Q&A with George Hill — on Sacramento, Hayward’s injury, and Broad Ripple closing

George Hill was back home again in Indiana Tuesday, this time with another new team.

After playing one year in Utah last season, completing the final year of a five-year contract he signed with the Pacers in 2012, Hill signed with the Sacramento Kings over the summer and will pull in $20 million for the season.

For perspective, he earned $8 million a year on his previous deal. Hill, who is 31, maximized his return – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it will be different for him.

Different because this young Kings team doesn’t look very good. He’s participated in postseason play in all but one season: 2014-15 when Paul George missed most of the season with a leg injury. And they were one win away.

They’re 1-6 after Tuesday’s 101-83 loss to the Pacers.

The average age on their roster is 26.92, 12th youngest in the league. But that’s higher because the oldest active player in the league, Vince Carter (40), is on the roster. Marion, Indiana product Zach Randolph is 36. And Hill is 31. Eight Kings players have less than one year of experience, including five rookies.

In six appearances, Hill is averaging 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

After morning shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hill — who was introduced as “The Hometown Hero” while he played for the Blue & Gold — spoke for more than six minutes before catching up Pacers employees.

What has life been like for you in Sacramento and adapting to a new situation for the second straight year?

It’s been a little roller coaster so far not getting off to the start that we hoped for. We’re very young, we got a lot of young talent that has a bright future. It takes a little time. Other than that, things are going great. Got a great family; expecting my daughter (Zoe) in January. My son (Zayden) is almost two. It’s going pretty good.

How are you being utilized differently than we’re used to seeing you play?

I’m just trying to find a rhythm. New city, new team, new structure, new everything. Just trying to find the new George. It’s taking me a lot longer than I expected and I’m just trying to take baby steps.

What will it take? Is it game reps?

Yeah. Just trying to get into a rhythm. I feel I haven’t got into a rhythm yet. Still trying to figure out our roles and things like that.

[Hill carries permanent reminders of Indy wherever he goes]

Hill had 8pts and 6rebs in a 101-83 loss. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

How much different do the Pacers look with just six players back from last season and even fewer back from when you were here?

I don’t even know – the only person that’s back from when I was here is Lance [Stephenson], Joe Young, and Myles [Turner]. And Glenn [Robinson III]. It’s a whole different make up. It’s crazy how teams change at the snap of a finger. Nothing is permanent in this league; we know that.

[Air quotes] It’s always a business [end air quotes]

You were in Utah with Gordon Hayward last year. Do you remember where you were when he went down on opening night?

Yeah I was actually at home. I still to this day don’t watch basketball on TV so I was actually watching the Hunting Channel at the time. My fiancé (Samantha) ran in yelling about whether I saw what just happened. She showed me. It was emotional for me just because it’s more than just a teammate; he’s like a brother to me. I learned a lot from him in Utah. We learned from each other.

He’s an Indy guy and you never hope someone goes through that, let alone a guy that you really know from the city that you grew up in and being a teammate. Just trying to be there for him emotionally by calling and texting, making sure he’s fine and him and his wife (Robyn) is doing good.

What’s it like to come back home and play in front of your city?

This city is me. I grew up here my whole life so it’s always a special place in my heart – no matter what happened. Me being here, me not being here. This is always home for me. It’s always great to come back home with the fans and family and friends and see everybody, and try to give the crowd a good show.

It don’t matter what you do in life, when you come home it’s always special and always feels like home. It’s always come back here and play. Even before I played here, I was always here in college just shooting around and practicing on the practice court.

Were you sure to do anything or eat anywhere last night while back home?

I just spent time with my family last night. Just enjoyed their company because now being ever further west, I don’t get to see them as often anymore. Just enjoyed good company.

How do you feel about Broad Ripple High School closing soon?

It’s bullshit. That is bullshit. I hate it. There’s nothing I can do about it. If that’s what the city wants to do then they have what they want. I just feel like give it a chance. If you don’t want it, give it to somebody who actually wants it and do something nice instead of tearing it down and making it some parking garage or some condo or apartments. I feel like it’s an outlet for some of the kids.

From this past summer

Throughout the voting process were you ever involved?

Definitely so. Like I said, the city don’t give a shit about that. They don’t care. So why should we now? You can put your word in and say that you want to be a part of it, but it’s about money now. If they feel like they can make money on it and do what they gotta do, then that’s what they’re going to do.

It’s nothing we can do about it. We put our two cents in and tried to do a His By Her type thing, and all these different foundations that we tried to partner with to get the ball rolling for that. Sometimes it just feels like they don’t care.

Who did you speak with or how were you able to let your voice be heard?

There’s a detective called Harry Dunn that actually granted from Broad Ripple that has his own foundation. [Former Colts linebacker] Robert Mathis is helping out with it a little bit. Jeremiah [Hamman] from Prime 47 is helping but it’s like we’re trying to get the ball rolling and it’s always road block after road block after road block.

Like I said, it’s who has the most money I guess will figure it out. And if it’s about money, then it’s really nothing we can do because there’s always a guy that has way more than what you’ve got.

One Response to Q&A with George Hill — on Sacramento, Hayward’s injury, and Broad Ripple closing
  1. […] It had sent shockwaves throughout the league with many sending their support back to the 27-year-old for a speedy recovery. In light of that, his former Utah Jazz teammate, George Hill, was particularly shaken up from the play, according to Scott Agness of Viligant Sports. […]

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