NBA Draft: Reggie Hamilton is a Scoring Machine
Reggie Hamilton led Division I in scoring last season. (NBCSports.com)
By Michael Scotto
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Over the course of the college basketball season, Oakland's Reggie Hamilton was the most consistent player in the game. The NCAA took notice too, as Hamilton was named a Mid-Major All-American and to the First Team All-Summit League.
Hamilton was the NCAA scoring leader, lighting up arenas across the country for 26.2 points per game, and set a new single-season Summit League and Oakland University scoring record with 942 points. Hamilton scored most of his points by lighting it up from beyond the arc and attacking the rim to earn trips to the free throw line. What separates Hamilton from other top scorers is his efficiency across the board. Hamilton shot 45 percent from the field, 42 percent from downtown, and 88 percent at the free throw line.
While Hamilton's scoring gets most of the accolades, and deservedly so, he also makes his teammates better and is an underrated defender.
Hamilton led the Summit League with two steals per game with his pressure on-the-ball defense and by intercepting passing lanes. When Hamilton wasn't harassing his opponent on defense he was chasing long rebounds (four per game) and igniting Oakland's fast break.
The other underrated trait Hamilton possesses is his passing ability. As the NCAA's top scorer Hamilton faced many double teams as defenses focused on getting the ball out of his hands. When teams would throw multiple defenders at him Hamilton swung the ball to his open teammates for open three-pointers or down low for a dunk off penetration.
According to Hamilton, coach Greg Kampe was a big reason for his success at Oakland as a player on the court and as a student in the classroom.
"He showed me that nothing would be handed to me, period. Whether it was minutes on the court, grades in the classroom, or a good reputation around campus, he made me earn everything. That helped me grow as a man and grow more self-discipline," said Hamilton.
After the college season ended Hamilton received an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament as one of the top seniors in the country.
"It meant a lot to be seen as one of the best seniors to come out this year and to play in an event where some of the past greats have played," said Hamilton
Since graduating from Oakland with a degree in Communications, Hamilton is chasing his dream of playing professionally. NBA teams including the Cavaliers, Blazers, Timberwolves and Bulls have worked out Hamilton. During these workouts Hamilton has faced top "big name" school players such as Kentucky's Marquis Teague and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor. Sources said Hamilton held his own against both players and made shots during the workouts.
According to his agent, Austin Walton of Walton Sports, Hamilton also has multiple six-figure offers overseas on the table as well.
Hamilton has bulked up since graduating from Oakland and feels his body and skills are now ready for the pro level.
"I'm 6-feet and now weighing 185 lbs., and I know I can play the point guard position. I've always been able to run a team and put guys in the right spots to be successful. That's what I love to do. I love being in charge and being the leader I was born to do that," said Hamilton.
While some players may be taller than Hamilton, few have the drive to succeed and his heart, according to Hamilton.
"My greatest strength is my worth ethic and self discipline. No one has to make me get better or put me on a schedule to do things. I do it because I want to go as far as I can on the court. I can put the ball in the basket and create to help others put the ball in the basket," said Hamilton.
A perfectionist, Hamilton is working to expand his already gifted offensive game.
"My mid-range game can be a lot better so I have definitely shot more pull-up jumpers inside the lane this summer," said Hamilton.
While Hamilton is unsure of his next destination on the pro level the only thing that matters to him is getting an opportunity to play the game he loves and provide for his family.
"To be honest, I'll play wherever. Once you're inside the gym it doesn't matter what state you're in, you're in the gym," said Hamilton. "I'll play wherever has the best opportunity for me and my family at this point. It's just not about me, it's about helping my family and those who helped me come this far. I pray I'm able to play in a place that helps me help them."
As Hamilton awaits his NBA or overseas fate, he has a message for the team that signs him to his first professional contract.
"I make huge sacrifices to be not only a better player, but a better person as well every year. Coming out of high school no one thought I was going to be a D-I player, but I was given the opportunity and made the most of the opportunity. I plan to do the same thing as a pro. I work, so therefore I get better," said Hamilton.
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