Prize recruit Hill is unable to play

By Steve Dennis

The Huskies’ women’s basketball team is sweating through its preseason, with one exception.

Freshman phenom and prize recruit, E.C. Hill is not working out with the team so she can hit the books.

The 5-7 Hill, out of Chicago’s Whitney Young High School, was considered on of the top prep guards in the nation last year and was rated the country’s No. 2 prospect behind 6-5 center Lisa Leslie of Inglewood, CA. Hill was also tabbed a Street & Smith’s First-Team All-America.

“E.C. is definitely one of the best guards I have ever seen play,” head coach Jane Albright said. “She adds another dimension to our game plan, and I’m excited to have to coach her at the college level.”

Albright’s excitement is being put on hold because the guard failed to meet the ACT scores needed to be eligible for the 1990 season under the NCAA’s Proposition 48 rule.

Hill said that she was aware of Prop 48, but fell a little bit short after two attempts to pass the ACT.

“I knew what I had to do,” Hill said. “I had the G.P.A., but not the scores on the ACT.”

But the delay doesn’t bother Albright a bit.

“I think it’s proven that it’s easier to be a student than a student-athlete,” Albright said. “I have a lot of confidence in E.C., so I don’t have any fears or think she’s a risk in any way.”

Hill decided not to go through pre-season conditioning with the team in order to emphasize the academic aspect of being a student-athlete. The advertising major is currently taking a 15-hour course load for her first semester and doesn’t think the layoff will affect her performance on the court.

“I think being a Prop 48 is more positive than negative,” Hill said. “Sitting out will make me hungrier and help me come back stronger than ever next year.”

So far, Hill feels comfortable with everything at NIU and said she hasn’t been affected by the setback.

“Even though I have to sit out the first year,” Hill said, “they still make me feel like I’m part of the team. It’s just like a family.”

Hill won’t be allowed to practice with the team once practice starts on Oct. 15. She can’t travel with the team on road trips and will have to sit behind the bench for the home games. Hill optimistically understands her role.

“I’m just going to take one step at a time,” Hill said. “When it comes time for me next year, I’ll be ready to play.”

When asked what E.C. Hill can do for NIU, the softspoken freshman smiled and said, “NIU has done a lot for me already and all I can do is return the favor.”