outside game, but he really excelled on defense and on slashing to the basket. With Hurley running the break and guys like Tony Lang, Grant Hill, Brian Davis, and Thomas Hill filling the lanes, Duke was awfully hard to defend. Thomas could finish effectively with either a dunk or an acrobatic layup. The trailer on those plays was Christian Laettner, who often ended up with a clear 3-point shot from the top of the key (teams could not defend everybody). Talk about potent offense.

Thomas developed quickly at Duke and appeared headed for the NBA. His senior year (1993) was a bit of a disappointment; his shooting percentage dropped off, and he wasn't able to move from a very good player to the star level.

Overall, a good player and a good guy.

Is there a more-recent Duke player that reminds you of Thomas Hill? Trying to get an idea of who he compares to.

roywhite
02-02-2010, 08:26 PM
Is there a more-recent Duke player that reminds you of Thomas Hill? Trying to get an idea of who he compares to.

Not really any current or recent player I can think of. The JuCo kid that Duke has some interest in, Carrick Felix, may be somewhat similar. Very good athlete, tough, strong.

natedog4ever
02-02-2010, 08:29 PM
One of the most memorable stories about him was from his freshman year, I think, at UNC. Duke was losing badly and he came out of the game basically hyperventilating, unable to breathe. He was asking over and over "why am I so tired?" - it was because he was giving every last bit of effort he had, literally to the point of collapse. I've heard Coach K relate that one, although I'm sure someone else can fill in more details.

CameronBornAndBred
02-02-2010, 08:34 PM
6 words.
Thomas Hill was a glue guy.
He wasn't the best, the flashiest or the guy who always had the camera in his faces...but he was always there doing what we needed. The recent name I could toss out as a good comparison would be Dave McClure. T. Hill produced offensively more than McClure..but Dave could have put up the numbers if he chose to. But the value of both outside of scoring can't be measured.

riverside6
02-02-2010, 08:35 PM
Thomas Hill's career stats (http://www.scacchoops.com/tt_archived_player_page.asp?hArchivedHeader=874)

Our comparable players tool is always fun way of finding out what kind of a player someone was. For Thomas Hill it shows the following comps (http://www.scacchoops.com/tt_archived_player_page.asp?nologin=1&hArchivedHeader=874&comparableplayers=-1)...

Jawad Williams
Wayne Ellington
Michael Jordan
Rashad McCants
Marvin Lewis
Richard Morgan
Mel Kennedy
BJ Elder
Daniel Ewing

The fact is Thomas was a little bit of all of those players. A slasher in the truest sense of the word. He actually had a pretty decent little post up game for a guard as well.

allenmurray
02-02-2010, 08:39 PM
6 words.
Thomas Hill was a glue guy.
He wasn't the best, the flashiest or the guy who always had the camera in his faces...but he was always there doing what we needed. The recent name I could toss out as a good comparison would be Dave McClure. T. Hill produced offensively more than McClure..but Dave could have put up the numbers if he chose to. But the value of both outside of scoring can't be measured.

Bingo - in terms of heart and work ethic T. Hill and McClure could be twins.

robed deity
02-02-2010, 08:42 PM
T Hill wasn't a superstar, but could just about do everything on the basketball court. He played stellar d and gave maximum effort all the time. On offense, he had a decent shot and could also mix it up down low . One of my favorite moves of his was his jumpstop. He was really athletic, and seemed to launch about 10 feet. Really pretty to watch.

One of those quintessential bad*** Duke players that could do a little of everything.

Son of Mojo
02-02-2010, 08:43 PM
He was one of my favs who was undervalued and underappreciated by a lot of fans. Had a good mid-range jumper and could step out to hit a three when needed. Really solid defender, not a great FT shooter, but he could FINISH at the rim when it was needed. I've wished for a while that we'd have a few more left-handers on the team.

jgehtland
02-02-2010, 08:45 PM
Thomas was smooooooooth. The lefty from Texas. He has an amazing pull-up 15 footer, and was deceptively strong on the boards. You look at him, he looks like you could push him over with a feather, but I remember him getting some wicked rebounds in traffic. Then going up lefty and watching guys forget which hand he shot with and try to block the right.

