SPRINGFIELD – I was up at Springfield College Saturday morning, where Daniel Hamilton was practicing with his Saint John Bosco team for the Hall of Fame Classic.
Bosco plays at 6 p.m., and the plan was for Hamilton, teammate Vance Jackson, a highly touted Class of 2016 player, and coach Derrick Taylor, who used to coach DeAndre Daniels in high school, to head over to Storrs to see the Huskies play Louisville (a 9 p.m. start).
“I’m real excited,” Hamliton said. “It’s the first time for me to watch UConn at home, so I expect it to be real packed and loud like they said it would be.”
Hamilton, 6-foot-6 and considered a top-30 recruit in his Class of 2014, committed to UConn last May and signed a financial aid agreement, as opposed to a binding National Letter of Intent in November. He traveled from Los Angeles to Brooklyn to see UConn play Maryland in the season opener.
“I learned a lot,” Hamilton said. “Coach [Kevin] Ollie is a great coach – he coaches so hard and he wants to win so bad. That’s the kind of competitor I like.”
Hamilton’s brother, Isaac, signed a NLOI with Texas-El Paso, and when he decided later he wanted to attend UCLA, he was not allowed out of his commitment. The NCAA denied his appeal and he has to sit a year. This was behind Daniel’s decision to handle it the way he has, but it also fueled speculation that he, too, might eventually decide to stay close to home.
“There is no change, still rock solid, 100 percent [about going to UConn,” he said. “No doubts about it. … I just felt sorry for my brother, and I just didn’t want to be in that same position. I signed ‘financial’ because it’s basically like the same thing, but they don’t hold you to it. … If something does happen, I have an option, but I’m 100 percent with UConn right now.”
On this season:
“It’s going pretty good,” Hamilton said. :We lost a couple of games early, but it’s not how you start it’s how tyou finish. We’re trying to finish out strong. … I’ve improved a lot – it’s about maturing,. Last year I wasn’t that mature. I took on that leadership role, and that’s the main thing, taking that leadership role this year and I’ve matured a lot.”
On DeAndre Daniels, and following in his footsteps:
“DeAndre played with coach Taylor and my same AAU team. DeAndre used to be at my house a lot. DeAndre’s a cool dude and I’ve known him since I was real young. … [I’d like to] step into his spot and just make a real big impact as a freshman and do a lot for the team.”