Leadership is second nature to Southwestern High’s Montrel Hill, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
The 6-3 senior forward is the basketball team’s captain. He is the team’s leading player, averaging 17 points and 15 rebounds a game. He’s also a first lieutenant in Southwestern’s JROTC and is the senior class Valedictorian with a 3.57 grade point average, including a 4.0 last card marking.
Still, in keeping with his leadership qualities, Hill is far from full of his worth and is mindful to credit others.
“In a way, I’m surprised to receive this award,” he said. “I’m honored and proud of myself and proud of my teammates for putting me in this position. I want to thank everyone involved.”
Modesty aside, Hill had three strong performances on the court last week to set him apart. He scored 16 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a 48-46 victory against neighboring rival Western, followed that with 24 points and 20 rebounds in a 57-22 win against CMA and, despite a loss to Central, he still shined with 18 points and 16 rebounds.
“Montrel is just an exceptional athlete,” said Southwestern track coach Windell Hall, noting that Hill is an All-City long jumper as well.
“I’ve known him for four years and even though he’s made mistakes, he’s always recovered and learned from them and gotten stronger. Other athletes see him as a role model and inspiration. His sportsmanship and his hard work in everything he does, in the classroom and in athletics, are values that are instilled in him and they show his mother raised a great son.”
With a commitment to community service through JROTC, Hill is involved in several projects, including visiting senior citizens and military veterans in the hospital.
“We owe the community for looking out for us,” he said. “When you’re doing well, you have to return the favor and give back to your community.”
According to Southwestern’s athletic coordinator, Hill is one of just three PSL players in the running for the Michigan High School Athletic Scholar-Athlete award and demonstrates “the effort, respect and discipline it takes to be a PSL Proud Strong Learner,” Mark Gniewek said.
Hill says his experience of attending Southwestern and competing in the PSL has prepared him for the next level. He’s hoping to earn a scholarship to play college basketball.
“I’ve talked with a couple of schools who are interested in me,” he said. “I would love to play college basketball and study to become a lawyer.
“At Southwestern, I’ve learned how to stay focused on what I’m going for and I’ve received a lot of love and support from everybody. I just want to go even harder as a way of thanking the people who’ve helped me out.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators