Friday was a big day in the future of UTEP basketball, as 2013 shooting guard Isaac Hamilton (Los Angeles, CA/St. John Bosco HS) announced his decision to attend the Conference USA school next season.
The move surprised many as Hamilton, who made the announcement on ESPNU, was dressed in a powder blue sweater and yellow bow tie, colors of the school (UCLA) that made a late rise in his recruitment.
Hamilton chose the Miners over UCLA, San Diego State, Washington and Baylor, becoming the third member of UTEP’s 2013 recruiting class. UTEP announced the receipt of his Letter of Intent on Saturday afternoon.
“This is a great day for UTEP,” Miner head coach Tim Floyd said. “I feel like we have just signed a young man who will play in the NBA. We intend to play Isaac at the point guard position. We see a lot of Seth Curry in him – a big guard who can score. Isaac is not only a really capable scorer and shooter, but has the instincts to make players around him better.
“We feel like with Isaac andMcKenzie Moore, we’re returning to how our teams looked at USC with big point guards like O.J. Mayo [Dallas Mavericks] and Gabe Pruitt [Boston Celtics) who can play together and play off of each other.”
Head coach Tim Floyd already held commitments from shooting guard Andre Speight (Pasadena, CA) and small forward Jake Flaggert (Allen, TX), and his connection to the Hamilton family was just one aspect that Isaac cited in making his decision.
“A lot of people don’t know that Coach Floyd coached my uncle (Kevin Hamilton) years ago and that he has been friends of our family for a long time,” Isaac Hamilton said. “He was very close to my grandmother, who has passed away.”
Floyd also recruited Isaac’s older brother Jordan while head coach at USC (Jordan eventually chose Texas), and younger brother Daniel is one of the better prospects in the 2014 recruiting class.
Could there eventually be two Hamiltons on the UTEP campus? We’ll have to wait and see on that.
A look at the Miners’ rosters shows that this could be a program ready to make a jump and become one of Conference USA’s flagship programs with Memphis (and others) headed to the Big East in 2013.
As noted in Floyd’s quote above Hamilton and McKenzie Moore will be two very good guards for UTEP next season, and one must not forget about current freshman Twymond Howard and sophomore wing Julian Washburn. Add in a front court led by John Bohannon and Cedric Lang and UTEP has (on paper) a pretty good nucleus to call on next year.
Memphis’ imminent departure has opened the door for a program to climb to the top of Conference USA, and the landing of a player the caliber of Isaac Hamilton could provide UTEP with the push they need to do just that.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.