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Marius Hill recorded 14 points and 12 rebounds against Curie on Dec. 9. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media

The last couple of years Homewood-Flossmoor has had great individual talent but faulty chemistry. Now the Vikings have grit, toughness and a chip on their shoulder exemplified by the team’s undersized 6-5 senior, Maurius Hill.

“He’s a gold-seal approval kind of kid,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach Jim McLaughlin said about the versatile Hill. “We brought him up as a sophomore two years ago. Last year we had a senior-dominated team, but we had some [disciplinary] issues with some of them, so he ended up starting quite a few games.

“I think he learned from that experience of the right way to play. He’s unselfish, a blue-collar type of player who plays with tremendous heart and he has worked to develop his skills.”

He plays with a high motor and gets after it. Hill has been a double-double machine for the 7-0 Vikings who climbed to No. 4 in the Sun-Times’ rankings after his stellar recent performances of 13 points and 10 rebounds against Joliet West and 14 points and 12 rebounds against Curie and its 6-9 nationally-rated junior center Cliff Alexander.

For his achievements, Hill is the Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.

Hill said his work ethic is what separates him from his peers. “I think the major thing about my game is that I have always played hard,” he said. “Everything we do, on offense and defense, is we go hard and make the best of the situation.”

When Homewood-Flossmoor features a bigger lineup with 6-8 Tai Odiase and 6-9 Lamar Wofford-Humphrey, McLaughlin has the option of playing Hill at either small forward, “or even a third guard.”

Hill likes the unorthodox matchups he uses to his advantage. His length and size is ideal for disrupting other teams’ offenses.

“That’s what I’ve been working on, my face-up game and stepping out,” he said. “A lot of times when I have bigger opponents sticking me, I am able to use my quickness and speed to get around them.

“I think scoring and getting to the basket, shooting the 10-foot jumper, those are the strengths of my game.”

Hill has drawn interest from programs such as Loyola and Eastern Illinois. McLaughlin said the team is excited about the next phase of the season, the headliner being the expanded 32-team Proviso West tournament.

Hill said this year’s team has been bruised by the past reputation of the Vikings underachieving, and they are determined to reverse that opinion. “We have that chip on our shoulder because people think we’re not supposed to beat teams like Curie, or people who say we don’t have as much talent as the past.

“We want to prove everybody wrong.”

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