March 2, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior guard Chris Hill (Indianapolis, Ind.) was named the 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year and First-Team Academic All-American on Wednesday, earning first-team honors for the second straight year and Academic All-America accolades for the third straight season, having received third-team honors in 2003. Hill sports a 3.75 grade-point average as a finance major. He is also a member of MSU's Honors College.
"Being named Academic All-American of the Year is an unbelievable honor, and I probably won't be able to fully appreciate what it means until years later when I look back at my college career," said Hill. "When I came to Michigan State, my goal was to become an Academic All-American. It wasn't until last year that I even knew that there was a single person honored. Even still, my goal going into this season was just to become an Academic All-American.
"I have to give a lot of credit to my parents for instilling the work ethic and discipline in me, both academically and athletically. They taught me the importance of setting goals and keeping sight on them through ups and downs."
"As I told my team, you don't have the opportunity to coach or play with someone who has accomplished a top honor very often," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "We are very proud of what Chris has accomplished on the court, but even prouder of what he's been able to accomplish in the classroom. I feel honored to have coached the Academic All-American of the Year."
This season, Hill is averaging 9.8 points and a team-best 4.5 assists. He ranks fourth in the Big Ten in assists and leads the conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.05-to-1. He ranks second at MSU in career 3-point field goals made (299) and attempted (703). Hill stands seventh in MSU history in career assists (424) and 11th in career scoring (1,493 points), making him just one of four players in MSU history with more than 1,400 career points and 400 career assists.
"Michigan State has been a great place for me to excel academically and athletically," Hill said. "With the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, we have an unbelievable facility for our student-athletes, and a great support staff to help us with all of our academic needs. In addition, Coach Izzo pushes all of his players to excel in every aspect of college life, including academics."
"Chris Hill is one of the hardest working students I've encountered in my 14 years working with student-athletes," said Liz Friedman, associate director of Student-Athlete Support Services and the academic support coordinator for the men's basketball team. "His commitment to excellence in all facets of his life is unparalleled. I'm proud of all that he's accomplished academically and thrilled that he has earned this most prestigious honor."
Hill is one of just four players in MSU history to receive Academic All-America honors, and the only one to be honored more than once. Ralph Simpson was the first honoree in 1970. Greg Kelser was a first-team recipient in 1979 and Matt Steigenga earned third-team honors in 1990.
Hill is joined on the first team by Southern Methodist's Eric Castro, Mercer's Will Emerson, West Virginia's Johannes Herber and Southeast Missouri State's Derek Winans.