George Hill Surprised By Area 55

June 26, 2011 - New Pacers player George Hill was surprised with cheers and “Welcome Home” signs thanks to members of Area 55 when he arrived to the Indianapolis International Airport earlier today. Hill, who was acquired by the Pacers on Thursday in a draft night trade, gave high-fives and signed a few autographs for the fans waiting for him at the security gate.

After George realized the fans were members of Hibbert’s Area 55, he hinted that he may start his own fan section for the 2011-12 season.

“Me and Roy are going to have a big competition this year (to see) whose section is going to be louder,” said Hill with a smile on his face.

Area 55 is the fan section that was created by Pacers center Roy Hibbert prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. Last week, the 55 members of the Season 2 class were introduced at the 2011 Pacers Draft Party by Hibbert, who selected the group via an audition process that lasted over two weeks.

Hibbert, who was a part of the same draft class as Hill back in 2008, wanted to make sure George felt welcomed when he returned home to Indiana for the first time since being traded to his hometown Pacers. Area 55 members did just that.

“Roy reached out to us and said he couldn’t be here to welcome his friend George Hill, so he sent us instead to give him an Area 55 greeting,” said Joe Murphy, a member of Area 55 who received the “Veteran Leader” title during Season 1. “He’s happy to be back and we’re looking forward to seeing him here. We think it was the steal of the draft.”

Though Area 55 members were excited that the team acquired Hill, they were uncertain about whether he could create a fan section as loud as theirs.

“I don’t think there’s any other section that can compete with Area 55. That’s going to be hard to do, but we’ll cheer for him,” said Kyle Brumback, the member-voted MVP of the inaugural year of Area 55. “We’ll share the love with him.”