Hill

Hill granted release from ISU basketball program

2013-05-10T06:30:00Z 2013-05-10T16:43:11Z Hill granted release from ISU basketball programBy Jim Benson | jbenson@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

NORMAL — Johnny Hill said he saw what was happening with Illinois State’s basketball program and thought it might be time for him to move on, too.

The whirlwind spring for the Redbirds added another chapter Thursday as Hill announced he has been granted his release and will transfer to another school.

The 6-foot-3 guard just completed his sophomore season with ISU. He switched to point guard and made 26 starts, averaging 7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals. Hill, who played sparingly as a freshman, was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Most Improved Team.

“There have been a lot of changes going on and that has gotten me toward the decision I made,” said Hill. “I really did like ISU. There’s been a bunch of changes and some I wasn’t expecting. After talking with my family we thought this was the best decision.”

Hill is the fourth player to get his release after the season, joining Jon Ekey (headed to Illinois), Jordan Threloff (Northern Illinois) and Zeke Upshaw.

ISU has signed five junior college players, including three guards, this spring.

“Johnny did a really good job with his role, position and expectations,” said ISU coach Dan Muller. “He had some big games, and I thought he grew as a player. We wish him the best.”

Hill said he doesn’t know yet where he will transfer. He will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility beginning in the 2014-15 season.

He has already discussed what it will be like sitting out a year with his former roommate, Nic Moore, who left ISU last spring. Moore transferred to Southern Methodist and will be eligible in the fall.

“It’s going to be hard, but I look at it as a development year where I can focus and develop my game,” said Hill. “I can take time developing my shot, which I struggled with, and focus more on point guard and developing my ball handling.”

The departure of Hill means ISU will return three players next season with Division I experience — senior Bryant Allen and sophomores Nick Zeisloft and Kaza Keane.

Only Allen, Zeisloft and junior John Jones remain from players who were recruited to ISU by former coach Tim Jankovich.

“People will form their own opinion, but I had no problem with Coach Muller. He was a good coach and helped me,” said Hill. “I feel he gave me an opportunity that I was thankful for, and I expressed that to him.”

Carmichael going to combine: Jackie Carmichael is among the 60 college players who have been invited to next week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. The 6-9, 240-pound Carmichael averaged 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks for the Redbirds as a senior and was a first-team all-Valley selection.

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(27) Comments

  1. Redbird21
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    Redbird21 - May 11, 2013 11:01 pm
    18-20 year old young men are looking for opportunity, playing time, a chance to be a part of an exciting new opportunity and coaching staff who has a swagger about themselves...they don't look at a program from a cynical lens like yourself. Their parents will want to know that their young men will grow, will be challenged and will come away from this experience stronger, degree in hand and better prepared for the world that awaits them post-college. If you think the last 12 months have made everyone question everything from such a cynical perspective as yourself...take a look around this board...you're the lone ranger...

    Clear your lens Jed...we want you on board...it's time to have a little faith and believe this staff deserves a chance to build this program to meet a higher set of expectations than we have had the past 15 years...it doesn't happen overnight and it won't happen with the old playbook.
  2. Redbird21
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    Redbird21 - May 11, 2013 10:52 pm
    Let's not celebrate Jankovich winning...Jankovich used ISU to manage his career to his next stop...

    Do you recall what our schedule looked like...Norfolk St and UIC were our big non-conference games...he was scorned by Doug Elgin at the MVC meetings because we were one of the only schools in the valley not scheduling to enhance the profile of the Valley...that's why at the end of the year it was win the Valley tourney or bust...You need expect and want more from this program...DM wants more for this program...can this staff build it?? Lets give DM, Dana Ford and this staff the opportunity to make it happen.

    As a Redbird alum and fan...I'm willing to give a different approach a chance...I like that we're building a team that will be filled with talented players hungry for playing time and to prove themselves on this level.

