Bill McGill

Last updated
Bill McGill
Bill McGill basketball.jpeg
Personal information
Born(1939-09-16)September 16, 1939
San Angelo, Texas
DiedJuly 11, 2014(2014-07-11) (aged 74)
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school Jefferson (Los Angeles, California)
College Utah (1959–1962)
NBA draft 1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Chicago Zephyrs
Playing career1962–1970
Position Power forward / Center
Number12, 40, 24, 14, 25
Career history
19621963 Chicago Zephyrs / Baltimore Bullets
1963–1964 New York Knicks
1964 St. Louis Hawks
1965 Los Angeles Lakers
1964–1967Grand Rapids Tackers
1967–1968Holland Carvers
1968–1969 Denver Rockets
1969 Los Angeles Stars
1969–1970 Pittsburgh Pipers
1970 Dallas Chaparrals
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA and ABA statistics
Points 3,094 (10.5 ppg)
Rebounds 1,286 (4.4 rpg)
Assists 330 (1.1 apg)
Stats at

Bill "Billy" "The Hill" McGill (September 16, 1939 – July 11, 2014) was an American basketball player best known for inventing the jump hook. McGill was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1962 NBA draft from the University of Utah, after leading the NCAA in scoring with 38.8 points per game in 1961-1962.

Basketball team sport played on a court with baskets on either end

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

The 1962 NBA draft was the 16th annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on March 26, 1962, before the 1962–63 season. In this draft, nine NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players. A player who had finished his four-year college eligibility was eligible for selection. If a player left college early, he would not be eligible for selection until his college class graduated. In each round, the teams selected in reverse order of their won–loss record in the previous season. Before the draft, a team could forfeit its first-round draft pick, then select any player from within a 50-mile radius of its home arena as their territorial pick. The Chicago Packers, who finished last in the previous season, were renamed the Chicago Zephyrs. The Philadelphia Warriors relocated to San Francisco and became the San Francisco Warriors prior to the start of the season. The draft consisted of 16 rounds, comprising 102 players selected.


Early life

McGill was born in San Antonio, Texas, where his mother left him in the care of relatives. When he was five, he moved with his mother to Los Angeles, California. [1]

McGill attended Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, graduating in 1958. There he was a four-time All Los Angeles City basketball selection (a second team pick in 1955 and a first team choice from 1956–58) playing for Coach Larry Hanson. He was the Los Angeles City Player of the Year in 1957 and 1958, leading Jefferson to two City Championships, in 1955 and 1958. [2] [3]

Jefferson High School (Los Angeles) public high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District

Thomas Jefferson High School, usually referred to as Jefferson High School, is a public high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Founded in 1916, it is the fourth oldest high school in the school district. Located in South Los Angeles, its surrounding communities are Downtown, Central-Alameda, Florence, Historic South-Central and South Park. Jefferson's school colors are kelly green and gold and the sports teams are called the Democrats, or Demos for short. In 2006, a pilot program called New Tech: Student Empowerment Academy began in the northeast portion of the school. New Tech has since become a separate charter school housed in the Jefferson building. In 2016 New Tech closed down and the available space is now used by Nava College Preparatory Academy a pilot school that was established in 2014.

It was during his junior year at Jefferson that he severely injured his knee in a game against Fremont High School. McGill never followed the recommended medical advice for the injury, as doctors told him not to play basketball any longer and wanted to replace the knee. For years, a doctor secretly drained his knee regularly. [4] [5] [1]

Over 250 colleges recruited McGill. He was strongly recruited to Cal by Coach Pete Newell, but his academics weren't strong enough for him to be admitted. [4] [6]

Peter Francis Newell was an American college men's basketball coach and basketball instructional coach. He coached for 15 years at the University of San Francisco, Michigan State University and the University of California, Berkeley, compiling an overall record of 234 wins and 123 losses. He led the University of California to the 1959 NCAA men's basketball championship, and a year later coached the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 1960 Summer Olympics, a team that would be inducted as a unit to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. After his coaching career ended he ran a world-famous instructional basketball camp and served as a consultant and scout for several National Basketball Association (NBA) teams. He is often considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of basketball.

