Sports Connection ‘Spotlight’: Marcus Hill Jr.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Rockford has seen it share of big-time basketball scorers over the years. This season there’s a guy at Rockford Christian who can light it up pretty good too on any given night. He’s Marcus Hill Jr.

Marcus Hill Jr. wears number ‘O’ for the Royal Lions.

“I got that number as a freshman when I first came on and I was like why change It? I just kept it. It was the smallest jersey. I always liked my stuff small,” said Hill.

But with that small number comes some really big talent. Hill is one of those guys who can score in any number of ways. And when he gets it going it’s something to see.

In a game against Sterling Newman this season he scored 39 points. Against Round Lake this season he scored 42. Then there was that game last season against Rockford Lutheran when Hill scored 47 points.

So what has been Hill’s?

“That Lutheran game because it was so packed,” said Hill. “I was just so excited that night. Just having fun. Just shooting. I just felt it that night.”

This season Hill is averaging 23.1 points per game. But he’s not simply a scorer. He’s also averaging almost seven rebounds a game, plus 3.2 assists and 2.9 steals. It’s the rebound numbers that stand out when you consider Hill is a point guard.

So what makes him such an effective rebounder?

“Honestly I think because he wants the basketball,” said Rockford Christian coach Isaiah Johnson. “I think he looks at it as another opportunity to score and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think because, ‘Hey if I get this rebound down under the basket it’s going to be a layup.”

Hill is thin and he’s a poing guard, so how does he get all of those rebounds

“To be honest I just jump,” said Hill. “It just comes to me. I know where the ball is going so I just jump and get it.”

Early this season Hill passed the 1,000 point mark for his career. His father is Marcus Hill Sr. Marcus Hill senior has coached basketball for many years on many levels boys and girls. He has also coached Hill’s team AAU team the Rockford Ambassadors.

So what advice does father give son when he does give basketball advice

“Push, push push,” said Hill Jr. “That’s all he says push, push, push. Try to get to the basket and try to get a stop. He’s more of a play defense guy.”

Hill Jr. fell in love with basketball at a very young age.

“When I came out of the womb,” he said with a smile. “My mom said that I was a…my dad used to force a ball in my hand. He just forced a ball in my hand since I was a little baby.”

When he’s not playing basketball chances are Hill is playing video games.

“I’m a big video game freak. I go home. I do my homework and then I call my friends. We play straight through…fortnight…that’s all we do. All night. I am competitive at that too.”

When Hill is having one of those big scoring nights on the basketball court it’s almost like a video game. But it’s not any of those nights that coach Johnson points to as Hill’s best moment. That happened during a game over the Holidays.

“Just this past Christmas break we had four starters out. Gone,” said Johnson. “We had three of them on a trip to the Dominican. We had one that was hurt.”

“I talked to Marcus and I was like, ‘Hey, look we’ve got guys that normally don’t play a lot of minutes’. I was like, ‘Do what you can to help keep them involved and just understand that this isn’t the normal group out here, but you’ve got to make them feel comfortable on the floor.’ We ended up pulling out a ‘W’ against Bureau Valley playing with guys that don’t normally play with Marcus as the only steady player that’s always on the court. Watching him play with guys that normally didn’t play a lot…to me as a coach I enjoyed watching that.”

Hill’s future basketball plans are up-in-the-air at the moment, but he does hope to play in college.

“Most definitely I want to play ball in college. I haven’t thought about what college I want to go to yet, because I’m just thinking about our season and school, but I know that it’s coming soon.”

“He’s getting some interest,” said Johnson. “Now we’ve just got to make sure we finish everything schoolwise and continue to have a good season and him play well, and he’s going to have chances to play.”

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