  3. islandbreeze33
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    islandbreeze33 - May 11, 2013 2:13 pm
    WSU had 6 JUCO transfers on their Final Four team this year! 4 of them started at some point. Malcolm Armstead (JUCO at one point) OWNED Johnny Hill this year three times! Cleanthony Early (JUCO) is a preseason 2nd Team All American for next year. Your move.
  4. islandbreeze33
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    islandbreeze33 - May 11, 2013 2:02 pm
    Jankovich won?? Did I miss a season where he went to the NCAA tournament? I did witness 3 2ND place finishes at the MVC tourney! That's not winning! That's first class losing!
  5. islandbreeze33
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    islandbreeze33 - May 11, 2013 1:59 pm
    Complete circus? What has it been for the past 15 years?? It has been a world wide traveling circus! If you are not happy with the situation, pull your donation, cancel your season tickets, and stay off the bandwagon when things turn around. I will assume you are an alumni, donor, and a season ticket holder since you have such a strong opinion. You might even be one of the guys in a red sweater, in the lower bowl, that only stands or claps for the anthem? He is OUR coach. With him or against him. Choose a side!
  6. grateful jed
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    grateful jed - May 11, 2013 11:38 am
    Don't forget, Jankovich was pounded by commenters BECAUSE HE WON WITH THE FORMER COACH'S PLAYERS. Now, fan favorite DM comes in and loses with former coach's players, then either dismisses or is blown off by the whole returning group, and is heralded as a winner with a long-term vision of taking ISU to the dance?
  7. grateful jed
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    grateful jed - May 11, 2013 11:35 am
    No quality high school recruit is going to look at where our program is, which is in total chaos with guys leaving and no core group of impact players, and decide "hey, they're going places, I had better hitch my wagon to those guys." This is a complete circus.
  8. Chadwick Snow
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    Chadwick Snow - May 11, 2013 11:34 am
    Another way of looking at it is players are leaving because they were simply not going to be guaranteed playing time. DM owed them nothing and they saw what was coming. What is a red flag is if the players DM recruits were to leave in numbers. Recruits and their parents will look favorably toward a commitment if the program is either has a track record of success or is showing signs of upward movement. There was a lot of dead wood coming back. DM took the steps to move some players out and others saw their statuses diminished as better players were being recruited. These are positive signs.
  9. grateful jed
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    grateful jed - May 11, 2013 11:33 am
    Under the "ether", not "either".
  10. grateful jed
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    grateful jed - May 11, 2013 11:31 am
    How can any ISU fan look at what this team has and is and say that "he's building a team that can consistently take us to the NCAA"? Keane can barely get it across the timeline when his guy actually guards him. Ziesloft is a DIII player, and Allen is ok, so these JuCo guys are gonna take this team to the dance? When we couldn't win a lick with the best and most athletic big in the league and definitely the best big I've seen at ISU and possibly the best shooting guard in the league? And with two long, athletic forwards 6-7 and 6-9 that can both stretch the defense and block shots? This fan base is under the either of DM as a player.
  11. grateful jed
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    grateful jed - May 11, 2013 11:16 am
    This is a world-class circus. Chasing out a player or two who can't help you is pretty standard, but cleaning house and losing every impact player you've got is a sure sign of serious trouble. Kids are leaving because of this coach's ego. And I can't think of a bigger red flag as a recruit or parent of a recruit than to see an entire roster bail out at the school that's recruiting you or your son. This is going to set us back huge.
  12. EJD1
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    EJD1 - May 11, 2013 7:32 am
    A lot of good comments but some people tend to look at this DMs job is to keep these players on because ISU committed to them. The bottom line is DM was hired to build a team that gets us to the NCAA (not just once but regularly) and that is what he is doing. Did anybody really think he could do it with the current recruiting methods? Things had to change and he is doing it. The JUCO players are top notch and he could not do this with getting 2 star recruits and trying to develop them. We are actually going to have a decent team next year due to those JUCO players. Johnny is a great player with potential. DM didn't force Johnny out (can't say that for some of the other's). Johnny decided to go because we have some great JUCO recruits coming in and he didn't like his chances. Looking at the talent coming in, probably a good decision.
  13. buzz64
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    buzz64 - May 11, 2013 12:34 am
    I've seen many recruits last couple months. Some have signed. They all looked like ballers. DM's recruits at DM's still of play....I see a winning situation in time.
  14. Number 10
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    Number 10 - May 10, 2013 9:59 pm
    Good luck to Johnny Hill! Next season will be very interesting. Lets sit back and watch it develop. That's way fans do. They don't recruit, coach or play but since they pay, they have the right to express their views. Lots of views expressed here so hope all are paying customers.
  15. Redbird21
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    Redbird21 - May 10, 2013 7:26 pm
    I'm going to be careful in my response since my last one asking for support from more Redbird fans and the pantagraph has already been removed...

    I agree with much of what you have to say "island"...though I do think Keane will develop and get playing time...he will need to earn it but DM was quite high on him last summer and despite him probably needing a redshirt year last season he's committed to developing this young PG...plus it doesn't hurt that he's your best recruiter for McIntosh.

