After a four year stint as the head Coach at Rutgers, Fred Hill joins the Wildcats as an assistant coach. Hill is known for his recruiting prowess including leading the way towards a top five recruiting class in the nation during his time as an assitant coach at Villanova. While he was at Villaova, Hill was also named the top assistant coach in the nation for the 2004-2005 season.
What do you think you can bring from having been a head coach at Rutgers and your experience in general?
It’s great to be back on the bench, and, to be honest with you, to watch Coach Carmody and to really zero in on the things he likes to teach offensively and defensively. Having been around and having been a head coach, just to take a look and kind of see different things than maybe we would have seen and preparation to go against what he does. There’s just a lot of little things I really like, as you’re putting it all together.
What are your first impressions of the team?
It’s been real interesting. We have a really good group of guys. They work extremely hard. We have some veterans. so it’s nice to watch them — they really know how to play together. They’ve been working real hard in the preseason a little bit the last couple of days, on the defensive end and I think as it’s now starting to come together it’s going to be real interesting for me to see when we scrimmage and as we get into an exhibition game. I’ve been very impressed with the guys, the way they share the ball and how hard they work.
What are you excited for about Northwestern? What are you nervous about?
I’m really excited about trying to help Coach get to where everybody wants to go, and that’s to have a real successful program and be successful in the Big Ten and go to the tournament and do those types of things. You do that when you get real good players, coach real good guys, guys grow up – you watch freshmen become sophomores, sophomores become juniors, juniors become seniors – that’s when you have a lot of success. I’m really excited about that.
You know we’ve never been to the tournament. How do you think that can change this year? From the experience?
We have a veteran team. I think everybody’s asking the same question – you have a veteran team but you lost your point guard. You’ve got some young guys that are going to have to assume that role. You’ve got a great player in Juice that did a great job, but you’ve got four veterans back that really know what they’re doing so how do the young guys mesh, how do they fit in, can they assume those responsibilities right away in the Big Ten – that’s going to be the big question. If we can answer those questions positively, then we’ve got a real good shot to be a real good team and maybe take that first step.
Do you think you’ve answered the point guard question yet?
It’s too early, too early to tell. Too many guys – we’ve been a little bit banged-up in the backcourt, so I think it’ll emerge but it’s a little bit too early to figure it out just yet.
Have you been involved in recruiting at all? I know a lot of people, when you signed on, thought you would help with that.
Yeah, I’ve been involved a lot actually with that. When I got on board in July, July’s a big time of year for us to go out and see a lot of kids, September’s a big time to go out, so we’ve seen a lot of really good young players both in the Midwest and some guys – obviously, my background is the east coast and Jersey, I just got back in last night from Jersey, got in at about one o’clock in the morning, come in for practice – so I saw a couple good kids back there. It’s been going very well. We’ve been very well-received. Obviously, when you play in the Big Ten, when you’re at a school that has a reputation like Northwestern does academically, there’s a lot of kids that are real interested in combining that combination of academics and great basketball. So, there’s a lot of interest for guys, and now we’ve just got to be able to get some of those guys that say they want to come.
If you could coach any fictional basketball team, which one would you coach?
I’m going to coach – there was an old movie a long time ago from Disney, and they used Flubber. You go look up what the movie is and what Flubber is. I want to coach the team that had the flubber. Flubber was some type of thing they put on their sneakers that allowed them to jump out of the gym and go over the rim and dunk it, so I want to coach that team.