Illini Basketball: Malcolm Hill NBA Draft Stock Update

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During last year’s Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, a friend/media colleague and I adjourned to a bar/restaurant down the street in between sessions. At cocktail hour we ran into a couple scouts from two different NBA teams and I asked them if anyone on the current Illinois roster (then the 2014-15 squad) was of interest.

Malcolm Hill was the only name on their radar. A couple months later, their story checked out as Rayvonte Rice, despite his stellar career, went undrafted. Then again Rice wasn’t invited to the combine, and no one really had him on their boards. Malcolm Hill, however, has some decent NBA draft stock.

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While it may seem a bit premature and unorthodox to be having Malcolm Hill NBA Draft stock talk right now in the middle of the January, would your rather talk about last night’s embarrassment instead?

Of course not. Last night Illinois suffered their 12th loss by 20 or more points in the John Groce era (four and a half seasons). By contrast, Bruce Weber had only three losses by 20 or more in nine years leading the program. 

Bill Self had one loss by 20 in three years and Lon Kruger had four in four years.  Credit Bret Beherns of WCIA for the stats.

Thus, after three road games, three road losses by a combined 64 points (21.3 points per game), let’s move on to the Malcolm Hill mocksourcing.

He isn’t listed on every NBA mock draft on the net, but he listed on a couple right now.

Draft Express have Hill  as the #49 overall pick to the Washington Wizards.

Walter Football have him projected #42 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

We perused about five or six more mocks, but his name was not in any of those, so he still has some work to do this season, and then of course at the scouting combine in May.

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Hill does have a lot going for him though- length, size, versatility, speed, a good solid upward trajectory during his career. Hill is also the most interesting guy to talk to on the team. He’s a good soundbite and should ace the interview portion of potential meetings with NBA teams.

Said Purdue’s Carsen Edwards in regards to scouting and defending Hill:

“He can play. We watched the game film on him and knew what his tendencies are and just try to guard him. We go into every game just trying to get stops and we knew he could score and we just wanted to stop his tendencies and things like that.”

While this Illini basketball team is truly drudgery, he is still the unit’s alpha dog. He’s played every position during his college career and has the ability to play multiple positions. He was named one of ten finalists for the Jerry West Award honoring the nation’s best shooting guard last season.

That’s even more amazing considering

1.) he’s really a three, much more than a two and

2.) he was thrown into the post here and there during 2015-16 because the Illini were so badly lacking at the position.

Demetri McCamey Illinois

Through a campaign that’s produced mostly dreck, Hill remains extremely productive. has seven kenpom game MVP accolades so far this season, tied for the 10th-most by any player nationally and trailing only Iowa’s Peter Jok for most by a Big Ten player.

His current average is the highest by an Illini in the last 14 years, since Brian Cook led the Big Ten in scoring in 2003 (20.0 ppg).

While Malcolm Hill ranks well on the draft boards right now, it’s no guarantee that he’ll hear his name get called on draft night. Even if you earn your way into the more rarified air of the Draft combine, it’s still not a lock. Demetri McCamey and Jereme Richmond were both at the 2011 combine, but neither got selected. Ditto for Brandon Paul in 2013.

In fact, Meyers Leonard in 2012 is the only Illinois basketball player selected since Dee Brown and James Augustine in 2006! One player in a decade and counting, yikes! Leonard joins Deron Williams as the only former Illini currently active in the NBA.

Sadly, the NBA Draft has become like the McDonald’s All-American Game, the second and third weekends of the NCAA Tournament, New Year’s Day bowls etc.- Illini free zones this decade.

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Maybe Malcolm Hill will finally be the guy to change that?

It will be interesting to see where a player with his versatility ends up. Does he need to bulk up some more to play the three at the next level? Does he have the on the ball defending prowess to guard all the elite threes in the league? Maybe he fits in better as a good sized two?

The scouts and GMs will have a lot of time to figure that all out, and the comments section is below to debate these topics.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, Bold and the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication, appears regularly as a guest on CGTN America, WGN CLTV News and KOZN 1620 The Zone

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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Comments

  1. This has been subject of conversation on a lot of Illinois basketball forums, and the fan-base is split on Hill’s NBA potential. The biggest knock on Hill is he isn’t an extraordinary athlete, and many seem to believe this reason alone would prevent him from having a career in the league. Even high volume scorers like DJ Newbill and Terran Petteway couldn’t cut it in the NBA because of physical deficiencies. However, I think Hill might be an exception. Even though he may not jump out of the gym, he is an ideal size for a 3 and has the size/strength to back it up. He plays very serviceable defense. And as scorer, he is a different animal. The numbers Hill has put up this year are outstanding… nearly tied for most ppg in conference, has the most points scored in the conference, the most 20+ppg in the BIG10, has the most consecutive games scored in double digits, and gets to the line more than anyone in the conference besides Nigel Hayes. Perhaps the best thing Hill has going for him is age-wise he should be a sophomore. This kid hasn’t hit his ceiling and would love to see what kind of player he becomes as his body develops. He may not ever be an outstanding athlete, but I’d argue he can transform himself into a good-enough athlete to compliment the rest of his skills which should improve as well.

  2. Hill has speed is when i quit reading article. He cant guard anyone in the nba and has a poor attitude on the court. He not getting drafted since teams usually take euros draft n stash in round 2

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