BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) – The Western Reserve Blue Devils boys basketball team has been a strong contender in both the ITCL and now the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference due to some very special players. One of those players in 2017-2018 is senior forward Kade Hillis.
Hillis, who signed a letter of intent to continue his basketball career at Tiffin University earlier this year, has been a leader for the Devils both in his junior and now more so in his senior season. That is something his head coach Patsy Daltorio has watched Hillis grow into over his high school career.
“When you’re a kid with the ability like him and the frame that he has, you’re asked to do some things and put in a leadership role maybe when your not ready,” Daltorio explained. “He has since grown and done a really nice job of welcoming that responsibility and understanding what comes with it. No doubt there are bumps along the road, but he has come back full circle and has become one of our, if not our best leaders on the floor.”
Having a player like Hillis sign with a university to continue his athletic career is not only something Daltorio is proud of but something that the entire Western Reserve school and community are honored to have, “It’s incredible,” Daltorio remarked. “When you talk about a program staple right there, it’s incredible. It’s the first time it’s ever happen here, ever. It’s a historical accomplishment not only for him and his family, but his school, the program, and the community. I’m really proud to see that.”
“It was a shock quite honestly,” Hillis said of being offered a scholarship from Tiffin. “It was something I have been dreaming about my entire life. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. It’s a great school there too.”
Hillis will major in chemistry with the hope to become a physician assistant. “Major in chemistry and then after that two years in physician assistant school and then off into the real world,” Hillis said with a smile.
Hillis admitted that he would never have received the opportunity if it wasn’t for his teammates, “These guys made me look good to get me there. We’re a veteran team, we have a lot of seniors.”
Hillis realizes that he will need to continue to work on his game going on to the next level, “Strength, of course, it’s a different level. Division two. Rebounding, but it’s all about strength, that’s the big thing. Being a good teammate is also what they said was a big thing.”
Kade is the youngest son of Robin and James Hillis, who have experienced the recruitment process before. Middle son Cody is currently playing defensive end at Walsh University, while older son Kyle is in his second year at Akron. Kade was also a standout football player on the Devils team, but obviously, basketball is his first love.
“A great kid,” Daltorio remarked. “A good student and fun to be around. A great personality. And he is good with the guys on the team. He has grown in that facet. He started out as a young kid with a lot of ability and had to realize that it was a process. Coming in his freshman year thinking you’re going to do these things and it was a learning process and he took some bumps along the road. But he has developed into an all-around good young man.”
The Western Reserve community has a lot to be proud of in their school and athletic accomplishments. Kade is proof of not only the exceptional talents some of their young people possess but also the type of person they can be proud of to call their own.