Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
AAU Coach Expects Daniel Hamilton to Play for UConn
Daniel Hamilton’s AAU coach says he expects Hamilton to end up at UConn regardless of whether he signs a National Letter of Intent this week or not.
The 6-foot-6 small forward from Los Angeles St. John Bosco committed to the Huskies last May but has yet to sign an NLI.
“As far as I understand he still plans on going there,” Dinos Trigonis of the Belmont Shore AAU program told SNY.tv Monday. “You don’t need to sign a Letter of Intent to get a scholarship.”
Daniel Hamilton’s experience is informed by that of his older brother, Isaac Hamilton.
Isaac Hamilton initially signed a Letter of Intent with UTEP, but wanted to get out of it in order to be close to his sick grandmother. UTEP coach Tim Floyd wouldn’t let Hamilton out of the Letter, and his waiver was initially denied.
Isaac Hamilton ultimately signed with UCLA but won’t be eligible to play games until next season.
Daniel Hamilton is part of a three-man recruiting class at UConn that includes JUCO guard Sam Cassell Jr. and power forward Rakim Lubin.
“Daniel is happy with the coach [Kevin Ollie],” Trigonis said. “He’s happy with the past people at his position. With the style of play he’ll do well there. He had a very good visit. He gets along with the players and with the coaching staff. Him not signing would not be a reflection on the coaching staff or the program. It would more be a reflection on the reality of him having gone through a problem with the older brother. The parents don’t want to be in that situation again.”
Trigonis believes that more and more players won’t sign Letters of Intent going forward because the NLIs really only protect the school — not the student-athlete.
“You’re going to start seeing more and more of a trend in that,” Trigonis said. “What does a Letter of Intent do? It only protects the school to some degree, it doesn’t protect the kids. There’s no out clause if the coach decides to leave for the NBA. There’s no out clause if the coach gets fired. So what’s the benefit to the kid? You still only get a one year scholarship.”
There had been speculation that Daniel could opt to stay near his family in California and join his brother at UCLA next season.
Derrick Taylor, the St. John Bosco coach, previously told SNY.tv, “Not a chance. Not interested in UCLA.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.