After injury, Hill glad to be back on the court
Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:32 p.m.
In his first game back in nearly a month due to a high ankle sprain, Florida freshman point guard Kasey Hill wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
“I wanted to get the ball and I wanted to make the free throws,” Hill said.
Calmly, Hill made a pair of free throws with 8.3 seconds left, which helped Florida finish off Kansas 67-61 Tuesday night at the O'Connell Center.
Hill finished with six points and three assists in 20 minutes off the bench in his first game back since spraining his ankle Nov. 18 against Southern. For the McDonald's All-American from Umatilla, being sidelined for UF's last four games was hard to take. Hill said he spent about eight hours a day working with UF trainer Dave “Duke” Werner in an effort to get back on the court as soon as possible.
“I hated sitting out,” Hill said. “I never sat out that long in my life. I've never had an injury this bad since I've been playing basketball. So sitting out, it was killing me.”
The 6-foot-1 Hill showed no signs of hesitation from the injury early, tumbling into photographers behind the basket as he was fouled on a drive within the first 10 minutes of the game.
“The coaches just told me to go in there and not think about it, and that's what I did,” Hill said.
Hill's return also gave him the chance to play alongside senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin for the first time this season. The two were together on the floor for 15 of Hill's 20 minutes, which allowed Wilbekin to play off the ball during some stretches of the game.
“He has a high (basketball) IQ and I have a high IQ, so we know how to play off each other,” Wilbekin said.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said he felt Hill held back at times and expects him to get more comfortable with a full week of practice. Florida next plays Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City against Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic.
“The way he played tonight, a lot of it was probably was a guy that hasn't practiced a whole lot, timing, confidence, doing very minimal,” Donovan said. “The thing I tried to explain to him is you've got to play with more fire and passion. You've got to play with more intensity when you are out there. And he may have been thinking about his foot, and I'm thankful and appreciative he was able to play because we were able to rest Scottie.”