FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- Former Arkansas center Steven Hill has signed with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, the team announced on Tuesday.
Hill averaged 4.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots last year as a senior, helping Arkansas go 23-12, reach the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hill was the 2007 SEC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 6.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots. He finished his career second on the school’s career blocked shots list with 318 and became just the fourth player in SEC history to record 300 rejections.
“We’re very happy for him,” head coach John Pelphrey says. “I talked to him when he was leaving Portland and told him this is a journey. It’s not like college. You don’t get to pick where you go. There’s a chance this will not be the last team he goes to, but we knew this day was going to come.”
The Thunder signed Hill, who worked out with the Portland Trail Blazers most of the summer, after releasing point guard John Lucas. The Branson, Mo., native is expected to be on the bench for Wednesday’s game at Boston.
He played in three pre-season games with the Trail Blazers. He had two points and a rebound in almost seven minutes against Sacramento; one point, one rebound, two blocked shots and a steal in almost 19 minutes against Atlanta; and no stats in less than two minutes against Utah.
Oklahoma City’s roster includes centers Johan Petro, Robert Swift and Mo Sene. Hill, who helped Arkansas earn three straight NCAA Tournament bids, is eligible to be sent to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA’s Developmental League.