A UTEP basketball program that has consistently produced great players and pros landed its most decorated signee in the last 30 years on Saturday, as Isaac Hamilton signed to play for the Miners. The national letter of intent was received and validated by athletic department officials.
The 6-5, 185-pound guard is unanimously regarded as one of the top-25 prep prospects in the nation.
“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 and McKenzie 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.”
In his last nine years as a collegiate head coach, Floyd has sent seven perimeter players to the NBA.
Hamilton is rated a five-star recruit, the no. 4 shooting guard and the no. 16 player in the country by Rivals. Scout.com has him as a five-star prospect and the no. 5 two-guard in the Class of 2013. He is rated no. 25 in the ESPNU Top-100 with an overall grade of 89. He is also listed as the no. 16 player nationally by 247sports.com, as well as the no. 3 shooting guard and the no. 4 player in the Golden State.
The L.A. native is currently in his second season playing for St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif. He averaged 24.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.2 steals as a junior a year ago, earning first team All-State, All-League and All-Region accolades for a 25-8 team. Hamilton shot 50.6 percent from the field, 30.9 percent from three-point range and 68.6 percent from the line in 27.2 minutes per contest.
“He is absolutely the ultimate model student-athlete,” said St. John Bosco HS coach Derrick Taylor. “He is completely no maintenance. He will go to class. He’s the first one at practice and the last to leave. He is skilled and he scores a lot of points. He understands the importance of balancing scoring with making plays for others.
“He is completely unselfish. He averaged 25 points last year. This season we have [prep star] Tyler Dorsey on our team, and Isaac said he was going to let his scoring average drop to 17 just so Tyler could get his [points] and they could complement each other.”
A coaching legend, Taylor won three Los Angeles City Section championships over 11 years at Taft High School in Woodland Hills prior to coming to St. John Bosco in 2011. He has sent numerous players to the Division I ranks, including DeAndre Daniels and Larry Drew, who currently play for Connecticut and UCLA respectively. He also coached former UCLA star Jordan Farmar. He said Hamilton compares favorably to all three.
“We have 13 guys playing Division I ball this year, and he’s right at the tip-top of the guys I’ve coached,” Taylor said.
Hamilton recently collected 19 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds in the Under Armour Elite 24 Game, matching the top players from across the country. A member of the Dream Vision AAU squad, he scored 50 points (30 in the first half) versus Cache Valley Elite in the opening bracket game of the adidas Super 64 this summer.
Hamilton started his prep career at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. He averaged 19.5 ppg as a sophomore to merit first team All-City Section honors.
He comes from a basketball family. Older brother Jordan Hamilton was the no. 26 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft out of the University of Texas and currently plays for the Denver Nuggets. Older brother Gary Hamilton played at Miami (Fla.) for four years before enjoying a pro career overseas. Isaac is the nephew of Kevin Hamilton, who played for the Miners from 1982-86 and was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams.