Indy Star Reports: George Hill wants people to see the number and think.
Think about relentlessly pursuing dreams, about how possible they are to achieve, regardless of beginning or background.
Hill hopes his No. 3 that now hangs at IUPUI’s gymnasium will be emblematic of his journey — from an Indianapolis Public School to IUPUI to the NBA.
“I want people to think about someone who came from a not-so-positive background, a not-great neighborhood, an IPS school and know that anything can be accomplished if you work at it,” Hill said. “Anything in life.”
The No. 3 he wore for three seasons at IUPUI was retired Thursday night after the Jaguars’ game against Missouri-Kansas City. Hill’s name and jersey number are on the west wall at IUPUI, only the second men’s basketball player to be so honored in school history along with Carlos Knox, who wore No. 34 from 1994-98.
In his second year in the NBA, Hill was a first-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 2008, the first IUPUI player to be drafted and play in an NBA game.
“It’s an honor and a blessing,” Hill said of having his number retired. “It’s something I always dreamed about since I first got to college. I met Carlos Knox and saw his jersey and told him, ‘I guarantee I will have that done before I leave.’
“To have it all come true and for him to being the one to present it, that means a lot.”
Hill, who started alongside three-time NBA All-Star Tony Parker on Wednesday night in the Spurs’ 90-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse, turned his two days back home into a celebration.
The youth basketball team he sponsors, the George Hill Rising Stars, sat courtside during warm-ups Wednesday at Conseco, wearing their Spurs-colored black-and-silver jerseys. Hill visited children at Riley Hospital for Children on Thursday afternoon before being joined by family and a host of friends at IUPUI on Thursday night.
“It’s great for a lot of kids in the city who follow George and admire him,” said his godfather, Mike Saunders, who runs the youth basketball program. “That’s why he did the George Hill Rising Stars, so these young kids can see that if you set a path and follow it and stay off the streets, you can achieve anything, not necessarily in basketball, but in education, being a leader.
“He’s trying to make a difference in the city.”
Hill, who led the state in scoring as a senior at Broad Ripple High School, left IUPUI after three seasons as one of the school’s career all-time leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and winning percentage.
“One of the things George always wanted was to have a senior night,” said IUPUI coach Ron Hunter, who has known Hill since he came to IUPUI camps as a kid.
“He never had a senior night, so this is his chance. He’s still close to these players and he never really had a chance to say goodbye to the students. This gives us a chance to combine both, knowing his jersey will always be on that wall.”