By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. — It’s all in the family.
For Graham High School sophomore Colby Hill, basketball is a family affair. His mother and father were both players and coaches and the young Hill said he cannot remember when he began playing the game, possibly at two or three years of age.
“I probably had a ball ever since I was born,” Hill said. “I was always in the gym with mom or dad, shooting on the side goals while they were coaching.”
That early-age practice paid off for Hill because the week of Jan. 14-19, the Graham guard played two outstanding games.
Against Mountain Empire District foe Fort Chiswell he had 34 points and made 13-of-15 free throws to lead the G-Men past the Pioneers. In action against cross-town rival Bluefield he scored 16 points, 13 in the second half in a 64-53 loss to the Beavers. For his performances Hill is the latest Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week.
Speaking of the Fort Chiswell game, Hill said, “My shots were falling, my teammates were getting me the basketball telling me to shoot. Coach (Glynn) (Carlock) was drawing up plays for me, giving me the confidence out there, just having fun with the game.”
Confidence, according to Hill is important in playing basketball because according to him if you’re not thinking the right way, you can’t succeed.
“If you’re not confident you are not going to be playing very well,” Hill said. “Knowing you’re the best one on the court, the mindset helps everything.”
Graham head coach Glynn Carlock Jr., said, “Colby is an extension of our coaching staff on the floor. Colby has a very high basketball IQ. He understands situations. He understands time-game management.
“He understands what we are trying to accomplish as a team. He does a tremendous job in portraying all these qualities to his teammates.”
The win over Fort Chiswell was an important district win for Hill and the G-Men, who, according to Hill, are a close-knit bunch of guys.
“We’re all family on this team,” Hill said. “We band together, hang out all the time. We go to eat and it’s a great atmosphere to be in. I love them all to death.”
Just a sophomore, Hill and the current G-Men varsity team have only a pair of seniors, Spencer Sheets and Marshall Hawley. Like his teammate Tony Hood, player of the week three weeks ago, Hill took to the court as a freshman.
“We have had to grow up quick, playing as freshmen, Tony and I,” Hill said. “We had to grow up quick and become leaders of this team and just show everybody there is no fear and age is just a number.”
“He’s way ahead of his time,” Carlock said. “He has a great background behind him at home, both his father and his mother who have done a tremendous job raising him and also teaching him the game of basketball.”
Family matters for Colby Hill.
His mother, Susan is a former player at Concord and head coach of the Graham G-Girls. His father, Russell, played at Bluefield State and has coached at BSC, Bluefield College and Concord.
Colby said advice is plentiful.
“Last year I was timid on the offensive end and they kept telling me to attack on the offensive end and it’s got to be an offensive mindset every night, night-in, night-out, no breaks, all basketball,” Hill said.
Hill’s goal at the moment is to help the G-Men finish first or second in Region C and advance to the state tournament. The regional tournament will be hosted by Graham this season.