Thomas wasn't the best ball handler, but he would run the break on broken plays just fine and nobody would yell "PASS!". Not the best dunker on the team by far, but he got his fair share. Totally overshadowed by that OTHER Hill on the team, unfortunately for him.

Probably my age talking, but he was one of the best 2/3 combos in my fan history with Duke.

Verga3
02-02-2010, 08:50 PM
Thomas Hill was an excellent player who was a key part of championship teams at Duke.

From Texas, he was not the most high profile recruit. His father was an Olympic hurdler that Coach K knew from his West Point days. The story is that when Coach K called Thomas and introduced himself, young Mr. Hill thought it was a phone prank, that Duke and Coach K would not have any interest in him. But Coach K knew that athletic ability and high character ran in the family, and wanted to have Thomas come to Duke. Hill came in with Hurley and Billy McCaffrey, who were both much more heralded recruits.

Thomas was a lefty with somewhat of an outside game, but he really excelled on defense and on slashing to the basket. With Hurley running the break and guys like Tony Lang, Grant Hill, Brian Davis, and Thomas Hill filling the lanes, Duke was awfully hard to defend. Thomas could finish effectively with either a dunk or an acrobatic layup. The trailer on those plays was Christian Laettner, who often ended up with a clear 3-point shot from the top of the key (teams could not defend everybody). Talk about potent offense.

Thomas developed quickly at Duke and appeared headed for the NBA. His senior year (1993) was a bit of a disappointment; his shooting percentage dropped off, and he wasn't able to move from a very good player to the star level.

Overall, a good player and a good guy.

Great post and capture of Thomas. High character guy with game....and springs for legs. Any team would be lucky to have him as a teammate.

Grey Devil
02-02-2010, 09:03 PM
Thomas was a very good athlete in his own right, but I think he was just overshadowed by so many other strong athletes (and personalities!) on those teams. To me he always seemed to be steady and not as emotional as Hurley, Laettner, or Davis. That show of emotion after the Laettner shot was extraordinary for him, I think.

I, too, really liked Thomas.

uncwdevil
02-02-2010, 09:15 PM
Bingo - in terms of heart and work ethic T. Hill and McClure could be twins.

Yes, but T-Hill was a lot bigger offensive factor.

http://goduke.statsgeek.com/basketball-m/players/statlines.php?playerid=182

He scored 20+ 16 times and averaged 15 per game his last two years.

His offensive production was similar to Dahntay or Ewing.

Deslok
02-02-2010, 09:28 PM
I remember a discussion I had during my time at Duke(which overlapped with Thomas Hill's time) that he was in fact, probably our best post up player on the national championship teams. Laettner could get in the post, but his real strength was facing up and taking a big man outside or off the dribble. Hill could take a 2G down low, and just execute a quick little turn around jumper, where he'd shoot right over the defender. He wasn't the most accurate shooter - had he been he would have become a dominant player - but you always knew he could get his shot off.

TallMan
02-02-2010, 09:35 PM
Here's a short Thomas Hill highlight video from Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOP5dGBx7Yk

sweetchiba51
02-02-2010, 09:52 PM
What kind of player was Thomas Hill? If he were on this years team, he would be our best player! Duke has lacked a player like him for a long time....oh man I miss those teams!

Mcluhan
02-02-2010, 09:57 PM
His offensive production was similar to Dahntay or Ewing.

Basically, yes. And when Dahntay or Ewing is the fourth best player on a college team, you are winning multiple championships.

sagegrouse
02-02-2010, 10:50 PM
One thing I do remember about those days (or misremember, perhaps, depending on the recollection of others) is that the team had three players who were either first or second academically in their high school senior class. Thomas Hill, Bobby Hurley, and -- I believe -- Antonio Lang. I have also seen Grant Hill on the list instead of Antonio, but I don't think Grant topped his class at the large and competitive South Lakes High in Reston VA.

sagegrouse

CameronBornAndBred
02-02-2010, 11:02 PM
One thing I do remember about those days (or misremember, perhaps, depending on the recollection of others) is that the team had three players who were either first or second academically in their high school senior class. Thomas Hill, Bobby Hurley, and -- I believe -- Antonio Lang. I have also seen Grant Hill on the list instead of Antonio, but I don't think Grant topped his class at the large and competitive South Lakes High in Reston VA.

sagegrouse
Really? If true, that's awesome. And Antonio was my generation's Lance.