McGill recalled his visit to the University of Utah and Hall of Fame Coach Jack Gardner. He said Salt Lake City was "overwhelming and beautiful," adding, "Nothing I have seen on the streets of LA have prepared me for this. It's breathtaking." [7]

University of Utah public coeducational space-grant research university in Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah is a public research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. As the state's flagship university, it offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and more than 92 graduate degree programs. The university is classified among "Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity" with "selective, higher transfer-in" admissions. Graduate studies include the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the School of Medicine, Utah's first medical school. As of Fall 2015, there are 23,909 undergraduate students and 7,764 graduate students, for an enrollment total of 31,673.

Jack Gardner (basketball) American basketball coach

James H. "Jack" Gardner was an American college men's basketball coach, known for his tenures as the head coach at Kansas State University and the University of Utah. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“(McGill) was a player I had to have,” said Gardner years later. [8]

College career

A 6'9" center/forward from the University of Utah, McGill was the NCAA scoring leader in the 1961–1962 season with 1,009 points in 26 games (38.8 points per game), a higher one-season average than any previous player except Frank Selvy in the 1953–1954 season. [9]

In 1959-1960, McGill, the first black player at Utah, led the team in averaging 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds, as the Utah Utes men's basketball team finished 26-3 under Coach Jack Gardner. McGill had 31 points and 13 rebounds in an upset 97-92 regular season victory over #2 ranked and eventual NCAA Champion Ohio State and Jerry Lucas. [10] [11] [12]

The Utes were selected to play in the 1960 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament. There, they beat USC 80-73 in the first round, behind 27 points and 10 rebounds from McGill. [13] Utah then lost to Oregon 65-54 in the West Regional Semi-Final, as McGill was limited by foul trouble, fouling out with 6 points and 6 rebounds and taking only three shots. [14] Utah then defeated Santa Clara 89-81 in the Consolation, as McGill had 14 points and 6 rebounds. [15]

In 1960-1961, McGill, led the Utes to a 23-8 record and the NCAA Final Four, averaging 27.8 points per game. [16]

In the 1961 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament, McGill scored 20 points and had 13 rebounds in the 91-75 West Regional Semi-Final win over Loyola Marymount. [17] He then led the team to the Final Four with 31 points and 18 rebounds against Arizona State in the Utes 88-80 Regional Final victory.

In the 1961 Final Four, McGill scored 25 points with 8 rebounds in a 82-67 loss to eventual NCAA Champion Cincinnati. [18] McGill then scored 34 points with 14 rebounds in the 3rd place NCAA game against St. Josephs, with Jack Egan and Jim Lynam. [19]

As a senior in 1961-1962, McGill averaged 38.8 points and 15.0 rebounds, leading the Utes to a 26-3 record and a #7 final ranking. [20] Utah was banned from the 1962 NCAA tournament, because a Ute player had earlier accepted a plane ticket from a booster. [21] During the season, McGill scored 60 points vs. Brigham Young on February 24, 1962. [22] His 60 points remains the school record, but that season, he also had nine other over 40 point scoring games: McGill scored 53 vs. Montana on February 10, 1962; 51 vs. West Texas State on December 6, 1961; 50 vs. Wyoming on March 3, 1962; 47 vs. Arizona State on December 2, 1961 and 45 vs. New Mexico, January 13, 1962; 43 vs. BYU on January 20, 1962; 43 vs. Denver on February 17, 1962; 42 vs. Denver on January 11, 1962; 41 vs. Loyola (Calif.) on December 9. 1961 and 41 vs. New Mexico on February 15, 1962. [23] [24] He had 40 points the previous season against Utah State on January 7, 1961. [25] [26]

With Utah banned from the NCAA Tournament, McGill played for Sanders-State Line, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team in the March, 1962 AAU Tournament. He was chosen as an AAU Men's Basketball All-Americans. [27] [28] [29]

McGill is the Utah Utes second all-time scorer (2,321 points) and remains first in rebounding (1,106), playing in just three seasons. Keith Van Horn broke his scoring record in four seasons. His three-year averages were 27.0 points and 12.9 rebounds on 53.0% shooting and 71.0% Free Throws. [30] [31] [32]

