Alize Johnson is a two-time All-State honors winner. David Hill has earned three all-state caps.
Both brothers and St. John Neumann standouts have produced phenomenal school basketball careers, so youngest sibling Davion Hill had his work cut out for him when he started high school three years ago.
And yet, he’s already earned high school bragging rights against this dynamic duo. Hill carved out an impressive legacy and did things even his brothers couldn’t.
Now Hill is Pennsylvania’s top Class A basketball player.
Hill was named Player of the Year by Pennsylvania Sportswriters on Monday after a stellar junior season. He also became the first player from the region to earn All-State First-Team honors three consecutive seasons. It was a banner day not just for Hill, but for St. John Neumann collectively, as teammate Hanief Clay joins Hill in the first team.
“My brother (David) pushes me hard every day in training and in all of our practices which has really allowed me to play at a higher level and improve my intensity,” Davion said early in his high school career when he and David were teammates. “Just playing against Alize and David when I was a kid helped me better protect the stronger ones. As a kid I always played with the older kids, so it really prepared me .
He certainly showed. The former student now often teaches in class every game.
Hill is the only first-team player to have a hat-trick. He burst onto the scene as a rookie and has gotten hungrier and better every season since. The junior guard was at its best last season, averaging 26.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while helping Neumann reach his first state championship since 1972. In that final, Hill drove in 30 runs against Bishop Canevin. He also topped 20 points in 28 of 30 games, helping Neumann go 26-4.
In just three years, Hill has produced 1,876 career points, averaging 24.1 points per game. He’s already within 230 points of breaking Jim Nolan’s long-standing Lycoming County scoring record and has consistently filled the stat sheet every night. Whether he’s using his strength to dominate low, his speed to blow through defenders, his shooting to stretch the defense or his vision to set up teammates, Hill has become a game nightmare.
The only thing more impressive than stats and accolades is Hill’s desire.
“He (his will) is off the charts”, Neumann coach Jamie Spencer said after a state quarterfinal victory over District 3 champion Linville Hill Christian in which Hill scored 31 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. “His demeanor and the way he projects himself is unbelievable. This guy is just a bulldog.
“That’s why I work hard” said Hill. “I want to have a great regular season, obviously, but I know the playoffs are where everything matters most and I have to be big for my team against the toughest teams.”
He did. Everytime.
Hill went to an even weirder level in the playoffs, averaging 29.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He did so against four district champions, including defending state champion Pottsville Nativity. Playing against that team that had ended Neumann’s season a year earlier, Hill scored 39 points in a blowout semi-final victory and seemingly could do whatever he wanted.
“It’s his sport here”, said forward JerVal Weeks-Shuler during statements. “It’s him. He trains for it. He trains hard every day in training.
Hill received offers from several Division I schools, including Maryland. He currently plays AAU elite ball and is waiting for the end of this season this summer to make his decision. However, when it came to choosing a State Player of the Year, the decision was easy for voters.
No one had a resume quite like Hill. He put his heart into every practice; every game and it paid huge dividends.
“Just being on that stage at AAU and then my first two years being so young and already at this point, I feel like those are times I live for,” said Hill. “I’ve been through them before, so I’m just trying to live the moment I’m there.”
Clay approached things from a similar perspective and left his heart on the floor with every game. An accomplished leader, the senior point guard also combined fierce determination with fabulous talent to enjoy one of the best seasons in the state.
Clay averaged 19.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.4 steals per game while effectively running one of Pennsylvania’s most explosive offenses. He was as lethal as the defense with his brilliant passes as he attacked the basket or struck from the outside. Clay also wreaked havoc defensively, nearly producing a triple-double against District 1 Champion Faith Christian before playing a masterful match against Nativity.
“He sees the ground so well” Spencer said after that victory. “He makes really good decisions. I am so happy for him.
It was a joyful year for Neumann as he won a third straight district championship and did something only one Neumann team has ever done. The Knights also became the second team in the region to reach a state final during the 2000s. It was a team effort, but Hill and Clay were the twin engines that powered this machine.
Despite not playing his first two years, Clay still surpassed 900 career points and shone as well off the court as he did on it.
“He’s a leader in every way” Neumann sporting director Frank Lupacchino said earlier this year. “I expect him to have a great future in college and in his professional life.”
During the regular season, Clay said he hoped Neumann fans would remember him. Look at everything he’s helped his team accomplish. Better believe they’ll remember him. The same goes for Hill.
This dominating duo is the first in Neumann history to earn All-State First-Team honors in the same season. More impressive than what they did is how they did it.
Talk about an impressive legacy.