Duvall
02-02-2010, 11:04 PM
Basically, yes. And when Dahntay or Ewing is the fourth best player on a college team, you are winning multiple championships.

But Dahntay was the fourth best player on a college team...

Mcluhan
02-02-2010, 11:38 PM
But Dahntay was the fourth best player on a college team...

Touchè. My point still stands! :D

devildownunder
02-03-2010, 12:20 AM
Thomas Hill was the kind of player Coach K, and most observers, envision when they talk about Duke recruiting and playing basketball players and not positions. He was long, strong, extremely athletic and very versatile at both ends of the court. Having a guy like this who was such a great defender and could give you at least 10 a night, operating inside and out -- plus a lefty at that -- was a huge boon for K strategically.

I can't really think of anyone in recent years who was similar. K used to have lots of those kinds of guys, though: Davis, Brickey (though Brickey didn't bring much O), Lang to some extent. Henderson. All of those guys provided a lot of options at both ends, rather than being specialists. It made Duke very tough to handle and was ideal for tournament time, when being able to adapt to many different opponents one after the other is critical.

Indoor66
02-03-2010, 06:53 AM
6 words.
Thomas Hill was a glue guy.
He wasn't the best, the flashiest or the guy who always had the camera in his faces...but he was always there doing what we needed. The recent name I could toss out as a good comparison would be Dave McClure. T. Hill produced offensively more than McClure..but Dave could have put up the numbers if he chose to. But the value of both outside of scoring can't be measured.

I never feared for the moment when T Hill had the ball in his hands. He tended to do good things.

MChambers
02-03-2010, 06:55 AM
I remember in 1991, in the NCAA tournament, one of the announcers, perhaps Billy Cunningham, noted that every time Thomas Hill got the ball on the fast break he managed to score. He was an excellent finisher, with amazing leaping ability and strength. He also was a very good shot blocker for his size. He managed to become a good outside shooter.

I'm pretty certain that he was recruited by Kansas as well as Duke.

I'd say the most similar players in recent years are Jones, Nelson, and Henderson.

jdj4duke
02-03-2010, 07:44 AM
Where is T. Hill now? There are lots of players, especially going back through the early K era, who were solid citizens ("Onion" Smith, Kevin Strickland) and I often wonder what they did after leaving Duke. Alumni records can get pretty sparse but if there are any updates to be had I figure they will be available through DBR.

davekay1971
02-03-2010, 07:51 AM
T - U Da Man!

That sign, hanging from a central campus apartment after T broke out in particularly spectacular fashion is what stands out most in my mind about Thomas Hill's time at Duke.

He was a great player for Duke. He played very respectable defense, was a capable 3 point shooter, could drive and create well. Teams had to respect his offense, but with Laettner, Hurley, and G Hill to worry about, Thomas Hill frequently was able to get good looks at the basket. With those NBA talents on the floor, his contributions are often overlooked. But he was yet another Duke player with skills that would have made him another team's number 1 or 2 option, but who played within his role at Duke and made our team so much better as a result.

While at Duke, I met and talked with T a couple times, and he was a great guy. You had to love him, because on the court he was a guy who came, did his job well, didn't expect to be the star, but could give you a highlight reel performance on any given night. Off the court, he was just a really nice, cool guy.

hurleyfor3
02-03-2010, 07:57 AM
He pretty much did everything that was asked of him.

Was the #1 3-point option on the '92 team (the previous year it was Billy McCaffrey). Perhaps surprisingly, that team didn't have a dedicated perimeter shooter -- T took some, Hurley shot a lot when he was open of course, Laettner developed the outside shot during the year, even Grant took a few. Threes were everyone's job. K didn't really develop the concept of a go-to three-point guy until Trajan.

Committed the infamous lane violation near the end of the '91 Unlv game. If we had lost, everyone would have said it was his fault. He wouldn't have deserved that fate. Phew.

Uniform read "T. Hill" his freshman year even though he was the only Hill on the team. Grant had committed early on. Also wore #25 that year, before Art Heyman's number was retired.

gvtucker
02-03-2010, 08:03 AM
One thing I do remember about those days (or misremember, perhaps, depending on the recollection of others) is that the team had three players who were either first or second academically in their high school senior class. Thomas Hill, Bobby Hurley, and -- I believe -- Antonio Lang. I have also seen Grant Hill on the list instead of Antonio, but I don't think Grant topped his class at the large and competitive South Lakes High in Reston VA.

sagegrouse

Tony Lang was his high school class' valedictorian. Really smart guy.

I am pretty sure that Bobby Hurley was not #1 or #2 in his class. I don't think he was close to that. But I'm not 100% confident about that.

CDu
02-03-2010, 08:26 AM
6 words.
Thomas Hill was a glue guy.
He wasn't the best, the flashiest or the guy who always had the camera in his faces...but he was always there doing what we needed. The recent name I could toss out as a good comparison would be Dave McClure. T. Hill produced offensively more than McClure..but Dave could have put up the numbers if he chose to. But the value of both outside of scoring can't be measured.

I think this statement is a disservice to Thomas Hill. Hill was a vastly superior offensive player to McClure. Remember: McClure played on some teams that could have used another scorer or two, so I don't think it's correct to say he could have put up Hill's numbers if he had simply chosen to do so. Hill was a pretty talented offensive player - McClure was a pretty limited offensive player. The two played very different roles, however. Hill was the second- or third-leading scorer on two national championship teams and the third-leading scorer (behind only Hurley and Grant Hill) as a senior.

As far as the other aspects, I agree that Hill and McClure had some similarities. Hill was a good defender, good teammate. And I agree with the descriptions of his game as very smooth. He was also really athletic, and was a very good shooter from many spots on the floor. He's sort of overlooked because of Hurley and Laettner and because Grant Hill had such a great end to his freshman year that he overtook him, but he was a huge part of those championship teams (on both ends of the floor).

CDu
02-03-2010, 08:29 AM
Where is T. Hill now? There are lots of players, especially going back through the early K era, who were solid citizens ("Onion" Smith, Kevin Strickland) and I often wonder what they did after leaving Duke. Alumni records can get pretty sparse but if there are any updates to be had I figure they will be available through DBR.

Pretty sure he was back playing pickup games this past summer with some of the current players and alumni. I think there were some DBR pics. Sadly, he looks like he's, umm, put on a few pounds since his playing days. Of course, I guess unless you're a professional athlete, it's hard to avoid such a thing after 15-20 years.

gvtucker
02-03-2010, 08:59 AM
I think this statement is a disservice to Thomas Hill. Hill was a vastly superior offensive player to McClure. Remember: McClure played on some teams that could have used another scorer or two, so I don't think it's correct to say he could have put up Hill's numbers if he had simply chosen to do so. Hill was a pretty talented offensive player - McClure was a pretty limited offensive player. The two played very different roles, however. Hill was the second- or third-leading scorer on two national championship teams and the third-leading scorer (behind only Hurley and Grant Hill) as a senior.

Indeed. T Hill is a much closer parallel to Daniel Ewing than he was to McClure. Ewing was probably a better outside shooter than Hill, maybe a better ball handler. Maybe. Hill was superior at most other facets. T Hill was particularly strong at the mid range jumper, that dying art.

I don't think it has been mentioned yet, but T Hill was drafted by the Pacers in the 2nd round of the NBA draft. The NBA draft wasn't even on McClure's radar.

mr. synellinden
02-03-2010, 09:19 AM
A couple of thoughts/memories about Thomas.

I recall that when Grant Hill committed to Duke, Thomas's jersey got a T. added to it. The anticipation of G. Hill coming to Duke was so great that seeing that T. on the jersey was so exciting. (I do think there were a few games where his jersey only said Hill and the T. got added early in the season.)

I think it was his sophomore year when one of the crazies broke out a huge Texas state flag with the words "Don't Mess With Thomas" on it. It was simply perfect.

In 1991, Thomas posted up on the last possession against Ga. Tech and hit a somewhat off balance, twisting turnaround bank shot as time expired to win the game.

His unbelievable, rising like he's in an elevator block of Robert Werdann in the 1991 Regional Final against St. John's.

His career trajectory suggested an All-ACC caliber senior season in 1993, but it didn't turn out that way. It would be fair to characterize the disappointment in his senior season as being similar to Singler's junior season so far (although T. Hill was not projected as ACC POY or a potentiall AA.)

MChambers
02-03-2010, 09:23 AM
I agree that Ewing is closer than McClure. Ewing was a far better ball handler and passer, and a little quicker. Hill was a lot stronger and a better leaper.

CDu
02-03-2010, 09:23 AM
Indeed. T Hill is a much closer parallel to Daniel Ewing than he was to McClure. Ewing was probably a better outside shooter than Hill, maybe a better ball handler. Maybe. Hill was superior at most other facets. T Hill was particularly strong at the mid range jumper, that dying art.

I don't think it has been mentioned yet, but T Hill was drafted by the Pacers in the 2nd round of the NBA draft. The NBA draft wasn't even on McClure's radar.

Yeah, I think that Daniel Ewing is a much better comp to Hill style-wise. Both were pretty good (but not dead-eye) shooters (Ewing a 39.2% 3pt and 74.6% ft shooter; Hill at 38.6% and 72.0%). Both were capable of scoring off the dribble or as a spotup shooter, and both averaged double-digits.

Hill was a little bigger than Ewing and stuck his nose in for rebounds a bit more, while Ewing was a bit quicker and handled the ball a little more (at least as a senior - they played very similar roles their first three years). It's not a perfect comp (there rarely is a perfect comp), but that's a better one I think.

gumbomoop
02-03-2010, 09:25 AM
T Hill was particularly strong at the mid range jumper, that dying art.

Alas, dying. TH's stop-pull-up jumper was maybe G-like: not quite as smooth, not quite the fluid hang-time, but still some smooth hang, soft lefty shot, lots of swish. A beautiful sight; thanks for the memories.

Strong defender, offensive rebounder, fast-break runner-jammer, versatility +. IIRC, his class was 3 guards: Hurley, McCaffrey, THill. And TH "stole" lots of minutes from the higher "ranked" McCaffrey because TH was multiple-assets guy.

miramar
02-03-2010, 10:50 AM
As far as I can recall, Thomas Hill is the player who most exceeded expectations at Duke. Some guys do a bit better than expected, some do about as well as you thought, and a lot more underperform.

Coming from a small town in Texas, I don't think anyone would have expected him to be the kind of player he was. He even ended up taking Billy McCaffrey's starting spot, and McCaffrey was a McDonald's AA who scored 20 PPG after he transferred to Vandy and was SEC co-player of the year his senior year. Hill was that good.

RockyMtDevil
02-03-2010, 10:59 AM
I grew up with Thomas in Jonesboro, AR prior to his high school move to Texas. He was a classy kid coming from a great family. I remember racing him in elementary school at the class race, um, he won big time.

I also remember playing pick up ball at his neighbors house and Thomas was the only one that could dunk, I believe this was like 7-8 grade. I ran into him at Duke way after his playing time, he was playing pick-up with Laettner and the gang, he actually remembered me and stopped and chatted with me. He is a great person.

He had a sweet mid-range jumper and in fact, the player that reminded me most of Thomas was another Texan, Daniel Ewing. Thomas was a better raw athlete than Ewing, he could jump out of the gym. I believe Thomas scored roughly 1,500 points in his career, nothing to sneeze at.

I will always appreciate Thomas because he is the reason I became a Duke fan.

trinity92
02-03-2010, 11:12 AM
Yeah, I think that Daniel Ewing is a much better comp to Hill style-wise. Both were pretty good (but not dead-eye) shooters (Ewing a 39.2% 3pt and 74.6% ft shooter; Hill at 38.6% and 72.0%). Both were capable of scoring off the dribble or as a spotup shooter, and both averaged double-digits.

Hill was a little bigger than Ewing and stuck his nose in for rebounds a bit more, while Ewing was a bit quicker and handled the ball a little more (at least as a senior - they played very similar roles their first three years). It's not a perfect comp (there rarely is a perfect comp), but that's a better one I think.

