Grant Hill and Scotty Thurman went at it on Twitter over Hill’s commentary during the Razorbacks’ Sweet 16 win in the 2022 NCAA Tournament last Thursday.
In an interview with KNWA-TV last Saturday, Thurman — whose Arkansas team beat Hill’s Duke team in the 1994 NCAA national championship game, when Thurman hit a 3-pointer clutch with 51.7 seconds left — said he believed Hill’s commentary during the Razorbacks’ games against Gonzaga and Duke signaled that he was still “bitter” over the game-winning shot.
In the initial interview the reporter said, “I just thought it was funny that someone put out there that, ‘I think he’s still a little bit bitter about the shot.’ Did you like that? What was your reaction to that?”
Thurman said, “I did like it,” adding that he was laughing over notion.
“I’ve been getting several text messages about it. I thought it was kind of funny,” Thurman said. “But he did sound like he was a little irritated with Arkansas and the way that we were playing. I just felt like maybe he was getting flashbacks from his time when he played against us.”
Hill caught wind of Thurman’s comments and responded Tuesday in a tweet.
“@RustonRifle Bitter? That’s funny!!” Hill wrote, according to Yahoo Sports. “Yes, you never get over a loss, especially in a NCAA championship game (UCLA?).. But to think I’d take that out on this current team is hilarious.. There were some questionable calls in that Gonzaga game, and I have a job to give my opinion..”
UCLA defeated Thurman’s Arkansas team in the 1995 NCAA national championship game.
Hill was on the call alongside Jim Nantz and Bill Rafter for Arkansas’ Sweet 16 upset of Gonzaga and their subsequent loss to Duke in the Elite Eight.
Thurman hit back, per Yahoo, tweeting, “We all have opinions and I expressed mine in the interview. I agree that there were some questionable calls in that game BUT I felt like you wanted each one in question to go Gonzaga’s way! @realgranthill33.”
In a separate tweet Tuesday, Thurman said Hill is a “great analyst!”
Thurman played at Arkansas from 1992-95 and then overseas from 1995 to 2006. He currently serves as head coach of the boys basketball team at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Hill played at Duke from 1990-94. He went on to have a successful NBA career from 1994-2013 — earning seven All-Star nods and an All-NBA first team selection across stints with the Pistons, Magic, Suns and Clippers.
Hill then riled off a series of three tweets, which appear to have been deleted.
“I want every player to experience what we were fortunate to experience, many many years ago. The unique thing about my job is the opportunity to meet the players and coaches from every team. Coach Muss and his guys were great with us when we met them before the Sweet 16,” Hill tweeted, according to Yahoo Sports.
“I could care less about who wins. Actually, I want them all to win.. When Villanova beat Carolina in the Finals, my heart went out to those guys in the Tar Heels locker room. The next year when UNC won, I was genuinely happy for them. I went and congratulated the Carolina family after the game.. We dissect, explain and offer our opinion on what we see in the game, understanding that everyone might not be in full agreement..”
Thurman simply replied, “Understood!”
When a fan tweeted that they’d like to see an “impromptu interview” between the two, Thurman said he had a “tremendous and heathy conversation” with Hill on Tuesday.
“Much respect to @realgranthill33!!” Thurman replied to the fan. “Folks, let’s not let this platform confuse us! We are all REAL people!! Easy to press buttons but conversation (healthy) STILL rules the Nation!!”
On Wednesday, Hill replied to the exchange, tweeting, “The passion that fans have for their respective schools is what makes college basketball the absolute best.. But make no mistake, I have nothing but respect & admiration for the LEGEND @RustonRifle.. He had 1 of the most iconic moments in the history of the NCAA Finals.. #respect.”
Hill is set to broadcast the 2022 Final Four and national championship games on TBS with Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery.