Nickname: "Dr. Dunk"
College - San Jose State
ABA Teams: Indiana (1971-72 to 1975-76)
Born in Sacramento, California, Hillman spent two years in the Army after his sophomore year at San Jose State. Always among ABA leaders in blocked shots. Known as "Dr. Dunk," Pacers fans arrived early at home games to see Hillman's wide variety of warmup dunks. Came to Pacers as a virtual unknown despite being drafted in the first round of the ABA and NBA drafts. In 1971, led the Armed Forces All-Stars to the AAU title and was selected as MVP. After 1976 ABA-NBA merger, spent four years in the NBA, with Indiana, New Jersey, Denver, Kansas City and Golden State. Runaway winner of "ABA's Biggest Afro" Award at 1997 ABA Reunion.
From Jim O'Brien's 1972-73 Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball:
Prize catch for Pacers and ABA . . . 8th player selected in 1971 NBA Draft, by the San Francisco Warriors . . . High school teammate of Willie Wise at Balboa High School in San Francisco . . . Spent 1969-1971 in Army, where he was named MVP in World Military Games in summer of 1970 . . . An extremely strong rebounder, he's a tremendous jumper . . . Cleared 7 feet in high jump while in college . . . Showed vast improvement during his rookie season . . . Developed face up jump shot . . . Super leaper and if he gets the ball around the hoop it's all over . . . Very effective shot blocker on defense, but can be faked out of position . . . On team loaded with local, homegrown talent, Hillman, through his exciting and enthusiastic style, may possibly be the most popular Pacer . . . Coach Bob Leonard says of Hillman: "Darnell worked very hard last year and kept a great attitude. More than once, he came in to make the big play and give us a lift. He knows what defense is about and plays the best on our club."
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