The quiet ninth grader sitting alone at the front of the bus still prefers to let his basketball play speak for him as a senior.
Ahmed Hill, admittedly shy when younger, has always felt at home on the court. With more than 3,000 career high school points, it’s easy to see why The Augusta Chronicle’s All-Area Georgia Boys Basketball Player of the Year felt at ease.
But the Aquinas star has opened up more since he arrived at the school prior to his sophomore year. After attending Peach County for a year, Hill moved to Aquinas, where his grades improved and he steadily got better at the game he loved.
Usually comfortable talking with only his mother and brother, Hill found comfort with the Aquinas community.
“Aquinas has been a new family,” Hill said. “They taught me how to open up to people more and make new friends.”
The school also taught him how to study, prepare for class and manage time – all necessary gains as major college programs offered scholarships.
With the basketball in his hands, Hill took the Irish to the Class A private state quarterfinals despite a relatively new supporting cast around him. He was willing to handle point guard duties, if needed, or score inside.
A younger Hill honed his skills at South Peach Park in Fort Valley, Ga., often playing against older people – like his brother, Braxton.
So when Hill reached high school and transferred to Aquinas, he was ready to star. This season, Hill was the Georgia Sports Writers Association's Class A Player of the Year.
“It’s been great,” Hill said. “I came up here and tried to become the best player to come through here. I just think I took my game to another level.”
Hill will have to do so again next season, when Rivals.com’s No. 69 recruit for the 2014 class beings his college career.
The Aquinas star signed with Marquette in November, though Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams has since moved to Virginia Tech. Hill can either choose to stay a future Golden Eagle, or he could ask for a release.
Regardless of what happens, Irish coach Bernie Norris is ready to see Hill at the next level.
“He’s the kind of individual that’s going to give you that much more every day. He’s the guy that’s always going to want to walk off the floor last,” Norris said. “He shouldn’t have a problem making a transition. He’s going to learn a lot of things and he’ll soak it up like a sponge.”