As my screen name suggests, I was in Cameron to see T. Hill on a fair number of occasions. He remains one of my favorite Duke players ever. Hill was willing to mix it up inside, was a good rebounder and shot blocker for his size and was way more athletic than I see him getting credit for here. He was much more than a glue guy-- he just played on some amazing teams where he couldn't be the first option. In addition, no matter what his stats say, his shooting percentage went way up when the shot counted. I think G. Henderson's game is a much more appropriate comparison than Ewing's.

As for a prior poster saying Antonio Lang was his generation's Lance Thomas, without putting Lance down, that's doing a huge disservice to Antonio. While Tony was similar to Lance in being a good rebounder and converting offensive rebounds into points, Antonio had a much more rounded game. He averaged over 30 minutes a game his senior year, contributing over 12 points per to be third leading scorer on a team that went to the title game, and is just behind Elton Brand (9th) in all-time blocked shots at duke. He actually played in the NBA too.

DukeDevilDeb
02-03-2010, 11:29 AM
... people always talked about Laettner, Hurley and G Hill. But without Thomas, I don't know that we win in 91 and 92. I loved to watch him play, and I loved seeing his face at the Kentucky game... that said it all.

If there were a Thomas Hill available that we could get, we could see good improvement almost immediately. It was skills... but it was attitude too!

MChambers
02-03-2010, 11:31 AM
He averaged over 30 minutes a game his senior year, contributing over 12 points per to be third leading scorer on a team that went to the title game, and is just behind Elton Brand (9th) in all-time blocked shots at duke. He actually played in the NBA too.

And if he had not trimmed his fingernail before the NCAA finals in 1994, he'd have one more block and another championship.

He was a very good player.

Duke79UNLV77
02-03-2010, 01:36 PM
Tony Lang was his high school class' valedictorian. Really smart guy.

I am pretty sure that Bobby Hurley was not #1 or #2 in his class. I don't think he was close to that. But I'm not 100% confident about that.

Hurley was 2nd in his high school class, or at least was at the time he committed to Duke. If ever there were a Duke player just meant to go into coaching ...

I also maintain that T. Hill was actually the best leaper on the 91-92 teams. He just wasn't as tall or skilled as G.

Georgiadevil
02-03-2010, 01:41 PM
... people always talked about Laettner, Hurley and G Hill. But without Thomas, I don't know that we win in 91 and 92. I loved to watch him play, and I loved seeing his face at the Kentucky game... that said it all.

If there were a Thomas Hill available that we could get, we could see good improvement almost immediately. It was skills... but it was attitude too!

I couldnt agree more with the statment above.Im not sure Duke is in the situiation for Laettner to make the shot against KY without the clutch shots in regulation from Thomas.I think Thomas was and still is in my mind Dukes best role player ever.He just happend to be on a roster with Laettner and Hurley ,2 all time greats.I forgot about that other Hill guy he was ok too!This is a great thread.Thomas deserved a lot more praise than he ever received during his day.

RockyMtDevil
02-03-2010, 02:07 PM
And if he had not trimmed his fingernail before the NCAA finals in 1994, he'd have one more block and another championship.

He was a very good player.


Huh, that was Tony Lang wasn't it? Thomas graduated with Hurley in 93, they went out to Cal and some guy named Kidd....

The 94 team was one of the all-time overachieving teams at Duke. They really had two players, Grant and Cherokee. The rest were role guys, not sure how that team made it all the way to the championship. It was one of K's great coaching jobs, if not his best.

House G
02-03-2010, 02:07 PM
I remember in 1991, in the NCAA tournament, one of the announcers, perhaps Billy Cunningham, noted that every time Thomas Hill got the ball on the fast break he managed to score. He was an excellent finisher, with amazing leaping ability and strength. He also was a very good shot blocker for his size. He managed to become a good outside shooter.

I'm pretty certain that he was recruited by Kansas as well as Duke.

I'd say the most similar players in recent years are Jones, Nelson, and Henderson.
His top three choices were Duke, Kansas, and DePaul.

slower
02-03-2010, 02:09 PM
What kind of player was Thomas Hill? If he were on this years team, he would be our best player!

