For Jordan Hill and the University of Wisconsin men's basketball program, it was a case of love at first sight for both parties.
Badgers coach Bo Ryan was so impressed after watching Hill for the first time during the King James Summer Showcase AAU tournament in Chicago in mid-July that he offered the 6-foot-3 guard from Pasadena, Calif., a scholarship a few days later.
And an unofficial visit to UW last week made such an impact on Hill that he decided he had seen enough during the recruiting process. He orally committed to the Badgers on Tuesday.
Hill, who already has graduated from high school and will play next season at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, is the third member of UW's 2013 recruiting class. He joins La Crosse Aquinas guard Bronson Koenig and Minnetonka (Minn.) swingman Riley Dearring in what could be a five-member class by the time it's complete.
While Ryan and his staff have been recruiting some prospects in the 2013 class for more than two years, it was a classic case of speed dating with Hill. Ryan can't comment on Hill until he signs a National Letter of Intent in November, but Hill said the Badgers weren't even on his radar when the July evaluation period began.
"It's been kind of crazy," Hill said.
According to Hill, who played this summer for the BTI Pump N Run AAU program based in southern California, he was told by Ryan that what impressed the coach most was watching his work ethic during drills 45 minutes before an 8 a.m. game in Chicago. Hill played well that game, then played "one of the best games I've ever played" in the next game.
Hill didn't have to wait long to get a scholarship offer from Ryan, who also has extended an offer to Hill's AAU teammate, Bryan Alberts, a 6-5 guard in the 2014 class.
Hill, who averaged 14.4 points and 7.5 rebounds last season at Pasadena La Salle High School, barely registered a blip on the recruiting websites' radars before the July evaluation period and doesn't have an impressive list of scholarship offers. UW is the only high-major program to offer Hill, who was also being recruited by Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Florida Gulf Coast, Kent State, Santa Clara and Yale.
BTI founder Robert Icart says Hill is a late bloomer — he won't turn 18 until December — who kept showing steady improvement before making a huge jump this summer.
"He kind of ran the marathon and just kept getting better and better," Icart said of Hill, who spent time at both guard positions. "A year ago, he was probably a bubble Division I guy. But he's got high-major work ethic. …
"A kid like Jordan, you have to evaluate over the duration of a tournament — four, five, six games — and you realize how efficient he is, how well he defends, how he doesn't take plays off."
One of the first things that stood out to Jay Tilton about Hill was his willingness to play defense.
"In an AAU game, he'll defend, which is a rare feat," said Tilton, the coach at Phillips Exeter Academy, an academically prestigious prep school. "He's a terrific on-ball defender."
"He can score, but he doesn't need to shoot the ball to play well. He has the ability to make people around him better players. When he walks in a gym, you know who's in charge."
UW-Virginia tipoff set
The Badgers' ACC/Big Ten Challenge game against Virginia on Nov. 28 at the Kohl Center will start at 6 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2, the Big Ten announced.
The Cavaliers, who are coached by former UW assistant Tony Bennett, went 22-10 and advanced to the NCAA tournament last season.