Surely, Thomas Hill doesn’t mind that his claim to fame came from his reaction to a Duke basketball miracle. No, nobody in their right mind would mind going down in the history books as “The Face” that exemplified all Dukies’ overwhelming joy the moment after Christian Laettner sank “The Shot” to sink Kentucky.
However, the lesser-known Hill (no relation to teammate Grant, the inbounder on the play) wasn’t just a spectator that season. In fact, he averaged more than 30 minutes per game as both a junior and senior.
Offensively, what Wendell Moore can take from watching these old Duke games are the 6-foot-5 guard’s efficient production and consistent improvement from one year to the next. Thomas Hill averaged 11.3 points per game for his college career (15.7 as a senior after only 3.4 as a freshman). He made 55.6 percent of his 2-point attempts and 38.6 percent from deep (above 40.0 percent for both the 1990-91 and 1991-92 title squads).
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Surprisingly, one specific play Moore might want to check out is the drive and miss by Hill below. Why? Well, for starters, it’s an example of what Moore often failed to do as a rookie in Durham: keep his eyes up, with patience and composure, and be willing to pull straight up for a five-foot floater rather than crash into a defender. Also, the drive and miss, which happened in the final minute of Duke’s legendary victory over UNLV at the ’91 Final Four, led to arguably the two most important points in program history:
Defense, though, was T. Hill’s bread and butter, averaging 1.4 steals as a Blue Devil. And Moore has the tools, particularly in the wingspan and athleticism departments, to become equally menacing on that end of the floor; furthermore, effort doesn’t seem to be an issue. So all it would take is heightened awareness, a willingness to develop, and most importantly, decreased turnovers of his own (2.4 per game last season) in order to avoid Mike Krzyzewski’s doghouse.
On that note, let’s move on to a guy who always seemed to stay on Coach K’s good side because of his reliable versatility…