    DM and these boys all deserve the opportunity to develop...fans who want to knock who is still here and romance who has left...head down 74 and start supporting Bradley...if you're not with us then your against us. Redbirds 2013...Paving a new road to success!
  16. Chadwick Snow
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    Chadwick Snow - May 10, 2013 7:26 pm
    The players recruited by Jank just didn't fit Muller's system. In order to hold him accountable as coach you have to allow him to recruit his type of players. ISU's top scorer's left. The remainder of the Jankovich recruits were mediocre at best. They will not be very good next year. The following year results should be expected.
  17. islandbreeze33
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    islandbreeze33 - May 10, 2013 6:21 pm
    The plan is to play the best players. If Johnny decides to stay, he can compete against the other players recruited to play his position and EARN it. Doesn't look as if he wanted to compete for that spot. Maybe he will go to NIU. No competition for playing time there. This type of thing happens in big time college basketball all the time. Kevin Stallings did the exact same thing when he came. That didn't turn out too bad now did it?
  18. islandbreeze33
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    islandbreeze33 - May 10, 2013 6:13 pm
    Tons of talent?? Really? Creighton and WSU had tons of talent.
  19. islandbreeze33
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    islandbreeze33 - May 10, 2013 6:11 pm
    Haha...You really think DM has plans for Keane, Allen, and Zeisloft to be on the floor? Not likely! Allen is only here because he really doesn't have a choice in transferring at this point in his career. Johnny decided to leave on his own. He was granted his release so he asked for it. Obviously he feels his playing time was in jeopardy and did not feel like competing for it. If DM lands McIntosh in the next few days, that would be one of the biggest gets in ISU history beating out schools such as UCLA, Miami, and Oregon to get him. It's plain and simple. This group of kids will either get us to the dance and every kid that has transferred will simply be an afterthought OR DM will be gone in four years. At least DM has the guts to do things his way. He is either going to go to the top on his terms or up in flames on his terms. If fans don't like what he is doing, don't come to games and don't support ISU. But don't come cheering when things are going well either. Either you are with Dan or you are not. He is OUR coach. Johnny Hill was not our ticket to the dance. Neither was Ekey, Tree, or others that have left this year. DM is not going to sugar coat things and make fans and players feel warm and fuzzy.
  20. birdwatcher72
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    birdwatcher72 - May 10, 2013 5:54 pm
    Loved Johnny Hill. I and all fans, I think, appreciate the heart, hustle and spirit he brought. Easy player to like. In a rather dismal year with the expectations we had for this team, he was clearly a bright spot going forward. Sad he's leaving. Sadder seeing things slip away as we become a JUCO haven.
  21. isu2000
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    isu2000 - May 10, 2013 11:02 am
    ISU has lost the only player with Division I experience that deserved to be on a Division I court. I don't understand what Muller is doing, a bunch of Juco transfers and 3 guys that are not capable of playing DI. As a Redbird fan I am extremely disappointed, it is going to be hard to watch an ISU game with Allen throwing junk up, Keane being allergic to scoring, and Zeisloft, the "3 point specialist" not being able to hit a 3 to save his life. Good Luck to Johnny, I will be watching to see where he lands.
  22. Lil Red
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    Lil Red - May 10, 2013 9:40 am
    I agree with Old Redbird!
  23. pio1980
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    pio1980 - May 10, 2013 9:35 am
    This has me & others concerned. Johnny Hill was one of few positives from the past season. Muller had tons of talent last season and did zero. I still remember the second half of the Wyoming game. After seeing that I knew the season was up in the air. I hope the Pantagraph can report more on why Johnny Hill would leave. It's called investigative reporting.
  24. Old Redbird
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    Old Redbird - May 10, 2013 8:26 am
    I am not sure what the plan is. Johnny was one of the mainstays of the team last year. He played hard, solid defense, and did what he was asked of the staff. If he doesnt fit into the plan then who does. Very disappointing. I was hoping for more from the current coaching staff.
  25. isumvc54
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    isumvc54 - May 10, 2013 6:55 am
    Good luck Johnny.
  26. the Advocate
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    the Advocate - May 10, 2013 5:52 am
    Are any players worth keeping if they don't sport the "Recruited by Muller" label? I hope Dan can produce a winning team with HIS players. Sounds like they all expect to be starters. I believe only five can play at one time.
  27. lamo
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    lamo - May 09, 2013 11:09 pm
    Darn, I was beginning to like him. But, got some scorers arriving for next season.
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