Isaac Hamilton narrowed his list down to five schools last week: Washington, Baylor, UNLV, San Diego State and UTEP. While San Diego State has been rumored on several recruiting message boards to be a favorite for a while, it seems all five of these programs will get visits and attention from Hamilton.
The 6'5" shooting guard out of California is currently ranked No. 13 overall by Rivals, and 22nd in the ESPN 100.
Hamilton recently scored 19 points, had four assists, four steals and three rebounds in last month’s Under Armour Elite 24 Game. Also present was Aaron Gordon, a fellow 2013 college basketball recruit.
Like Hamilton, Gordon has Washington on his list of official visits (along with Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas and Oregon). Both Gordon and Hamilton have been mentioned in regard to recruiting by Washington 2013 commit Nigel Williams-Goss. Williams-Goss stated back in May that he would “put my recruiting hat on” with both Hamilton and Gordon.
With his list now down to five, what exactly is Hamilton looking for in a program?
Back in May, the L.A. Times quoted Hamilton’s high school coach Derrick Taylor as saying that the player was “…looking for a relationship with the coach and the style of the team.”
Coast 2 Coast Hoops and PointGuardU.com caught up with Hamilton this summer while he was at the LeBron James Skills Academy. During that interview, Hamilton mentioned four of the five (all except UTEP) programs on his official visit list along with several other programs as coming at him the hardest on the recruiting front.
That's not to say UTEP was left off on purpose, as the list of programs Hamilton gave was very long at that point, so it's conceivable that its absence from the player's statement didn't mean anything.
When asked if SDSU had the lead (based on internet chatter) among all the programs recruiting him, Hamilton responded:
Nah, nah, that’s not the case really, you know, I don’t really have a leader, but you know I just try to keep it open, so you know at the end of the day I can make a right, solid decision.
SDSU recently received an oral commit from four-star recruit Dakarai Allen, who was quoted in the U~T San Diego as saying he’ll “work on” Isaac Hamilton.
Hamilton seemed to confirm what his Saint John Bosco coach said on what he will be looking for during his visits (according to the PointGuardU.com interview): the coach and the environment. Basically, Hamilton is looking for a solid fit, and a home-like environment, not necessarily in-state, although his love for California did come across in the interview.
Hamilton comes from a basketball family, with his older brother Jordan Hamilton playing at Texas before going as the 26th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft to the Dallas Mavericks before being traded that same night to the Denver Nuggets. The eldest Hamilton brother, Gary Hamilton, played at Miami (Florida) for four years, and has been playing abroad professionally.
Hamilton’s younger brother Daniel Hamilton is currently Rivals No. 22 overall recruit in the 2014 class and also plays for Saint John Bosco. Daniel has several of the same programs recruiting him as his brother, with San Diego State, UNLV and UTEP also on his list. Added to that list, the brothers visited Baylor earlier this month together.
It's not inconceivable that the younger Hamilton brothers would eventually end up playing college ball together. Sports Illustrated quoted Hamilton in February as having this to say about their relationship, "Although we're a year apart, we're kind of like twins. We like being together -- we're really close."
UNLV was among some of the unofficial visits Isaac Hamilton took in August, a program he has visited in the past. Earlier this year, the Las Vegas Sun quoted Hamilton as saying the following on UNLV:
They don’t have an NFL team, they don’t have an NBA team; it’s just UNLV. All the fans are into it. It’s like having an NBA team. Having the opportunity to play in front of all of those fans and all of those stars is great. I would love to play for something like that.
It’s difficult to say where Hamilton will ultimately go at this point, as an argument can be made for all five of the programs on his list. What is certain is that this top recruit will be heavily pursued in the days, weeks and months leading up to the signing period and his decision.