To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with UTSA F Jeromie Hill about playing in the third different conference of his college career.
You are a career 38% three point shooter despite being 6’8”. What is the secret for big men who want to shoot from behind the arc? There is no secret: just repetition. If you keep putting money in the bank, then you will have some there when it is time to spend it. If you keep practicing your shot, then you will shoot well in a game. I also make sure to not take any stupid shots!
You began your career in the Southland conference, then spent a year in the WAC, and now you will finish your college career in the CUSA. What is the hardest part about switching conferences so often? It is hard to learn new opponents every single year when you have to scout a different set of teams each time.
Your non-conference schedule includes games against Houston, Texas Tech, and Arkansas. Which of those three games do you feel will present your biggest test? The Houston game will mean a lot to me. We beat them when I was a freshman and lost to them when I was a sophomore, so this is a chance to break the tie.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? I have so much to give this year and I know I have not played my best basketball yet. Freshman year was a glimpse. I was not really in shape as a sophomore, and then I got hurt as a junior. I can put up better numbers and take a bigger role on the team, so my personal expectations are through the roof regardless of what conference we are in. My two options are to try and come back from the injury and then do my thing this year, or miss the whole year and try it again next year, so I have a big decision to make in the weeks ahead.
You grew up in Australia. How did you first get into basketball? It was kind of a coincidence. Around age six, my parents asked me what sport I wanted to play and I said basketball because I had watched it on TV, even though I did not know a lot about it.
In 2011, you started the season with a double-double in your very first game and finished the season by being named Southland Freshman of the Year. How were you able to come in and be so successful so quickly? I basically had a red-shirt year at the Australian Institute of Sport with no work and no study, just seven hours a day of basketball, six days a week, which got me college-ready. You cannot buy that kind of training, and it helped me build my body up.
In the 2011 Southland tourney title game, you scored 25 points, including making all four three point attempts, in a three point win over McNeese State. What did it mean to you to win the title and what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? It was a dream come true. We barely made the conference tourney and had to beat the top three teams in three straight games. We did not think it would happen so the vibe on campus was unreal.
In the 2011 NCAA tourney, you had 14 points and 11 rebounds in a nine point win over Alabama State. Where does that rank among the biggest wins of your career? It was a play-in game, but it gave us a chance to move on in front of a bunch of fans. Very few teams get to play against a top-ranked team like Ohio State, so it was a great experience: charter flight, 20,000 people in the stands, etc.
In 2012, you were named Southland Student-Athlete of the Year. How do you balance your work on the court with your work in the classroom? I had to take the SAT’s eight times because I did not really care about studying in high school. I come from a humble background and had planned to do some manual labor after I graduated. I pretty much studied for a year straight to prepare for the SAT’s, and each time I got a little bit closer. Then I found out about the ACT and gave it a go, and the first time I took it I got the score I needed. When I got here, I became dedicated to staying eligible so I put more focus into my studies by putting in an extra few hours a week.
In January, you tore your MCL and were out for several weeks. How were you able to get back on the court in under a month? I had worked hard all off-season by running 250 miles in a two month span. Then I tore my meniscus in our first game of the year. Rather than getting surgery. I just played through the pain and a couple of months later I tore my MCL. I came back quickly due to rehabbing twice a day and managed to get healthy and had some good games at the end of the year. I had surgery after the season and then had a freak accident last month where I tore the same meniscus in a different area. I had surgery 10 days ago and I am currently rehabbing four hours a day to try to get back. It is a bit of a curse, but I guess what is meant to be is meant to be. I never even had a twisted ankle until my junior year and then had a couple of unlucky events, but I have one year left to show what I can do.