Kasey Hill’s season hasn’t started the way he would’ve liked it to.
When a player is having offensive struggles his teammates might not say a word to agitate the situation, but when it comes to your head coach you will hear the plain truth.
“Coach told me the truth that I was playing terrible,” Hill said of his coach Billy Donovan in a conversation of theirs. “Yeah, honestly, told me straight up I wasn’t playing good.”
That was a reflection of his 9-of-38 and 23 percent shooting to start the season before entering the UNC game. Hill’s worst games of 0-of-3 against William & Mary, 1-of-9 versus Miami and 2-12 against Louisiana-Monroe were the barren cold of his offense to start the season.
Donovan acknowledged the struggles and said his point guard wasn’t converting up until a point where he said publicly he needed to find a way of helping Hill.
“It’s the truth,” Hill said. “I mean I like hearing the truth and coach Donovan’s always tells you the truth so you’ve gotta be a man and respond.”
Competing against then fifth-ranked Tar Heels in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, Hill recorded his career-high in points with 20 and free throws made with 10. As a result, Hill played his best game in a Florida jersey and he kept the game plan simple.
“Be aggressive,” Hill said. “Keep attacking and listen to whatever coach tells me to do and just go from there.”
The thing about Hill, is that it’s taking time for him to evolve into his new role this season, but he’s taking it a game at a time and not allowing a lone performance — or a couple in a row — shatter his season.
The starting point guard not only showed it on the court, but off of it as well. Hill put extra time in the gym and wanted the extra work. He came to the team’s facilities and watched film and by putting forth that effort a deeper confidence grew.
“I was really proud of his fight, his competitiveness in those games. I thought he, from a resiliency and toughness standpoint, really grew up in a lot of ways there,” Donovan said.
Coming out of the tournament, Donovan was pleased with how he fought through the early games of the season to then perform like he did in the Bahamas.
“I was really, at least coming out of the Bahamas, really proud of him for a couple of reasons. I think of the most difficult things for any young player to do is when you come off a very difficult or challenging game like he (Hill) came off from Louisiana-Monroe, from the Miami game and now you are going at a high level tournament, it’s very easy for your confidence to be extremely fragile. I really was impressed with thee way he battled, the way he fought.”
Now, proceeding down the schedule for the rest of this year, the question isn’t can Hill shoot a good percentage and hand you 20 points a night, but rather if he remains confident and trusts in his work ethic in order to perform correctly and can he be reliable?
Hill is using this moment to propel him moving forward and it all started with listening to what his coach had to say.
“I just listened to him. I didn’t look at it as a bad thing to where I’d let it get me down, I just listened to him,” Hill said of Donovan giving him advice. “He’s a great coach he’s a hall of famer for a reason I’m gonna listen to him and do whatever he tells me to do.”