I haven't read the rest of this thread, but your statement is a crock. IMO, of course.

MChambers
02-03-2010, 02:37 PM
Huh, that was Tony Lang wasn't it? Thomas graduated with Hurley in 93, they went out to Cal and some guy named Kidd....

The 94 team was one of the all-time overachieving teams at Duke. They really had two players, Grant and Cherokee. The rest were role guys, not sure how that team made it all the way to the championship. It was one of K's great coaching jobs, if not his best.

I think I was replying to a message about Lang, but didn't quote it.

HaveFunExpectToWin
02-03-2010, 02:58 PM
For the longest time I had a clipping of a N&O photo of T Hill rising WAY up to reject seven footer Eric Montross right at the rim. T Hill will always be one of my favorite Devils. He was a master of the jump stop.

CDu
02-03-2010, 02:59 PM
The 94 team was one of the all-time overachieving teams at Duke. They really had two players, Grant and Cherokee. The rest were role guys, not sure how that team made it all the way to the championship. It was one of K's great coaching jobs, if not his best.

It helps to have an All-NBA player in your lineup. For example, Syracuse (2003) won a championship with fairly few great players.

It also helped that we got a really good draw in a relatively down year for college basketball. Our #1 seed was Purdue, who was also a one-man show (Glenn Robinson), and the #3 seed (Kentucky) bowed out a round before us.

dukestheheat
02-03-2010, 04:56 PM
T Hill is one of my favorites of all-time at Duke! We were at Duke together, actually.

From Texas, the cry for T Hill was 'Don't Mess with Thomas!' (a take-off from Texas' 'Don't Mess with Texas' slogan).

He was very 'athletic', could dunk with ease (strong leaper), was strong to both sides of his dribble, had a good shot off of the speed dribble to stop and pop. I can still see him driving really hard to his left, full speed, and then stopping quickly to launch the jumper and swish it. He was also blessed with great speed on the court! Good passer in transition and a really good finisher for Hurley. Yes, T Hill was one of those 'special' players on Duke, truly, and I was sad when the dude left.

dukestheheat.

CrazyNotCrazie
02-03-2010, 05:53 PM
T Hill was one of my favorite players at Duke - silky smooth lefty jumper and incredible jumping ability - he took over Brickey's role as a high flyer. And I can't watch the highlights of Laettner's shot without waiting to see "the Thomas Hill face."

The popular press was that McCaffrey left first of all to become a point guard in preparation for the NBA, and secondly because T Hill was getting his minutes (since Hurley wasn't coming off the floor). Apparently he also got a bit tired of the daily physical beating he took in practice from Thomas who was much bigger and stronger than him - nothing dirty about Thomas' play, he was just using his strengths.

Dukeford
02-03-2010, 06:49 PM
No doubt, T Hill was the glue guy in 91 and 92. And I really liked watching him play.

In 1993, a book was written that detailed the Duke, UNC and NC State seasons. It alluded to chemistry problems at Duke that season, and I've seen that mentioned on this board before. I seem to recall that it hinted at Thomas' NBA aspirations perhaps contributing to those chemistry problems.

So I think he was super glue guy, but struggled his senior year as the no. 2 or 3 guy.

cbfx3
02-03-2010, 07:11 PM
Choose: the 3 S's or the 3 H's (hill hill hurley) ??

Georgiadevil
02-03-2010, 07:37 PM
The 3 H's for sure.I love the S's ,the H's were just all time great!

Dukeford
02-03-2010, 07:56 PM
The 3 H's for sure.I love the S's ,the H's were just all time great!

The 3 H's were great in 91 and 92, when they had someone else leading them.

Here's to hoping the 3 S's are much more successful than the H's in 93.

