Murray State men's basketball has landed the verbal commitment of Salt Lake CC (Utah) point guard Justice Hill, who – on Monday night through social media – announced his intentions to join the Racers' Class of 2020.
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, and listed at 5-11 and 175 pounds, Hill most recently garnered NJCAA All-America First Team honors as one of the top 10 junior college players last season. The Bruins finished 29-4 and were tabbed as the No. 4 overall seed for the 2020 NJCAA National Tournament, before COVID-19 concerns canceled the event, and he played a large role – leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg) and assists (4.3 apg), while adding 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Toting a rare three years of eligibility after spending just one half semester with the University of Arkansas (a place he'd committed to as a high school freshman in 2016), Hill shot 44.1% from the field, 34.7% from the arc and 65.3% from the stripe in 2019-20 in nearly 28 minutes per game.
Per HawgBeat.com's senior staff writer Andrew Hutchinson, Hill had actually graduated from Little Rock Christian Academy a semester early, in order to join his Razorbacks teammates under then-coach Mike Anderson.
Two months after Eric Musselman was hired, however, Hill hit the transfer portal – and landed at Salt Lake CC.
Also a standout high school football player who earned Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year and garnered serious interest from Auburn, Hill courted several offers for this upcoming hoops season, including: Wichita State, Washington State, Loyola-Marymount, Middle Tennessee State, Hawaii, New Mexico, Florida International, Fresno State, Nevada and East Carolina (per verbalcommits.com). He also was gaining interest from Texas A&M and Ole Miss.
MSU, however, earned his undivided attention.
“I felt as if the program is one of the nation’s top programs in terms of basketball,” Hill said.
Salt Lake CC, statistically at least, also played competitive defense while averaging more than 86 ppg. Bruins opponents were held to 40.6% shooting from the floor and 28.4% shooting from the arc, and were limited to 71.5 ppg.
He joins a class that already touts the talents of McCracken County's Jackson Sivills (Paducah), East Lake High School's Dionte Bostick (formerly Blanch; Clearwater, Florida), Jefferson Davis High School's Ja'Queze Kirby (Hazelhurst, Georgia) and Ben Smith High School's Nicholas McMullen (Greensboro, North Carolina) – in what's quietly being lauded as, perhaps, one of the best recruiting roundups in recent Racer history.
With Hill's commitment, sixth-year MSU men's basketball coach Matt McMahon and his staff – at this moment – have no more scholarships remaining for the 2020-21 season, following the graduation of Darnell Cowart, Jaiveon Eaves and Anthony Smith, as well as the departures of Noah Kamba and Jason Holliday.
Cowart seemed like the lone question mark, as his highly-anticipated 2019-20 preseason All-OVC campaign was interrupted with a myriad of injuries.
But he seemed to answer questions about a potential medical redshirt on social media Monday night, first welcoming Hill to the Racer family, and then tweeting: “Now can everyone stop asking me lol.”
His former teammate, 2019 No. 2 NBA pick and Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, responded: “God got you brotha. He has a different plan for you. Trust him. Let's work!”