Professional career

On March 26, 1962, McGill was selected by the Chicago Zephyrs with the first pick of the 1962 NBA draft. In 1962-1963, as a rookie for Chicago, McGill played in 60 games, averaging 7.4 points and 2.6 rebounds, as the Zephyrs were 25-55 under Jack McMahon and Slick Leonard. [33] [34] McGill received a $5,000 signing bonus and a 2-year contract for $17,000 per year as the No. 1 overall pick. [6]

In 1963-1964, Chicago relocated to become the Baltimore Bullets and McGill was averaging 5.2 points in limited action behind Walt Bellamy, when, on October 29, 1963, he was traded by the Bullets to the New York Knicks for Paul Hogue and Gene Shue. In 68 games with the Knicks, he averaged 16.0 points and 5.9 rebounds. [33] [35]

On October 18, 1964, McGill was traded by the Knicks to the St. Louis Hawks for a 1965 2nd round draft pick (Hal Blevins was later selected). [36] While with the Hawks, McGill taught his jump hook to Bob Pettit, who eventually made the shot a staple of his. [5] After playing sparingly in 16 games for the Hawks, on January 28, 1965, McGill was signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played sparingly in just 8 games. [33]

From 1964-1968, McGill played intermittently in the North American Basketball League for the Grand Rapids Tackers (1964-1967) and Holland Carvers (1967-1968). In 1965-1966 (Grand Rapids) and 1967-1968 (Holland), he was named to the First Team NABL All-Star Team. [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]

On June 7, 1966 McGill signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Warriors, but did not play in a game for the team, as he was waived by the Warriors on October 12, 1966. [33] [42]

In October, 1967, McGill briefly practiced in the preseason with the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association (ABA) before he was waived. [43] [38]

In 1968-1969, McGill resurfaced with the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association, averaging 12.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 78 games, for the 44-34 Rockets under coach Bob Bass. [44]

In 1969-1970, McGill played for three ABA teams in his final professional season. He first averaged 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in 27 games with the Los Angeles Stars and Coach Bill Sharman. Then, McGill played in 8 games for the Pittsburgh Pipers, averaging 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. Finally, his NBA career concluded with a reserve role on the Dallas Chaparrals for 24 games. [33]

Overall, McGill played three seasons (1962–65) in the NBA and 2 seasons (1968–70) in the ABA. In his ABA/NBA career, he scored a combined 3,094 points, averaging 10.5 points and 4.4 rebounds on 51.4% shooting. [33]

The jump hook

McGill is credited with creating the jump hook. [30] Bill Sharman said McGill had "the most fantastic turnaround jump hook there was. Nobody could stop it." Sharman also noted that McGill didn't have the strength or quickness to play effective defense. [6]

The jump hook legend was that it was first used by McGill in the summer of 1955 when then college stars and future Hall-of-fame players Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Guy Rodgers met up with McGill on a LA playground in a pick-up game. McGill was a freshman at Jefferson High School. Russell chose to play with McGill, who then used an impromptu shot against the taller, stronger Chamberlain. The shot was a jump hook. [5] [1]


His pro basketball career did not bring him wealth or security. By the early 1970s, he was in debt and living on the streets before sportswriter Brad Pye Jr. arranged for McGill to be employed by Hughes Aircraft; that job ended in 1995. [45]

The NBA occasionally asked McGill to provide advice to players on the importance of finishing their education through the NBA's Rookie Transition Program. [46] [1]

McGill wrote an Autobiography: Billy “the Hill” and the Jump Hook: The Autobiography of a Forgotten Basketball Legend, written by McGill with Eric Brach (University of Nebraska Press, November 2013). [47]

McGill married Gwendolyn Willie, whose children from another marriage he adopted. His grandson, Ryan Watkins, played basketball at Boise State University. [1]

McGill died on July 11, 2014 from natural causes at the age of 74. [48]


See also

Related Research Articles

Franklin Delano Selvy is a former National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player who is best known for holding the record for the most points (100) in a Division I college basketball game. Born in Corbin, Kentucky, Selvy was an All-State basketball player at Corbin High School and was a teammate of College Football Hall of Fame inductee Roy Kidd. Selvy was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1954 NBA draft.

Mel Daniels American basketball player and coach

Melvin Joe Daniels was an American professional basketball player. He played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) for the Minnesota Muskies, Indiana Pacers, and Memphis Sounds, and in the National Basketball Association for the New York Nets. Daniels was a two-time ABA Most Valuable Player, three-time ABA Champion and a seven-time ABA All-Star. Daniels was the All-time ABA rebounding leader. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Edward Gill III is an American former professional basketball player. Gill grew up in Aurora, Colorado and played college basketball at the College of Eastern Utah, Salt Lake Community College, and Weber State University. With the Weber State Wildcats, Gill was MVP of the 1999 Big Sky Conference Tournament.

Steve Mix American basketball player and coach

Steven Charles Mix, nicknamed The Mayor, is an American former professional basketball player and coach. Mix had a thirteen year playing career, was an NBA All-Star and played in the NBA Finals on four occasions. He had a lengthy career as a broadcaster for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Louis Clyde Hudson was an American National Basketball Association (NBA) player, who was an All-American at the University of Minnesota and a six-time NBA All-Star, scoring 17,940 total points in 13 NBA seasons (1966–1979).

Terry Dischinger American basketball player and coach

Terry Gilbert Dischinger is a retired American basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Dischinger was a 3 × NBA All-Star and the 1963 NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 28 points per game in his three seasons at Purdue University. In 2010, the 1960 United States men's Olympic basketball team of which Dischinger was a member, was collectively inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Dischinger practiced orthodontics after his NBA career.

Ron Boone American basketball player

Ronald Bruce Boone is a retired American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) player. Boone played the most consecutive games played in professional basketball history, 1,041, never missing a game in his career. AC Green has since surpassed the 1,041 games. Boone is the long-time and current color commentator on Utah Jazz broadcasts.

Rod Thorn American basketball player

Rodney King Thorn is an American basketball executive and a former professional player and coach, Olympic Committee Chairman, with a career spanning over 50 years. In 2018, Thorn was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Kent Benson American basketball player

Michael Kent Benson is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player. Having had a prolific career during the 1970s and 1980s, he scored a career high of 38 points, playing college basketball and later spending 11 seasons in the NBA for four teams. Benson was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1977 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Bailey E. Howell is an American former professional basketball player. After playing college basketball at Mississippi State, Howell played twelve seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Howell was a 6-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA Champion and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Leslie "Big Game" Hunter is an American former professional basketball player. He played professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the American Basketball Association (ABA). Hunter attended Loyola University Chicago, where he was the starting center of the team that won the 1963 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Hunter was a two-time ABA All-Star.

Willard Leon "Willie" Sojourner was an American collegiate and professional basketball player and international coach. He played collegiately at Weber State University and went on to a professional career, winning a championship with the New York Nets and playing overseas. The Italian arena PalaSojourner is named in his honor. Sojorner is known for giving his friend and teammate Julius Erving his famous "Dr. J." nickname. He is the older brother of NBA player Mike Sojourner.

Fred W. Hetzel is a retired American basketball player who played six seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was an All-American college player for Davidson College. Hetzel was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1965 NBA draft by the San Francisco Warriors.

Sihugo Green American basketball player

Sihugo "Si" Green was an American professional basketball player who was born in New York City, New York. After playing at Duquesne University, Green was the No. 1 pick of the 1956 NBA draft by the Rochester Royals.

Kurt Nimphius is a retired American National Basketball Association (NBA) player. Nimphius played nine seasons in the NBA after his collegiate career at Arizona State University.

Clarence Glover is a retired American National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player, who played in college at Western Kentucky (1968–1971). Glover was a forward at 6'8" and 210 lb.

Jerry Chambers American basketball player

Jerome Purcell "Jerry" Chambers is a retired American professional basketball player. At 6'5" and 185 pounds, he played as a forward.

Dwight E. Davis is a retired American professional basketball player. After playing college basketball at the University of Houston from 1969–72, Davis was selected as the 3rd overall pick of 1972 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nicknamed "Double D", Davis played for five seasons in the NBA.

William L. "Bill" Buntin was an American basketball player. He played collegiately for the University of Michigan and in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Buntin died of a heart attack at age 26.

