Walking up to George Hill after a two-game exhibition with the Texas Fuel seemed so much different than the countless times I interviewed him after games this past season. Aside from trading the silver and black for the Fuel's black and Green, Hill took on a completely different role with this ABA team.
After three years with the San Antonio Spurs, Hill has learned from some of the best and arguably one of the best NBA coaches of all time, and it was definitely worth the five hour trek each way to and from Brownsville to see Hill help a few fellow players.
Before the game, Project Spurs' Paul Garcia and I had a chance to talk to Melvin Smith. Smith is a shooting guard for the Fuel and is no stranger to San Antonio, having played for UTSA for four years. During a few of those years, Smith had a chance to follow Hill's career and had an actual dream of playing with Hill realized this past weekend in the valley.
"After I saw him play, it's making me want to elevate my game to another level. Now I understand what it takes to be a pro. It's going to take more hours in the gym. I work out about 2-3 hours in the gym, but he works out like nine, so I'm going to have to up it to, maybe not nine, but eventually build it up," Smith said.
"He's really smart, he's has a really smart IQ for the game," Smith said. "He was teaching us about spacing because we haven't really put any plays in. He's teaching us how to read screens. He definitely has a high IQ for the game and is helping us out for the long run. "
Apparently Hill looked at the opportunity with the Fuel not only as a way to get in some court time, but as an opportunity to teach.
"Even both teams, I talked to them about different things I learned being a part of the San Antonio Spurs organization. Things I can help them to better their game with. That's what its all about, everyone trying to help everybody," Hill said. "These group of guys do the same things we do, just maybe not get the same chances."
As for getting back on the hardwood, Hill said he had a great time, but not before apologizing for his performance first.
"I'm sorry I gave y'all a bad performance," Hill said after we told him of our trip down from San Antonio.
Apparently in Hills eyes, averaging 34.5 points per game is a bad thing.