Parris Hill '16 never had a problem scoring the basketball for Mitchell College, a talent that has taken him into the professional ranks in Italy. The Stockton, Calif. native signed a deal this past fall to play with Nuova Cestistica Barletta of Serie D.
Hill was one of the most prolific scorers in Mitchell's history, finishing with 1,440 career points in 62 games over three seasons. The three-time NECC all-conference selection ranked among the nation's top scorers in each of his final two seasons, and he helped the Mariners to their first-ever NECC title and NCAA bid in 2014.
Hill joined the Barletta squad in late September and has continued his scoring ways. He most recently netted a team-high 29 points in a win over Olympia Rutigliano, and earlier in the season he dropped in a season-high 33 points in a victory over Cus Bari.
Hill took some time on a recent road trip to answer some questions about his new venture.
How did this opportunity come about?
First off, I would like to say hey to everyone at Mitchell College. Happy Holidays ... hope all is well!
After my senior season I knew I wanted to pursue a pro basketball career -- it was a goal of mine since I was a child. I started researching agents and tried to learn the business, with the goal of getting my info out there for teams to view. A lot of agents contacted me, but one in particular got in touch in April, presented me with a plan, and answered all my questions. After I signed, I started training until the call came that I had an offer in Italy, and now I'm out here.
Is basketball in Italy different than in the U.S., and if so, what is the biggest adjustment you've had to make?
Yes, it's very different. The rules here are different than in the U.S. You rebound the ball off the rim, and you have to dribble before your off-pivot foot touches the ground or it's a travel. To me, the game is much slower. Getting adjusted to the new rules has been difficult, but it's just something you work on at practice.
What is the best part of playing professionally overseas?
The best part of playing overseas for me right now is the fans. Kids are running up to me wanting pictures, and I've signed a couple of autographs, which is unreal to me. The fans in Barletta are very passionate. It's very good energy to feed off. It makes me happy to see the fans enjoy a win over another team. Even on road games kids from opposing teams want to talk with me. So wherever I go I'm meeting new fans. Also, I enjoy all the free food we get (LOL).
What has been the biggest challenge/obstacle playing professionally overseas?
The biggest challenge is adjusting to living in another environment. A lot of people might want to play overseas, but they never think about living in another country for 8-10 months out of the year. You have to adjust to another culture, and that's something you need to think about. Very few people here speak English, so you never know what's being said. Regular activities are a lot different from the U.S. -- I've learned that you have to go with the flow.
How are you doing individually, and how is the team doing?
Our team is doing very well. Midway through the season we are in third place with a record of 8-3. I'm doing ok -- I'm currently averaging 27.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. [Click here for stats]
What about life outside of basketball … what's your typical day like?
Life outside of basketball is very interesting because we have a lot of free time. On an average day I'll wake up at 9 a.m. and walk to the gym to get some shots up. At about 11 I go to my lunch spot downtown, enjoy a meal, and then head back home. From 3 to 7:30 p.m. I hang out in the house, maybe take a nap or watch a lot of Netflix. Then it's off to practice from 8:30- 10. Afterwards we grab more food (depending on the day, we have different dinner spots), and then I head back home for the night.
Has the language barrier been difficult? Have you learned any Italian?
The language barrier was very difficult when I got here, but basketball translates in every language. We have some players who translate for us because our coaches don't speak English at all. At the beginning I had trouble, but now after three months I've started to pick up a little bit. I'm actually learning Italian, but mostly by trial and error. But I know to say "hi" (ciao), "good morning" (buongiorno), and my favorite -- "I don't understand" (no capito). And I know how to order all my food, so I'm learning bit by bit. But as the months go by I hope to learn a lot more.
Parris Hill '16 Continues His Basketball Career in Italy
Dec 21, 2016