Suiting up for the Indomitable Lions rekindles Hill's love for basketball

    It's been pure happiness for Jeremiah Hill with Cameroon.

    JERUSALEM (Israel) - Since donning the colors of Cameroon's Indomitable Lions, Jeremiah Hill has developed an appreciation for international basketball. He also feels it has rekindled his love for the game.

    Hill joined Cameroon during the final window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers and has become a fixture in their squad.

    "I think very few have an appreciation for it (international basketball)... To be in a setting where you play for something bigger than yourself or any money you can earn. It rejuvenated my desire to play basketball. While making money is important in our careers, sometimes the joy of playing is something many of us lose. So this brought back that element of the game for me," said Hill in an interview with FIBA.basketball.

    Jeremiah Hill is seen in action against Egypt during the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers

    Hill, 28, has played overseas since 2019, when he moved to Kazakhstan to suit up for BC Astana. He has also played in France for Gravelines, in Spain for Betis Sevilla and Giron, and in Russia with Rune Moscow.

    His renewed love for the game will hopefully benefit Cameroon as the serious business of the Olympics Qualifying Tournament (OQT) looms.

    The Indomitable Lions will head to Latvia in July (2-7) to compete in one of the OQTs, and Hill will lead Cameroon's Olympic Games quest.

    Before discussing the road to the Paris Games (July 26 - August 11), Hill, among 26 players selected for Cameroon's preliminary squad, reflected on how they earned the ticket to Riga, the Latvian capital.

    Hill and Cameroon had a triumphant run in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2023 Nigeria.

    Hill averaged 18.3 points per game, three rebounds per game and 9.3 assists per game at an efficiency of 22.3.

    Camreroon clinched the African ticket for the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

    "You could see our joy throughout the tournament. The coach (Alfred Aboya) did right by us. He reminded us that everyone would doubt us, and no one would believe we could it (qualify)," said Hill.

    "We enjoyed every moment because we will not play together forever. We have grown from the World Cup qualifiers to the point that got us to where we are headed (Latvia).

    "So the looks on our faces in the end and all our joy... It was pure happiness."

    But can Cameroon's joy and happiness become bliss ahead of their Group B qualifiers against Brazil and Montenegro?

    "It will be hard... But they are players like we are players. We will bring our own African style. We are going to have to be physical. I think that will be our biggest advantage. Hopefully it will go well," said Hill.

    Jeremiah Hill (left)

    With players like Pascal Siakam and Ulrich Chomche, who declared for this year's NBA draft, called up for the Lions, their odds of making it to Paris improve significantly.

    While Hill was non-commital about the potential arrival of Indiana Pacers player Siakam, he was impressed with Chomche, whom he played with in the Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2023

    "I know the players that I have played with. I can't really speak on Siakam. I know the guys we have. It took us two windows to build our core. With them, I feel we can take over the world. I will always feel good with them," said Hill.

    "With Chomche, we talked a lot, and I reminded him he is still a young guy, but in Jordan (Bayehe) and Paul (Eboua), we have experienced bigs who play basketball at a high level too. I have told him not to be discouraged by his minutes because there will be a time when his number is called.

    Ulrich Chomche

    "There might be a time when he is needed to save us. His shot-blocking ability is something you can't teach. So, I definitely have spoken to him about being patient and taking advantage of learning the other guys in the team as they are pros too."

    The real test for Cameroon on the global stage will happen soon.

    Check out Cameroon in the Qualified Team Focus Series:

    Qualified Team Focus - Cameroon: Indomitable Lions go hunting for Olympics debut

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