Justin Hamilton to leave LSU when he graduates


Technically speaking, LSU center Justin Hamilton is leaving school early in an effort to pursue a professional career.

But Hamilton is in a different position than the rest of this year’s crop of mid-majors. You see, he transferred to LSU from Iowa State after his sophomore season, meaning that while he was a junior eligibility-wise when he returned to the court this year after sitting out a season, he was actually a senior academically. That means that he’ll be graduating at the end of the semester.

“I would like to announce that I am leaving LSU for the NBA draft,” Hamilton said. “I would like to thank my coaches, the administration and all the teachers that have helped me along the way. They have all provided me with a great experience at LSU. I will graduate next month and I am getting married this summer. I am ready to take the next step in my life. Again, I would like to thank everyone that has helped me along the way and especially the fans here at LSU.”

Hamilton started for LSU this year, averaging 12.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg while earning second-team All-SEC honors. Hamilton’s departure and the graduation of Storm Warren will put pressure on Johnny O’Bryant to improve along Trent Johnson’s front line.

“Justin Hamilton has done a good job for the LSU basketball program,” Tigers coach Trent Johnson said in the release. “His development from the time he arrived prior to the 2010-11 season has been very impressive.

“During this process, our responsibility as a basketball staff was to make sure we educated Justin and his family of the many challenges that will lie in front of him. He will graduate from LSU this semester and will have his degree in hand. I and the members of our program wish him nothing but the best in his future.”

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.