About Utah: Billy McGill — basketball king in Utah, but the rest of the story is a downer

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  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Jan. 7, 2014 7:35 a.m.

    I've always admired Mr. Benson and think that he has a strong writing talent. But his inability to let go of his huge love of BYU sports long enough to write an objective article has hampered his career forever. This is another example. McGills story is inspirational and all Lee Benson can see is a guy who blamed racism and everyone else for the things he suffered. I've not read this book, but I've seen plenty of interviews with "Billy the Hill" and he's always seemed genuinely proud of himself for pulling himself up after reaching the bottom. This should be respected. As another poster wrote, if this story happened south of the Point of the Mountain--there would have been nothing but praise from Lee Benson. Objectivity, Mr. Benson. Learn it. Use it.

  • ksmith Sacramento, CA
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:30 p.m.

    I watched the 60 point performance at BYU while a student there. It was an amazing game. I tried to watch him play as much as I could and followed him through his career. I'm sorry that his life turned out the way it did.

    Jan. 6, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    Haven't read the book, so I can't say whether I agree with Lee that the purpose is to blame all of McGill's life's troubles on everything but his ability to play defense. But I do think that judgment is unfit for someone in his stance to make, regardless of if it is true or not. Is a past filled with poverty, racism, domestic problems and falling victim to crime ever an excuse for bad behavior? No. But people never exposed to it have no frame of reference as to how it actually affects people's lives. That is my biggest issue with many fellow LDS church members, especially those in Utah, is the judgment of others' lives when the large part of their own "success" is because of the vast opportunities provided for them from birth, not necessarily from making the "right" choices, just from not making the few wrong ones provided. Some people are seldom given right choices to make.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    Jan. 6, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    In late April 1961 I was "introduced" to Billy the Hill by Jack Gardner in my family's California living room. This introduction was via Utah's Final Four highlight film where I witnessed several of Billy's amazing performances. Not quite sure why Gardner was recruiting this short, slow, white guy, but I chose to attend college in California.

    Sorry to learn about his difficult life.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    I remember watching Billy the Hill play when I was a kid. He was a great college player who played for a class act coach. Too bad they don't have replay games of him--it would still be fun to watch.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    McGill is a legend!!

    Another reason college kids should get paid.

  • bradleyc Layton, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    Glad he turned out OK. Wish Mr. McGill all the best. Go Cougars.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    Billy McGill is still close to the Utah basketball program and is a great supporter. He returns often to the "hill". The U needs to erect a statue of McGill outside the entrance of the Huntsman Center.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 7:48 a.m.


    If he had played for byu, you would of spun into a story about overcoming adversity. Homer.