Jade Hill grew up in a well-known Minnesota basketball family that accomplished a lot on the court before she could really make her mark.
When her three siblings went from high school stars to play Division I basketball, that definitely paved the the way for success. She's grateful for their support, especially the advice from Tayler, a former Ohio State guard and WNBA top-four draft pick.
"The biggest things I learned was not to compare myself," Jade Hill, the St. Thomas sophomore point guard said. "And you've got to work for what you want."
She's now working toward creating her own legacy — and it looks different.
Hill chose to stay home and become a key piece of the foundation for St. Thomas women's basketball program that is trying to establish itself after the first year of competing in Division I.
"Our team is really going to attack this season," said Hill, who makes her season debut with the Tommies on Monday at Northern Iowa. "We're the underdogs, so it will be good for us to show we're really talented and can compete with all of these teams."
The talented 5-7 playmaker didn't take long to put her stamp on the Summit League while earning all-newcomer honors despite playing for a 7-21 team that finished 4-14 in the conference.
Hill ranked second for the Tommies in scoring (13.6), and ranked first in assists (3.1), steals (1.5) and minutes per game (36.1). One of the memorable moments of her young career was hitting the game-tying three-pointer in regulation to spark a double overtime win at Western Illinois on Jan. 1.
The Tommies aren't eligible to play in the NCAA tournament until 2026, but they can play in the Summit League tourney this season. After finishing 10th in the conference last season, they were picked eighth in the preseason poll this year.
St. Thomas coach Ruth Sinn said her players stayed in the locker room for more than an hour celebrating the Feb. 26 win at Omaha because their season was over.
"It was really about the experience and how we all came together," Sinn said. "The fun thing about this conference tournament is now we get to continue to improve and get better."
Sinn gave Hill more support in the backcourt, adding D-I transfers and Minnesota natives Alexis Pratt (Omaha), Autam Mendez (San Jose State), and Ellie Dague (North Dakota State). Among the incoming freshman is Stillwater standout Amber Scalia.
"We have more of an understanding of what it is to be Division I and where we want to go," Hill said. "Our transfers and seniors are very good leaders. I'm excited."
Hill and her youngest sister, Angel (at Minnehaha Academy), have kept their family's name going strong on the basketball scene. Her older sisters starred at Minneapolis South before her. Morgan played at Tennessee Chattanooga. P.J., their eldest brother, was a Buckeyes guard before Tayler.
The fourth Hill to play at the D-I level, Jade has the court vision of a true point guard. She's a defensive force, but she also showed off her offensive talent with a roster built mostly for DIII competition last year.
Clearly playing on a different level at season's end, Hill led the team in points in eight of the last 14 games, highlighted by a season-high 27 points in an OT loss against Oral Roberts.
"She's chasing excellence on her own journey," Sinn said. "I think that's kind of the fun part for Jade is she's doing this in her own experience. It's fun to watch the younger sister say, 'I want to be me.'"