Jeromie Hill, the UTSA basketball team’s award-winner, has somewhat more than a crosstown commute. Arguably, he has what is probably the longest commute to school: 8,300 miles.
But despite playing ball halfway around the world from home, the 22-year-old native of Cairns, a beachside city of 150,000 in Queensland, Australia, plays “grouse.” That is Aussie slang for very good.
Hill had never been to Texas before arriving three years ago, but he was pleasantly surprised by the similarities: warm weather, lots of wide-open spaces and engaging, friendly people. Only the koalas and the ’roos were replaced by coyotes and rattlesnakes.
It didn’t take the 6’8” senior power forward long to adjust: the water in his coastal home town, where the tropical rain forest meets the Great Barrier Reef, is about as warm as the Gulf of Mexico. So he and his girlfriend frequently find themselves in Corpus Christi, Texas, enjoying the warm seawater.
While he quickly developed a taste for that king of Texas food, steak, Hill is still blown away “by how everything is bigger in Texas: the cars, roads, food portions, number of students in school,” as he told an online sports fan site.
He was recruited by a number of colleges, but he chose UTSA because he’d get a chance to be a starter as a freshman after attending high school at the prestigious Australian Institute of Sport.
But he also chose UTSA “because of the weather and the people of San Antonio. The people here made my transition easy. I also chose [UTSA] because this school is going places at a rapid pace and I want to be a part of that.”
Hill has been a standout hoopster, having twice been named to the All-Southland Conference team. In his first year, he was named 2010–11 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year.
As a sophomore, he led the team with 204 rebounds. He also earned the conference’s Student Athlete of the Year award for his 3.25 GPA in the College of Business, where he is a marketing major hoping to go into sports, entertainment and tourism management.
But first, he plans to pursue professional basketball opportunities after he graduates next year.
As a junior last season, he racked up impressive stats: 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while averaging 31 minutes of playing time on his way to All Conference second-team honors.
“I think it is realistic that I will play professionally,” he said. “It is more a matter of where, at what level and for how much. I could make the pros in Australia, but I hope to play in Europe,” where salaries are higher, as is the level of play.