1999ballboy
02-04-2010, 01:47 AM
I never saw Thomas Hill play, but all Duke fans should at least know he is the player crying with his arms behind his head after Laettner hits his famous shot against Kentucky.
I've always loved Thomas Hill's reaction because it really captured the emotion of that moment, but I still lament that Antonio Lang never gets any love for falling to the ground after an extremely enthusiastic fist pump. You've also got to love him for boxing out even when there would clearly be no rebound.

davekay1971
02-04-2010, 06:49 AM
Best "Oh my God, I can't believe we just won" reaction of all time:

1) Thomas Hill after the Laettner shot

2) Jimmy V running around the court like a maniac looking for someone to hug

Two moments that always make me smile.

sweetchiba51
02-04-2010, 08:38 AM
I haven't read the rest of this thread, but your statement is a crock. IMO, of course.

Overall, combine scoring, defense, rebounding etc, T. Hill would be our best player. He had that killer instinct that not one player on this team has. Are you old enough to remember? If not I suggest you go look at tape...Thomas Hill was the real deal, we prob wouldn't have 2 back 2 back championship banners if he wasn't on our team...

Oh yea! On those 2 championship teams he was the 2nd leading scorer, and steals per game behind you know who...Ill take T. Hill over any player in Dukes recent history besides: J Williams, Battier, Dunleavy, Boozer....pretty much the 2001 title team...

BobbyFan
02-04-2010, 11:03 AM
... people always talked about Laettner, Hurley and G Hill. But without Thomas, I don't know that we win in 91 and 92.

The 1992 team is always linked to the big 3, but I think this leads to the assumption that we were very front-loaded. We weren't a deep team, but we didn't need to be because our #4-7 players were excellent. Thomas was a star that year, Davis was one of the nation's best defenders, and Lang and Parks were very efficient off the bench. There weren't many deficient 'man minutes' in that rotation.

It's a point often overlooked when people attempt to make a case for teams like Kentucky 96 and Florida 07 over us. Our 92 team is the best team in the last 20 years or so, and I think that is due in no small part to guys like Thomas Hill.

MChambers
02-04-2010, 11:20 AM
The 1992 team is always linked to the big 3, but I think this leads to the assumption that we were very front-loaded. We weren't a deep team, but we didn't need to be because our #4-7 players were excellent. Thomas was a star that year, Davis was one of the nation's best defenders, and Lang and Parks were very efficient off the bench. There weren't many deficient 'man minutes' in that rotation.

It's a point often overlooked when people attempt to make a case for teams like Kentucky 96 and Florida 07 over us. Our 92 team is the best team in the last 20 years or so, and I think that is due in no small part to guys like Thomas Hill.

The team was very versatile, being blessed with four wings (the two Hills, Davis, and Lang) who could do a lot of different things well.

Tom B.
02-04-2010, 12:25 PM
One of the things I remember about Thomas Hill was that he seemed to have a knack for the art of the follow-dunk. One moment, he's not even in the picture, and the next moment he's swooping in from nowhere to snag an offensive rebound and dunk it all in one motion. And his dunks weren't of the gliding, lyrical variety like Grant Hill's. They were more like quick lashes -- fast and hard, like a mousetrap being sprung, and over before you realized he was even in the play.

oso diablo
02-05-2010, 04:26 PM
I have a hard time thinking of Thomas Hill as a "glue guy" when he was the 2nd leading scorer on the 92 title team.

Also, iirc, Hill played center in high school (yes, even at 6-4), which helps explain his excellent post-up skills.

I grew up in a nearby small town in Texas, and Lancaster was in our district during my HS days (but not during THill's time), so he was my favorite player while i was at Fuqua.

roywhite
02-05-2010, 04:38 PM
I have a hard time thinking of Thomas Hill as a "glue guy" when he was the 2nd leading scorer on the 92 title team.

Also, iirc, Hill played center in high school (yes, even at 6-4), which helps explain his excellent post-up skills.

I grew up in a nearby small town in Texas, and Lancaster was in our district during my HS days (but not during THill's time), so he was my favorite player while i was at Fuqua.

Good point. I bet you could win some bar bets on "who was the second leading scorer on the 91-92 Duke team?" and even against Duke fans. I know I had to look it up.

http://goduke.statsgeek.com/basketball-m/seasons/season-stats.php?season=1991-92

Look at the FG% for the players and the team as a whole. What an offensive machine.

Duke12
02-05-2010, 06:21 PM
T Hill = T Ross?? I sure hope so