HARTFORD — Daniel Hamilton's performance Wednesday afternoon was fitting for a star player who his coach says can be too unselfish at times.
Points were the final hurdle for Hamilton en route to the 11th triple-double in UConn history during the Huskies' 99-52 win over Central Connecticut Wednesday. He had 11 assists and 11 rebounds before finally getting to double figures in points.
After getting to double digits in rebounds and assists, Hamilton went to the bench for three minutes. When Kevin Ollie put him back in after telling him he was three points shy of the triple-double, he got to play selfish and go for the points.
That was weird for Hamilton.
"Coach can tell me I can be a little too unselfish," Hamilton said, "so he put me in and made me want to make plays and make the shot."
That selfishness produced an ugly first attempt at history. Hamilton pulled up from 35 feet, and his shot landed about five feet short. After that, Hamilton went to the rim twice and got the buckets.
He did not need to worry about scoring early in the game, because he was too busy setting up other people to score. Shonn Miller had six field goals and 14 points in the first half. Hamilton assisted four of those baskets. Miller finished 25 points overall, a season high.
"You have to always be ready," Miller said. "Even if you don't think he'll see you, he'll find you."
Hamilton was the driving force behind UConn's runaway victory against Central. The Blue Devils hung around for 15 minutes in an abysmal start to the first half for the Huskies, as they simply could not get into a rhythm. The Huskies went up 14 points, only to have Central cut it to five with about four minutes left.
That is when Hamilton took over.
He led the charge, as a five-point lead grew to 20 by halftime. Hamilton had eight assists and rebounds by the break, but only two points.
Even Central head coach and former UConn assistant Howie Dickenman couldn't help but praise Hamilton's performance.
Showing a bit of his lasting love for the Huskies, Dickenman said he hopes Hamilton ends up playing four seasons at UConn. Hamilton's selflessness is one of his favorite parts of the sophomore's game.
"He sees the court. He's very unselfish. I think he's a terrific team player, probably the most respected player on the team by his teammates, would be my guess," Dickenman said. "He cares about UConn. He doesn't care about Daniel Hamilton. We've seen him drive. We've seen him dish. We've seen him shoot. All those kinds of things. He has a chance to be player of the year in the league if he continues to play and get better."
Hamilton is the consummate team player, but there are still times when Ollie would like to see him be more selfish. Sometimes, Hamilton's desire to get the ball to his teammates can be costly, like with a prayer of a pass across the width of the court early in the game that resulted in an unnecessary turnover.
That does not mean Hamilton's team-first attitude is bad, by any means.
"I'd rather a guy be too unselfish than a selfish pig," Ollie said. "Daniel scores his points, like the Maryland game. Daniel knew people weren't scoring, so he had to take over. He just reads the game. He's a wonderful player."
Hamilton joins an elite group of UConn players to post a triple-double. Those who have done so were in the midst of stellar careers in Storrs.
Below is the updated list of UConn triple-doubles.
- Daniel Hamilton, vs. Central Connecticut, Dec. 21, 2015 – 11 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists
- Shabazz Napier, vs. Yale, Nov. 11, 2013 – 14 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists
- Shabazz Napier, vs. Coppin St., Nov. 20, 2013 – 22 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists
- Kemba Walker, vs. UMBC, Dec. 3, 2010 – 24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists
- Hasheem Thabeet, vs. Providence, Jan. 31, 2009 – 15 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks
- Marcus Williams, vs. Notre Dame, Feb. 21, 2006 – 18 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists
- Ben Gordon, vs. Iona, Dec. 20, 2003 – 17 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists
- Emeka Okafor, vs. Army, Dec. 6, 2003 – 18 points, 15 rebounds, 10 blocks
- Caron Butler, vs. Rhode Island, Dec. 26, 2000 – 14 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists
- Doron Sheffer, vs. Hartford, Dec. 30, 1995 – 10 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists
- Donyell Marshall, vs. Hartford, Jan. 17, 1994 – 23 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks