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George Hill explains reason for backing out of USA Basketball mini-camp

Jul 25, 2013, 5:01 PM EDT

George Hill AP

LAS VEGAS — George Hill was a late scratch for this week’s USA Basketball mini-camp in las Vegas, with the given reason at the time being listed only as a “scheduling conflict.”

That didn’t seem to be a great excuse considering the late date (July 21) that the organization received word that Hill wouldn’t be participating, and program chairman Jerry Colangelo said he’d want to find out what led to Hill’s decision before making a determination on his future chances to make the team.

Hill has now let us know the reason he couldn’t attend: He chose to keep a commitment to kids at his basketball camp in Texas instead.

From Scott Agness of

“You always want to do what’s right and make the right decisions,” Hill told on Thursday. “When it came to either trying to do the (National Team minicamp) and letting kids down, my heart is always where the kids are and impacting the community and the future of the kids. I just knew that it was a great opportunity for me to even be invited there, but I always thought it was also a big opportunity for me to keep my word to these kids and continue to be who I am as a person.”

“I’m sure it’ll affect [my status with the program],” he said. “I’m sure there’s going to be people that don’t agree with my decision but also there’s going to be people that do agree. Knowing that I just stayed true to myself and stayed by my decision to keep my word, I should be fine.”

Hill stands by his decision, and while four days working out with some of the game’s best players is an opportunity missed, he was a long shot to actually make any team USA roster.

Only Colangelo can decide if Hill’s reasoning was good enough to get him a pass, but keeping a commitment to children who signed up to spend time with him at his personal basketball camp would seem to be a solid excuse.

Sure, maybe he could have given more advance notice. But with the final roster ending up with a total of 28 players, the camp had more than enough talent in place — to the point where Hill probably wasn’t even missed.

  1. 12444uggg - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    He doesn’t care. He just can’t say it. And for what it’s worth, I can’ blame him. If they want him when it counts he’ll get the invite, if not he can rest.

    • somekat - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      why would he get an invite when it counts when 28 other guys obviously want it more? I fail to grasp the logic

  2. karlton3 - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    “Sure, maybe he could have given more advance notice.”

    More advanced notice?

    He wasn’t on the roster, then Kawhi Leonard backs out to “rest”, then USA Basketball automatically puts Hill on without asking, and when Hill finds out he can’t make it he tells Colangelo.

    How is that Hill’s fault?

    • Brett Pollakoff - Jul 25, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      Do you really think Hill was “automatically put on without asking?” That’s not how these things work. All he had to do was say he had to check his schedule before accepting and it would have painted him in a better light with USA Basketball.

      It’s not a huge deal either way, and I hardly slammed Hill for the decision — in fact, I said his reason for backing out was a solid excuse.

      • karlton3 - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:40 PM

        “Do you really think Hill was “automatically put on without asking?””

        Yes I do.

        I think at some point prior to this he, along with many other NBA players, indicated they would be interested in participating if chosen. From this field, Colangelo and crew put together a list of participants they wanted to invite to camp, a list which included Kawhi Leonard and not George Hill. At this point after selections (after all, how could Kawhi “skip” camp (your words, btw) if he wasn’t selected already), George Hill set the date for his camp. After Hill’s camp date is set, Leonard changes his mind and Colangelo decides to add Hill based on his previous interest not knowing that after being turned down initially, George Hill set up other opportunities over the off-season.

        So yes, I do think he was added without being asked.

        I think the bigger issue is phrasing it as if he “backed out”. He didn’t back out, he was told that we wasn’t wanted and made plans accordingly. It’s not “backing out” just because you don’t spend all summer waiting by the phone for Colangelo to call and say he changed his mind.

  3. emosnar - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    ‘Only Colangelo can decide if Hill’s reasoning was good enough to get him a pass, ”

    To hell with Colangelo and what he decides what’s good enough. It seems Hill already made that decision.

    Maybe if USA basketball and its band of writer would get off their pompus high horse maybe NBA players wouldn’t be so dismissive or nonchalant. Try directly asking someone if they want to play. Not every player looks at it as a honor. Maybe they no longer look at it that way because USA basketball uses their prestige to manipulate the players. I’m sure they rather be on an island relaxing after a long post season.

    Please. Shove it.

  4. mitchication - Jul 25, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    GH3 doesn’t need to give you, or any blogger, an excuse. Bosses ask for excuses. You are ain’t his boss, sucka!

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