Xavier Hill-Mais is headed to Oakland University in Michigan and if not for a scooter, he may have been looking at a different ride…..
Coach Saddi Washington’s scooter helped Oakland stick out to Xavier Hill-Mais(Page High School)…
from Dave Pemberton with the Daily Tribune at Oakland, Michigan:www.dailytribune.com
In the competitive world of recruiting, coaches will use anything to gain an edge.
Oakland assistant coach Saddi Washington was able to help the Golden Grizzlies land power forward Xavier Hill-Mais from Page High School in North Carolina in part due to some misfortune on his part.
Washington tore his Achilles and had to use a scooter to get around during recruiting trips. It was an inconvenience for Washington, but it helped him stick out to Hill-Mais.
“It was kind of funny because coach Washington started recruiting me (and) he tore his Achilles so he used to always have a scooter,” Hill-Mais said. “He would push himself around in the scooter. It was kind of funny because every time I would be in the gym about to play I would always see coach Washington on the scooter so that kind of stuck with me. He kept recruiting me and it stuck.”
Washington’s scooter helped Oakland stick out to Hill-Mais, but it’s certainly not what sealed the deal.
Hill-Mais took an official visit to Oakland and left feeling like it was the right place for him.
“When I went up there, the campus, I loved it,” Hill-Mais said. “The basketball team seemed pretty good and they have a good fan base around the school. Once I went up there and the coach really explained how I would fit in to the Oakland basketball team, I really thought that it fit me. I made my decision based off that.”
Hill-Mais said he narrowed his choice down to two schools Oakland and Drexel, where he also made an official visit.
The 6-foot-7, 235 pound Hill-Mais is a physical presence for Page High School, which reached the semifinals in Class 4-A, which is the highest public school division in North Carolina.
Page was ranked No. 1 for most of the season and finished with 27-3 record.
Page head coach Matt Harder called Hill-Mais the enforcer for his team and said Hills-Mais gives Page a strong physical presence inside.
“One of the things that you’ll notice immediately is his stature and his frame,” Harder said. “He’s pushing 6-8, he’s a legitimate 230, 235-pound big man. He’s got about a 7-foot-2 wing span as well. He’s a big boy, big body.
“Skill wise, he can score over both shoulders in the paint. He’s very comfortable using his left hand and his right hand inside. He’s got a decent shot out to about 10 to 15 feet.
“Probably the best things that he has is his motor and his competitiveness. He’s definitely a warrior on the court. He gives 110 percent. He’s just a non-stop guy on both ends. Great defender. Also works really, really hard on the offensive glass. I think that’s what sets him apart from his competition.”