NEW YORK – Got the chance to watch Daniel Hamilton play, though the conditions weren’t conducive to drawing conclusions at the Jordan Brand national game.
“Defense was out the window,” said Mike Bethea, who coached the West.
Hamilton scored 10 points in 11 minutes, and got two rebounds, as his West squad lost to the East, 158-147. The score tells you all you need to know – not much defense, as Bethea says. Hamilton was 4-for-6 from the floor, and hit a couple of threes, so we can say that for a kid his size, 6-foot-7, he’s quick and versatile, a player right up Kevin Ollie’s alley.
Hamilton and Ollie spoke again before the game, the topic, as one would expect, about when he might sign a National Letter of Intent. He has not yet pulled the trigger on that.
Some of this territory was covered when we spoke on Wednesday in Manhattan, but here are highlights of Hamilton’s interview Friday night, postgame at Barclays Center.
On the game:
“… I think I did pretty good in the minutes I got, 10 points in 11 minutes. I think I could have contributed a little more, a couple of easy layups I missed that I could have made.”
Winning a state title at John Bosco High:
“… Going home, there’s bragging rights. It’s something to talk about at the family table. It’s a blessing. We had to persevere and get through adversity.”
On DeAndre Daniels
“… I’ll just let him decide. Let him do his own thing. We’ll be able to have another chance for a run if he comes back. We’ll be able to be that much better because he’s a force playing that power forward position, a lot of power forwards can’t guard him because he can put it on the floor and he can shoot, so it’s hard to guard him. … I always played up, because of my brothers I had to play up. Even when I was in sixth and seventh grade, I was playing with DeAndre.”
Watching UConn win the title:
“… I was just so happy for Coach Ollie, he had been recruiting me since I was in ninth grade.”
On his brother Isaac’s experience, having to redshirt at UCLA after signing a Letter of Intent, then leaving UTEP:
“… That’s the reason I haven’t signed it. I think it was unfair, that situation he had to go through, but me and coach Ollie and my family are going to talk about it even more. I think I’m going to end up signing it, it’s just a matter of time. Sometime in the next couple of weeks. No telling how long it’s going to take.”
What can he bring to UConn
“… My versatility, playing shooting guard, small forward, being able to push it on the break. Get our players involved and be able to pull up and hit jumpers.
More on Kevin Ollie:
“… He’s a great dude. It’s the person you’re playing for. Coach Ollie has been a good dude and he’s an inspiration, winning a national championship, a lot of kids are interested in the program. He’s even a better dude, spiritual, he just believed the whole time and that’s what got them there. Husky fans, expect something better next year. Hopefully we can live up to the expectations and the hype.
It will be easier for Coach Ollie [to recruit], especially now. How he coached the players, it looked like a family. More importantly, it looked like a family the way they were playing. That’s what got me two years ago, when they played against Michigan State in that [Armed Forces Classic] game – how they looked like a family and they all got together, man, that just touched me and that’s how I figured out I was going there.”
This was a battle of elite recruits, of course. One-and-done caliber guys. Jahlil Okafor scored 29 points, Kelly Oubre 24, Tyus Jones 23 for the East Team. Stanley Johnson scored 24, Cliff Alexander 23 for the West.
The games here had a number of players, in fact, who were on UConn’s radar to one degree or another, at one time or another. Paschal Chukwu from Fairfield Prep, who is going to Providence, had three points and nine rebounds in the Regional game. Khadeen Carrington from Brooklyn, who is going to Seton Hall, had 18 points and seven rebounds, Terry Larrier from the Bronx, heading to VCU, had eight points and six rebounds.
Wishing you all a happy holiday. Talk to you on the other side – should be a busy week.