Catching up with Indy’s own George Hill

Darren Collison, George Hill, Pacers

George Hill defends his former Pacers teammate, Darren Collison. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

George Hill was back home in Indianapolis over the weekend. It was a business trip with his Cleveland Cavaliers, and not much more. He didn’t have dozens of ticket requests because he chose not to get caught up in that. His focus is on basketball.

It’s been a different, an unusual last 21 months for the 31-year-old. After years of stability and routine, three in San Antonio and five in Indiana, Hill has worn three new uniforms over the last year. The Pacers dealt him to Utah in exchange for fellow Indy native Jeff Teague in a three-team deal just before the 2016 NBA Draft.

Utah was a good fit and he considered staying. But then Gordon Hayward opted to join Brad Stevens in Boston. As part of a last-ditch effort to appeal to him, the Jazz essentially moved on from Hill by sending a first-round pick to Minnesota for Ricky Rubio. Hayward left, Hill got a big pay day — almost $40 million guaranteed for this season and next.

Over that time he’s had a newborn son, Zayden, and his three-month-old daughter, Zoe. His rock has been Sam, his fiancé, plus close family and friends. Hill is a family man and wants more kids.

In February, one month after his daughter was born, the family had to pack up and move from Sacramento to Cleveland after a trade was made. This also placed Hill back in a winning situation, even though there have been plenty of bumps in the road for this group. Growing pains, you could say.

He started all 24 games with the Cavs and averaged 9.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Hill, however, did not take his suit off on Sunday for Game 4. Back spasms.

Another brand new thing for him to manage. He exited Game 3 early, received treatment several times on Sunday including multiple shots, but he wasn’t quite ready yet. The competitor in him is eager to be back out there and he’s hopeful that treatment and rest will allow him to return for their first-round series against the Pacers.

On Sunday, VigilantSports.com caught up with the Broad Ripple High School and IUPUI product for a wide-ranging interview.

Has this been the most challenging season for you, all things considered?

I think it’s been a good learning lesson for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed to have the opportunity to play for a championship-contending team. I wouldn’t say it was a challenge, but it’s a tough time in your career when you go through adversity.

Did you learn anything about yourself in the process?

That your support is strong. To be able go to one place and then have to pack up in a day and a half, move to another place and get familiar with that area and then meet new people. And then you go to a new team it’s tough and challenging, but I think my family and friends have been very supportive along the way. I love every bit of my journey so far.

With all the guys you seemingly stay close with, like Ian Mahinmi and C.J. Miles, does that represent how close those Pacers teams were back then?

Definitely so. We’re all still brothers. I talked to Roy [Hibbert] the other day on the phone. I talk to Ian probably every two days. Talk to C.J. every two days. Still keep in touch with D-West. Still keep in touch with all of those guys. I miss those guys dearly but I know we’re all rooting for each other from afar.

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