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HILL STARTING TO CLIMB SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Jordan Hill's first mistake was being someone other than Davidson star Stephen Curry when it was the New York Knicks' turn to draft in June.

Hill's second mistake was showing up out of shape for the NBA Summer League in July.

The 6-foot-10 forward from Arizona got off to a disappointing start with the Knicks . However, he might have begun to turn the tide with an encouraging performance in Saturday's scrimmage as the Knicks closed training camp at Skidmore College.

"Today I thought he made a significant jump," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Maybe he's feeling more comfortable. I thought today I saw a lot of energy and knocking down shots. I thought he looked good today."

It's a step that Hill, the eighth overall choice in the draft, can build on leading into today's preseason opener against the New Jersey Nets at Times Union Center. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.

"At the beginning, it was just a learning process," Hill said. "Everything was coming at me too fast. That's what you go through being a rookie. So I just had to ask questions, follow the veterans and then I started feeling more comfortable and confident."

Hill declared for the draft after averaging 18.3 points and 11 rebounds in his junior season at Arizona.

Some draft analysts projected Hill as a top-five pick, but he slid to the Knicks at No. 8.

The selection was greeted by mixture of cheers and boos at Madison Square Garden. Some Knicks fans were bitterly disappointed that Curry, the sharpshooting guard, had been taken one pick earlier by the Golden State Warriors.

Even D'Antoni admitted some regret that night about not getting Curry.

But D'Antoni also said Hill reminded him of a young Amare Stoudemire, the All-Star forward who D'Antoni coached with the Phoenix Suns.

D'Antoni was more cautious when asked again Saturday about the Stoudemire comparison.

"He's got that same body type and tenacity," D'Antoni said of Hill. "He's a long ways from Amare, but he's a guy if he keeps working and building, he hasn't played Basketball a long time, so it might take him longer than other guys."

Hill, who took up organized Basketball in ninth grade, said he was excited to join the Knicks . While he was at Arizona, Hill attended a couple of Phoenix games and pictured how he might fit into D'Antoni's up-tempo offense.

"I felt real good," Hill said. "Just how (D'Antoni) had Amare just going, going and pick and rolling, that's how I could see myself doing it. Just run the floor and have fun, basically."

Hill was underwhelming on the Knicks' summer-league team in Las Vegas, even though the led the squad with 14.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.

He said he slacked on his conditioning after Arizona's season ended in March.

"I was definitely out of shape," Hill said. "After the summer league, I spent some time with my family and went back to New York and started to get back in shape."

Mark Singelais can be reached at 454-5509 or by e-mail at


At a glance

What: NBA preseason game

Who: New York Knicks vs. New Jersey Nets

Where: Times Union Center

When: 2 p.m. today


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 7, 2009


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