Larry Cannon (basketball) American basketball player

Lawrence T. Cannon is a retired American basketball player. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Cannon was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in the 1969 NBA draft. Cannon was an American Basketball Association All-Star, who averaged 16.6 points per game in his professional career after his All-American career at LaSalle College. Cannon was forced to retire from basketball due to a chronic medical condition, phlebitis in his legs.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "A Book for Life - Continuum".
  2. 1 2
  4. 1 2 Crowe, Jerry (20 February 2011). "Billy McGill has difficult time with life after basketball" via LA Times.
  5. 1 2 3 "Walton: The tale of the jump hook". 5 May 2003.
  6. 1 2 3 Underwood, John. "THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL". Vault.
  7. "billy "the hill" and the jump hook".
  8. "Billy McGill – A Redlands Connection".
  9. 1 2 "Utah Basketball All-Century Team Unveiled – The Official Athletic Site of the University of Utah". 2008-02-12. Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  10. "Utah basketball: Utes pioneer Bill McGill dies at 74". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  11. "1959-60 Utah Utes Schedule and Results". College Basketball at
  12. "1959-60 Ohio State Buckeyes Roster and Stats". College Basketball at
  13. "1959-60 Utah Utes Roster and Stats". College Basketball at
  14. "Utah vs. Oregon Box Score, March 11, 1960". College Basketball at
  15. "Utah vs. Santa Clara Box Score, March 12, 1960". College Basketball at
  16. "1960-61 Utah Utes Roster and Stats". College Basketball at
  17. "Utah vs. Loyola Marymount Box Score, March 17, 1961". College Basketball at
  18. "Utah vs. Cincinnati Box Score, March 24, 1961". College Basketball at
  19. "Utah vs. Saint Joseph's Box Score, March 25, 1961". College Basketball at
  20. "1961-62 Utah Utes Roster and Stats". College Basketball at
  21. Benson, Lee (5 January 2014). "About Utah: Billy McGill — basketball king in Utah, but the rest of the story is a downer".
  23. "Single-Game Records". University of Utah Athletics.
  24. "1961-62 Utah Utes Schedule and Results". College Basketball at
  25. "1960-61 Utah Utes Schedule and Results". College Basketball at
  27. "Clipping from The Salt Lake Tribune".
  28. "Amateur Athletic Union Basketball".
  29. Grundman, Adolph H. (1 December 2004). "The Golden Age of Amateur Basketball: The AAU Tournament, 1921-1968". U of Nebraska Press via Google Books.
  30. 1 2 Ford, Steven (16 July 2014). "Billy McGill Lives on in Runnin' Utes Record Book". Block U.
  31. "Billy McGill College Stats". College Basketball at
  32. "Billy McGill".
  33. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bill McGill Stats".
  34. "1962-63 Chicago Zephyrs Roster and Stats".
  35. "1963-64 Baltimore Bullets Roster and Stats".
  36. "St. Louis Hawks Acquire Billy McGill from... - NBA Trades".
  37. "North American Basetball League Standings".
  38. 1 2 "ABA Players-Bill McGill".
  39. "Eastern Basketball Association Rosters".
  40. "Eastern Basketball Association Rosters".
  41. Israels, Owen; Israels, Owen (7 November 2018). "Holland used to be home to semi-pro basketball".
  42. "Bill McGill Player Profile, Golden State Warriors, NBA Stats, NCAA Stats, Game Logs, Bests, Awards - RealGM".
  44. "1968-69 Denver Rockets Roster and Stats".
  45. Crowe, Jerry; Los Angeles Times After basketball, McGill's hills became mountains, February 21, 2011; page C2.
  46. "Former NBA, ABA player passes away, NBRPA mourns the loss".
  47. McGill, Billy; Brach, Eric (1 October 2014). "Billy "the Hill" and the Jump Hook". University of Nebraska Press -- Sample Books and Chapters.
  48. "Utah basketball: Utes pioneer Bill McGill dies at 74". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  49. Rock, Brad (17 February 2008). "Utah's 'Glory Road' almost materialized".
  50. 1 2 "Billy McGill to be Inducted into Pac-12 Hall of Honor". University of Utah Athletics.
  51. "Pac-12 Hall of Honor". Pac-12.
  52. Sondheimer, Eric (20 January 2013). "Los Angeles City Section Hall of Fame adds 42 members" via LA Times.