Suns News

A Family Affair

Grant Hill arrives with his mother and daughter to Wednesday's press conference at the US Airways Center.
(Jeramie McPeek/Suns Photos)
By Brad G. Faye, Suns.com
Posted: July 11, 2007

While there were a number of photographers on hand Wednesday for the signing of free agent Grant Hill, one appeared to stand out slightly more than the rest. Five-year-old Myla Grace – the daughter of Hill and his wife Tamia – proudly took pictures of her father on the day of the big signing as Hill spoke with several members of the Phoenix media.

Also on hand for the press conference was Janet Hill, who played the role of supportive mother and babysitting grandmother both.

“I’m excited to be here substituting for my daughter-in-law to help keep an eye on (Myla),” Janet said. “(Tamia) is due to give birth in a couple of weeks, and it’s definitely an exciting time and kind of a new beginning for this family. Grant has had a wonderful career so far but has some more career left in him.”

Janet knows a thing or two about professional sports careers, having been the long-time wife of former NFL star Calvin Hill. Calvin enjoyed a successful pro career after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and participated in four Pro Bowls throughout his career as well as two Super Bowls.

Now the son of Janet and Calvin is hoping to play in some championship games of his own in the NBA Finals. Playing in Phoenix with the Suns, the Hills believe Grant may have his best shot yet.

“I think he feels this is his best opportunity to win and he’s married well so his wife agreed to it,” Janet said. “It’s a wonderful organization here in Phoenix and Grant certainly knew that coming in.”

SEAN MARKS AGREES TO ONE-YEAR DEAL

Hill’s arrival wasn’t Phoenix’s only transaction on Wednesday. The Suns re-signed center Sean Marks to a one-year deal which will keep the 32-year-old veteran in the Valley for the 2007-08 season.

Marks has played eight seasons during his NBA career, his best coming in the 2005-06 season when he averaged 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds with the San Antonio Spurs. Last season with Phoenix, Marks played in three regular season games, finishing with six points and three rebounds in 17 minutes.

Following the signing, Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said he wouldn’t be surprised were Marks’ role to expand next season.

“I’m really excited to have Sean back and I think he’s going to find opportunities to play. He’s a guy who fits right into our style and his work ethic really means a lot to this team.”

Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni agreed, “Sean is a great guy who hopefully will find some more opportunities to play. He’s a high character guy and the kind of player who we should be re-signing.”

JUNIOR HEADED TO PORTLAND

On Wednesday a deal was also finalized between the Suns and Trailblazers which will send swingman James Jones north to Portland.

Jones joined the Suns organization in a sign-and-trade deal on August 25, 2005 which sent a second-round draft pick to the Indiana Pacers. The fourth-year player nicknamed Junior enjoyed two seasons in the Valley, playing 151 regular season games and averaging 7.8 points-per-contest in a Suns uniform.

“James has been a heck of a player and contributed a lot,” Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He was at times a starter for us and a big part of the success we’ve enjoyed here these past two seasons.”

D’ANTONI PLEASED WITH PROGRESS IN VEGAS

A busy day for the Phoenix Suns organization continues into Wednesday evening when the Summer Suns play their second game of the 2008 Summer League.

The team fell short in their first contest, 93-89 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the game wasn’t without its bright spots according to Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni.

“We didn’t win the first game but our guys played well,” the 2005 NBA Coach of the Year said. “Alando Tucker and DJ Strawberry played well and Marcus Banks got an opportunity to show that he is a talented basketball player.”

Banks was particularly impressive and scored a Summer League record 42 points in the losing effort. D’Antoni hopes the play can continue for Banks when the Suns begin the 2007-08 NBA season.

“It’s great that Marcus is up there taking advantage of the opportunity and hopefully he’ll come back and be ready to contribute.”

As far as whether or not D’Antoni puts a lot of stock in the importance of rookies like Tucker and Strawberry winning games in Vegas, the Head Coach states that isn’t necessarily the case.

“It may be nice and make things more fun when you’re competing, but they’ll learn how to win when they come here. We’ve got a few other guys already who know how to win so that’s not why those guys are up there.”