Hill maintains composure despite leadership status

By David Lance

The heat is on E.C. Hill, but she remains collected.

She has never played in an official college basketball game, yet her coach, NIU’s women’s basketball head boss Jane Albright-Dieterle, said she will be the main attraction—a leader relied on to score the crucial points.

The 5-7 sophomore point guard from Whitney Young High School is used to the attention. She’s been the focal point on every team she’s played on.

“I’m just ready to play,” Hill said. “I want to do my best and what coach Albright wants me to do. I’m not out to please anybody.”

She may not be out to do it, but she does. Ever since she was in grammar school, Hill’s basketball thrills have entertained audiences.

In 1989, Hill’s senior year at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, she was regarded by USA Today and Street & Smith’s as the top guard in the nation.

“After that,” Hill said, “everytime I played, people expected certain things. I just wanted to do my best.”

Her former coach said she did.

“She’s the best that came out of Chicago,” Whitney Young head coach Arthur Penny said.

If Hill never scores a point for the Huskies, her career would still be storied. Remember, she’s the one who scored 73 points in one game her senior year.

“E.C.‘s a person who I don’t have to say a word about and you would know what to write about her,” Albright-Dieterle said. “I saw her this summer (in the Olympic Festival in Calif.) and I’m not going to even tell you any stories from what I saw out there. But she was the best player in the festival in my opinion.

“Obviously, somebody else shared that opinion. She made the national team and went over to Mexico (to play later in the summer). She’s the first athlete we’ve ever had to make an international team.

“She’s a person we’re very excited about.”

Albright-Dieterle is excited about the way Hill gets her teammates involved in the game.

“She has the ability to create a lot of situations and has the ability to make all of us look better,” Albright-Dieterle said

Hill sat out last year due to Proposition 48, so this is her first season practicing with her teammates. She said the layoff hasn’t hurt her game.

“High school’s not as competitive,” Hill said. “When you practice in college, it’s like you’re playing a game. In practice, you give your all. In high school, it wasn’t like that. (But) everything’s coming along smoothly.

“I want to do my best, to be a part of the team. I’m not worried about awards.

“I like to go and try and get everybody involved in the game. If I get everybody involved in the game, my game opens.”

Albright-Dieterle hopes it opens wide enough for Huskie wins to fall in it.

“She’s going to be a lot of fun for you all to watch,” Albright-Dieterle said. “She’s undoubtedly a person who makes life fun everyday for us.”