He's long, he's athletic, he can finish above the rim, and he is extremely difficult to stop on the fastbreak: He is Daniel Hamilton, the youngest of six children, and the younger brother of Gary, Jordan and Isaac, all who have played Division 1 college basketball. Gary Hamilton played four years at Miami before playing professionally overseas while Jordan Hamilton played two years at Texas before declaring for the NBA draft. Jordan was drafted 26th overall by Dallas before being traded to Denver. Currently, Isaac Hamilton is a redshirt freshman at UCLA.
Basketball runs deep in the Hamilton family, and it is said that Daniel is the best among all of them. The 6-foot-7, 190 pound wing was ranked 18th overall in the class of 2014 by rivals.com and 30th by ESPN. He is said to be very aggressive, extremely long, an effective scorer by shooting, driving, and hitting "johnny egan" floaters. With all of these scoring tools, Hamilton is often overlooked as a very good passer. All in all, it seems like Daniel Hamilton has all of the tools to be a great contributor immediately.
The coaches in the AAC are very aware of the ability of Hamilton as he was picked as the preseason conference rookie of the year at AAC Media Day, and rightfully so. In his senior season at St. John Bosco High School in Los Angeles, California, he did it all, averaging 20.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and 5.2 APG while leading his team to a state championship.
Obviously, time will tell for what kind of player he will be in the UConn offense, but he could potentially turn into "the guy" during some games. It will most likely still be within the offense Ollie wants to run, but he could be set up coming off screens and having the whole middle open for him to do what he wants: pass, shoot, or drive.
Hamilton's body type is similar to DeAndre Daniels, though Hamilton is a little bit less of a big man than Daniels. While DeAndre was effective both inside and outside, it seems like Hamilton is going to be more versatile in the UConn offense, playing anywhere on the court from point guard to the stretch power forward with smaller lineups, according to Kevin Ollie.
In the exhibitions, Hamilton has taken 17 shots combined in the two games. Ollie has played him more than any other UConn player in both games, going 33 minutes against SCSU and 36 against Assumption. Clearly, Ollie wants Hamilton to quickly adjust to level of play in college, and so far the freshman is responding extremely well. He averaged 8 PPG with 10.5 RPG and 5 APG in the two victories.
Normally, I would not take notice to these numbers for exhibition games, but as a freshman, this sticks out. Kevin Ollie might know what he has with Daniel Hamilton and is trying to get him going right out of the gate. Look for him to be the key to multiple victories this year for UConn.