02/18/13 — McDonald's A-A nomination humbles Hill

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McDonald's A-A nomination humbles Hill

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 18, 2013 1:47 PM

The basketball kisses off the glass and drops through the net after a drive to the basket.

A step-back 3-pointer barely touches the rim as it tickles the twine.

Quick hands lead to a steal and uncontested layup.

Aaron Hill has grabbed the spotlight many times on plays like those during his prep career at Faith Christian Academy. The senior almost got the opportunity to shine on a bigger stage and is humbled that he was considered for the prestigious honor.

Hill made the final cut among 3,000 entrants to participate in the 2013 McDonald's All-America Game. However, the committee didn't select the sharp-shooting guard for the 12-player East squad that will battle the West on April 3 in Chicago.

"I was kind of surprised ... shocked, but honored at the same time because not a lot of people get to say they're a McDonald's All-America nominee," Hill said. "I was disappointed to a point (from the announcement) because I felt like I had a little bit of a chance coming from a small town."

School administrators organized an assembly to recognize Hill for his achievement. He received a signed certificate, a McDonald's All-American ballcap and a hoodie from boys' head coach Jeff Stocks.

The celebration came four days before the Conquerors' season ended with a road loss against Wilmington Christian in the N.C. Christian Schools Association playoffs.

Faith ended the year 10-12 overall.

"It has been a pleasure to coach such a talented, hard-working player who has always been an example of a second-mile athlete," Stocks said. "Aaron lives in the gym 12 months a year and it pays off. He and his father are faithful to come to the gym weeknights and Saturdays, and spend hours working on his skill and game."

A member of the National Honor Society and American Christian Honor Society, the confident Hill helped lead Faith Christian to back-to-back final four appearances in the NCCSA playoffs in 2011 and 2012.

Hill earned first-team all-region and all-state accolades as a junior, and emerged the 3-point challenge champion at last year's state tournament.

"There are a lot of things I like about basketball," Hill laughed. "When I get on the court, I just block everything else out. I like playing in front of people, the pace of the game and it's something I've done since I was in the third grade."

Proceeds from the McDonald's All-American games benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The annual affair has raised more than $10 million to help support RMHC's mission of improving the health and well-being of families and children.