With the college basketball season coming up in a little more than a month, we decided to catch up with Texas’ guard-forward Jordan Hamilton, who’s looking to have a breakout season this year. Hamilton was ranked as the eighth best high school player in the nation two years ago and took his game to Texas where he averaged 10.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. The rising sophomore tells us about his game’s progression, along with a little bit about his past.
Dime: How was your summer?
Jordan Hamilton: My summer went well. I went to summer school. I worked hard and got a lot better because I learned so much.
Dime: What elements have you added to your game?
JH: I’ve been working on taking only one or two dribbles when I am out on the wing. Also, I worked on posts moves that I did not know before. My strength has been getting better as well. I was fortunate to learn a lot about the mental part of the game from a lot of older guys too.
Dime: Who were some of those older guys?
JH: My brother, Gary Hamilton, who plays basketball overseas right now always gives me good advice. I also got to talk to Marcus Williams, Ron Artest and Bobby Brown.
Dime: What was it like working with Artest?
JH: We got to play a lot of open gym together. I asked him how I could improve and he told me that he wants to see me be patient with the basketball on the offensive end and stay low in my stance on the defensive end. He said that it is good that I always want to learn.
Dime: I also hear that you have a good relationship with Lamar Odom.
JH: I played for his AAU team back in high school. He’s a great person. He always gives me tips on things that I need to work on. Like Ron, he always tells me to play hard and always be open to learning new things.
Dime: What did you think of your season last year at Texas?
JH: It was a great learning experience. I learned a lot from coaches and players. The season didn’t go as planned but that was last year. This year, we plan on moving forward.
Dime: What is it like playing for Rick Barnes?
JH: He is always going to try and push you to always go hard. He is a great teacher and motivator. We are always watching film. He even gives me tapes of other players for me to study when I go home. He is a great coach.
Dime: Who was the toughest guy to guard last year?
JH: I didn’t get to guard him much, but James Anderson from Oklahoma State was tough.
Dime: Are there any guys you are looking forward to going up against next year?
JH: I’m looking forward to the North Carolina game. They have a group of guys who I’ve been playing against for my entire high school career. They have a good young team.
Dime: Your former teammate, Avery Bradley, is now a Boston Celtic. What do you think of the fit?
JH: It is a good fit for him. I’m sure he’ll learn a lot from Rajon Rondo. I’ve heard that Kevin Garnett is the type of guy that loves pushing young players too. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Dime: Whom does your game get compared to the most?
JH: A lot of people say I remind them of Paul Pierce. We have similar bodies. I guess it’s just something they are putting in the water in California.
Dime: Speaking of California, you went to Dominguez High School in Compton, which is a school known for pumping out good basketball players. What was it like growing up in that area as a basketball player?
JH: It was definitely fun. You get a lot of respect from the people around that area. If I had kids, I would definitely want my kids to grow up in that area simply for the fact that a lot of guys go hard. You get to see a lot of guys who never made it with great talent and abilities. It’s a great place to play basketball. Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings, Tayshaun Prince and Kenny Brunner (a.k.a. “Bad Santa” from the AND 1 Mixtape Tour), all went to Dominguez High School at one point.
Dime: Any high school players in California to look out for right now?
JH: Definitely, I have two little brothers who play high school basketball and are being recruited right now. I think they are both pretty good. Isaac and Daniel Hamilton are two guys who people should definitely look out for. Both are 6-4 and great players in the making.
Dime: Last but not least, what are your team and individual goals for next season?
JH: Every good player should have a goal. Mine is to win a national championship next year. First, it starts off with winning the first couple tournaments that we have and then winning the Big 12 Championship. As far as my goals go, I want to be a candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year and to do everything I can to help my team win.
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