Senior Hill scoring at pace to be Oakland Mills' best

January 03, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Before he's finished, soft-spoken Mike Hill likely will end up as Oakland Mills' top career scorer.

And if anyone is going to break Barry Young's single-game county scoring record of 51 points, it most likely will be Hill.

Through Christmas, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior scoring machine was averaging 23.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. He averaged 21.5 points last season and 19.0 as a sophomore.

"He's equally comfortable at the post or the perimeter," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "He's a quick leaper, a good second-effort leaper."

Hill, a smooth three-point shooter, sank six of them against Thomas Johnson in a 95-91 overtime loss in the season opener, when he scored 39 points, a school record.

Hill came back with 36 points in a victory over Loyola.

"He's devoted to the game and has an outstanding work ethic at practice and during the off-season," said Appleby, whose teams is off to a 7-1 start, including a 95-91 win over Thomas Johnson. "He has prepared himself to succeed by playing a lot and lifting weights."

Hill thinks his best all-around game was a 27-point, 16-rebound effort against Aberdeen.

Hill's best position probably is shooting guard, but throughout his career he always has been one of the biggest, strongest players on his team and always has had to play inside.

He's playing power forward right now, but may switch back to small forward later this season.

In college, he almost certainly will play shooting guard.

Hill has 833 career points, just 177 behind Oakland Mills' career record holder Coleman Scott.

Hill has wanted to play for Oakland Mills since he was a small child and idolized his neighbor, Joe Lewis, now an assistant coach with Oakland Mills. Lewis graduated in 1986 and was an All-County player.

"I was 11 years older, but everywhere I went he went," Lewis said. "In four years he never missed one of my high school games. In ninth grade, Hill started playing on the same summer league team with Lewis and still does.

"He's played against a lot of good county players -- Quinton Burton, Steve Key, Barry Young, Ray Peele, Woody Nicholson," Lewis said. "He played against Keith Booth and it was a pretty good battle."

Hill averaged 21.5 points and 4.0 rebounds last season, when the Scorpions were 5-15.

But Oakland Mills has a proud basketball tradition, having won one state title, four regional titles and six county titles in the past 11 seasons.

And Hill is hoping that the team lives up to its tradition for his senior year.

The transfers of junior guard Irving Conwell from Hammond and sophomore guard Fardan Carter from Mount St. Joseph offer the promise that Oakland Mills can regain the county championship.

Conwell and Hill have twice teamed up to score more than 70 points in a game -- a feat so rare that neither Appleby nor Lewis can remember the last time it was accomplished in the county.

"Irving makes Mike better because he has equal ability, knows the game and pushes him," Lewis said. "They play at a higher level."

Conwell scored 32 in the Thomas Johnson game and 36 against Loyola.

"I'm more vocal and Mike's a quiet type," Conwell said. "You never know what he's thinking, and he always has that same face. He's always focused."

Said Hill: "Irving makes the team much better and Fardan is a big help, too."

Hill is looking to attend Shepherd College or Coppin State next season, and had a 3.4 grade-point average the last grade period. But his college board scores are not back.

"Our junior varsity coach [Ciarin Lesikar] has helped me a lot with my schoolwork," said Hill, who was the second-leading scorer in the Watkins Mill Summer League, where Oakland Mills lost to Bullis Prep in the championship game.

"Michael is turning into a well-rounded success story," Appleby said.

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