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Hill takes aim at free-throw title

March 16, 2012
By Michael Bleach - DMG Sports Writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET - Ali Haidar, Sam Hoyt and Lindsey Lindstrom all were Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team members for Michigan Tech this season. Alex Culy, Austin Armga and Ben Stelzer all qualify percentage-wise as top shooters for the college game.

And Davin Hill, a CLK Elementary third-grader from Hancock, can outshoot any of them from the free-throw line.

Hill, the son of Calumet girls basketball coach Don Hill, will be in Angola, Ind., this Saturday to participate in the Elks Hoop Shoot Regional Final free-throw shooting contest. Davin qualified as the lone Michigan representative after knocking down 22-of-25 (88 percent) in the state final, and sinking 23-of-25 and 24-of-25 in the previous two rounds.

Article Photos

CLK?Elementary third-grader Davin Hill takes aim on a practice shot Wednesday in the Calumet High School Gym. Hill will compete in the Elks Hoop Shoot regional finals this weekend in Angola, Ind. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)

While the free throw line is at 11 feet (instead of the typical 15) for the 8-9-years-old age division, 92 percent is elite no matter what the distance when you are just reaching four feet tall.

So how did Davin reach the level NBA announcers dub "automatic"?

"Last year my gym teacher told me about it and I said, 'What the heck, I'll try it,'" Davin said.

While being a coach's son certainly helps, Davin's love for the game comes from his own constitution.

You won't find Don trying to live out past dreams through his son.

"When he was two, three years old, he never even used to play, he would just watch and study," Don said. "And then somewhere between then and now, he started picking up a basketball and started doing his own thing."

"I don't push him, I just let him do his own thing. The only coaching I have done is just tell him, 'Whatever you do, just do the same thing every time.' That is the only advice I have given him. And have fun of course."

So what is the routine Davin has adopted at the free throw line?

It is best to let him describe it ... in precise detail.

"I put my right foot back, my left foot forward, take the ball and spin it once, put my hand right on the logo, step forward with my right foot and shoot it," Davin said. "That's it."

If Davin were to defeat the representatives of Indiana and Ohio Saturday, he would reach the National Finals in Springfield, Mass., April 28.

He has been preparing for such an occasion by shooting an estimated 100 free throws a day, including "over 200" Wednesday.

His record for makes in a row is 57. And he has a goal much higher than that to aim for.

"This one guy, when we went down to Grand Rapids, he was a national winner 10 years ago, and his best was like 182 free throws," Davin said.

While rebounding for Davin is pretty easy - Don said he just stands under the net - it is not the only task Don conducts with Davin when it comes to sports.

Davin is an avid baseball player and saw the entire Little League World Series last summer with his dad. He also golfs at a level of similar proficiency to free throw shooting.

"He just plays sports," Don said. "The basketball will be put away before long and the baseball stuff will come out. And then the golf clubs come out.

"He got his first par when he was four years old. Driver, iron and one-putt at 15 (at Portage Lake Golf Course)."

Standing at the free throw line, with nothing but his thoughts and the ball, Davin will take a simple approach Saturday.

"I'm thinking, 'Boy I better make this, otherwise I'm done,'" Davin said.



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