Hill and Sullivan Not Done With Basketball Yet

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

Torry Hill and Jordan Sullivan, the two seniors on last year’s Lady Griz team, both were raised on basketball, so it should come as no surprise that the conclusion of their college playing careers in March did not signal the end of their time in the sport.

Hill will be an assistant coach next season for Rocky Mountain College in Billings, and Sullivan is close to finalizing a contract to play professionally in Denmark.

“It’s not a surprise,” said UM coach Robin Selvig, who coached the two players to 81 wins in four years and a pair of NCAA tournaments. “They are both basketball junkies, so it makes sense they would both want to stay involved in some way.”

Hill will join the coaching staff of Wes Keller, who was hired in March after eight seasons as an assistant and associate head coach with the successful Rocky Mountain men’s basketball program.

Hill also will have the title and duties of assistant AD under Bruce Parker, who left Carroll College in the spring after 11 successful years with the Saints to return to his hometown.

Jr. Guard, Torry Hill.  Photo by Austin Smith.

Torry Hill becomes assistant coach at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. Photo by Austin Smith for Make it Missoula.

An honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference selection as a senior, Hill finished her Lady Griz career with 1,060 points. She is one of 30 players in program history to reach 1,000 points. Her 202 3-pointers rank No. 4 in Montana history, and she ranks seventh in both assists (436) and steals (199).

“Torry will do great,” Selvig said. “She understands the game really well and obviously loves it, and having that passion and understanding are what a coach needs to have.”

Sullivan will soon have a finalized contract with Stevnsgade, a club team located in Copenhagen that plays in Denmark’s seven-team Dameligaen league. Her nine-month contract will run from August to May, the playing season from September to April.

She becomes the third former Lady Griz in the last two years to extend their playing careers in Europe. Katie Baker played last season for a team in Luxembourg, Alyssa Smith for a team in Romania. Both were satisfied with playing just a single season overseas.

Lady Griz Jordan Sullivan.  Photo by Austin Smith.

Jordan Sullivan will play for Stevnsgade, a club team located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Austin Smith for Make it Missoula.

“This is something I really wanted to do, and I’m looking forward to everything that comes with it. I don’t know what it’s going to be like to be that far away and not really know anybody, so I’ll have to wait and see how it goes,” Sullivan said.

“At first I thought this might be something I want to go and do for a year, but I don’t know why I would limit myself to one year if I enjoy myself. But I’ve got to get through one year first.”

Living abroad will be a new experience for Sullivan, but she should be one of the top players in the Dameligaen, much like she was in the Big Sky Conference.

Julie Forster, who played at Albany, and Sarah Eichler, who played at Wisconsin-Green Bay, successful mid-major programs like Montana, were the two U.S. players on Stevnsgade last season.

Both averaged more than 17 points per game to rank third and fourth in the Dameligaen in scoring. Both have moved on to other leagues in Europe but were more than willing to share their experiences with one of the U.S. players taking their spots on the 2014-15 Stevnsgade roster.

“They told me it’s a decent league but not the most competitive,” Sullivan said. “But they both really liked it and had good experiences. They couldn’t say enough good things about the team and how welcoming and how fun it was.

“They both said it was a great place to start their professional careers.”

Picture2Like Baker, Sullivan used agent Jeanne McNulty-King, who happens to be a former Lady Griz standout (1985-90) and was the 1990 Big Sky Conference MVP.

McNulty-King is the president and CEO of 2X Inc., a sports agency based in Port Townsend, Wash.

“At first I was kind of hoping to play in Australia. That was kind of my dream place to go, but they play a summer league, so by the time our season got done and I started working with Jeanne, it was too late for that,” Sullivan said.

“I saw Jeanne last month at the Spokane Hoopfest (3-on-3 tournament), and she told me I would probably get offers from Germany or Portugal. Then she told me the very next day that Denmark just came up and needed a player my size.”

While Hill may have moved into coaching in the more official capacity, Sullivan will get her own taste of the profession in Denmark. It’s part of her contract that she’ll be coaching a youth team within the Stevnsgade club system.

“(Forster and Eichler) said one of the most stressful things for them last year was getting over there and a week or two in having to coach these 9- and 10-year-old boys who don’t know any English,” Sullivan said. “So that should be interesting.

“They did it together, so I’m looking forward to having a buddy to laugh with me and look stupid with me.”

Her Montana playing career may have ended four months ago with a loss to San Diego in the WNIT round of 32, but Sullivan’s connections to the Lady Griz remain strong.

Her uncle is entering his 37th season as head coach, her cousin, Carly Selvig, will be a redshirt senior next year, and she has friends up and down the roster.

The Dameligaen breaks for three weeks over Christmas and New Year’s, and Sullivan has already done the crosschecking of both teams’ schedules.

“I think I can make it back for the Holiday Classic,” she said.

Montana Sports Information