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Before his senior year at Burley High School began, Jackson Hill wasn’t sure he’d be able to play basketball at the college level. Track felt like his only college sports option.

But in September, he went to a basketball showcase in Utah. Southwestern Oregon Community College was there, as well, and the Lakers were impressed with what they saw from Hill. They offered him a men’s basketball scholarship before he traveled back to Burley, he said.

Hill took some time to consider his options and help the Burley boys basketball team contend for a state title. On Monday, he accepted SWOCC’s offer, and he’ll head to Coos Bay in the fall.

“Basketball’s my love,” Hill said over the phone on Wednesday. “I don’t think I could’ve picked a better school to continue my basketball career.”

Hill said his athletic scholarship will cover two terms of tuition during his two years at SWOCC. He also received an offer from Umpqua CC and drew interest from Treasure Valley CC, he said, but neither could measure up to SWOCC.

“They had contacted me the most, so that really drew me close to them,” he said. “I like the campus and I like the coaches, and there’s good chemistry on the team.”

This past winter, Hill helped the Burley boys basketball team reach the 4A state title game, where it lost to undefeated Preston. In 26 games with the Bobcats, Hill averaged 8.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.5 percent on field goals, 33.3 percent on 3-pointers (27 attempts) and 66.1 percent on free throws. He also threw down many powerful dunks throughout the season.

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Last spring, Hill posted strong marks in the high, long and triple jumps for the Burley track team. He thought he could attract some track recruiters, but he didn’t receive much interest by the time fall rolled around. After SWOCC and Umpqua gave him offers, Hill decided to trade track for baseball this spring. More of his friends play baseball than track at Burley, he said.

Hill was impressed by the Coos Bay area, especially the abundant fishing options around the coastal town. But basketball was his No. 1 priority, and SWOCC gave him a great opportunity now and in the future.

“They’re my greatest pick to continue on after two years,” he said.

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