UTEP appeared to score the biggest coup in the recent history of its basketball program when 5-star guard Isaac Hamilton committed to play for the Miners late last year. But his brief and tumultuous tenure with the school has come to an end, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports that Hamilton is set to enroll at UCLA.
UCLA has admitted former UTEP signee Isaac Hamilton, sources confirmed to ESPN. He is currently in the process of enrolling.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) September 13, 2013
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 31, at 4:50 p.m. ET
From CBS Sports' Gary Parrish:
McDonald’s All-American Isaac Hamilton’s letter of intent appeal has been denied. The former UTEP signee will miss this year at UCLA.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) October 31, 2013
---End of Update---
While UCLA was among the final schools in on Hamilton last year, the Los Angeles product shocked the college basketball world by choosing UTEP. Hamilton recently had second thoughts about his choice, though, especially now that his grandmother is having health problems, according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com.
Hamilton was denied a National Letter of Intent waiver to play for a different school this season, according to Katz, so he will only be able to participate academically at UCLA this year.
Is Isaac Hamilton making the right decision by leaving UTEP in favor of UCLA?
Hamilton's brother, Daniel, has committed to the University of Connecticut, and he will play for the Huskies in 2014. Despite the denial of Isaac's waiver request, his father, Greg, is optimistic about what the future holds for his son (via Katz).
"Daniel and Isaac won't be at the same school, but they will start college basketball the same year," Greg Hamilton said. "Isaac had a 3.6 GPA at St. John Bosco. He's strong academically and graduated with honors. Even though he won't be able to play yet, he will start his college career academically.
"With UTEP, that's a wrap. We're done."
One party that is understandably rattled by this turn of events is UTEP. The school went to great lengths to land Hamilton, who was the No. 16-ranked recruit, according to 247Sports.com, but now the Miners are left wondering what could have been.
UTEP head coach Tim Floyd expressed sympathy with regards to the condition of Hamilton's grandmother, but he supported the stance that both UTEP and the National Letter of Intent committee took.
"I'm sorry his grandmother is having health problems," Floyd said in July. "But what I'm doing, I'm doing for UTEP and for everyone else. The NLI is in place so you can field a team. Young people don't have to sign a national letter of intent. You can sign a scholarship paper. The policy is in place to protect the institutions after they've spent all this money in recruiting and built their schedule around and turned down other players."
The 6'5", 180-pound guard has to wait a year before he can contribute at UCLA, but there is no question that Bruins fans are happy to have a player with the talent level that Hamilton possesses.
Unfortunately for Hamilton and UTEP, things ended between them on a bit of a sour note.
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