PITTSBURGH — Let me set a scene for you.
Seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill is the first of the esteemed guests at Tuesday’s NABC Coaches vs. Cancer charity gala to arrive in the North Club Lounge at Heinz Field.
Hill had come straight into the city from the airport, and he’s early because he gave himself plenty of time. For the next few hours, he’s going to meet, greet, wine and dine the leading men and women of the Pittsburgh basketball community. Hours after start of the event, he will head back to the airport to fly back home. All that to attend an event that is one of dozens around the country in a city that he has no particular connection to.
That’s the value of a relationship. Hill came to Pittsburgh because a few months earlier, his friend and former college teammate Jeff Capel came to Pittsburgh. When the NABC needed a headline speaker for its event, they went to Capel, who picked up the phone and Hill answered it.
It shows the bond that the two formed 25 years ago as teammates at Duke. It also shows, according to Hill, one of the best personality traits of Capel: the ability to connect with people on a personal level. That’s what’s made Capel one of the best recruiters in college basketball the last few years as an assistant at Duke, and it’s one of the things that Hill thinks makes a coach a good one.
He should know. Besides playing alongside Capel for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Hill played for Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in the NBA and Lenny Wilkens in the Olympics. Hill knows good coaching, and he believes Capel has all the tools to be successful at Pitt.
Here’s more from Capel and Hill on their relationship and coaching in 2018: