When news broke that Daniel Hamilton will be signing with an agent, it sent an uproar through the UConn fanbase, with many proclaiming he wasn't ready for the pros. Though Hamilton has demonstrated a diverse skill set and solid playmaking ability, the belief was that one more year would really solidify his status as a top prospect.
The UConn Blog's stance was slightly more positive. Even when Hamilton's draft status was at "testing the waters," I said to not be surprised if he signed with an agent because Daniel has great potential and NBA scouts don't necessarily need a complete collegiate body of work to fall in love with a prospect.
Hamilton has some elite skills, namely passing and rebounding for his size, and is a good enough shooter that his fit in the NBA game is potentially better than in college. Any draft prospect just needs to convince one GM, and Hamilton thinks he can make it happen. If the prevailing belief is that he could play his way into a top-15 pick next year, what is to keep a team picking late in the first round from feeling the same way and taking a chance on him this year?
On Wednesday, we heard from Kevin Ollie for the first time since Hamilton's decision. David Borges of the New Haven Register made his way to Husky Day at the State Capitol in Hartford to speak with him.
Hamilton was advised by Kevin Ollie to stay. In this scenario, we have seen coaches from other schools (Boeheim!) show much less support publicly, but Ollie's comments were positive. He's going to do everything possible to help Hamilton succeed. The mention of "people in his ear" was probably the closest thing to criticism we'll hear from KO, "hopefully they're instructing him in the right way."
Hamilton is out in L.A. now, preparing for the draft and taking online classes so UConn's APR won't take a hit. Hopefully, he has heard something that caused him to make this decision before he needed to, but if not there's no reason to believe he won't continue to develop should he end up in the D-League or playing overseas in his first year out of school.
Additionally, his solid entry to the field has perhaps caused mock drafters to take a second look. Hamilton is currently projected as the 31st overall pick to the Celtics by NBADraft.net after not being included in previous iterations. He still has the combine and interview process to keep building on that, but his starting point going into those evaluation periods is already much better.