Words by Justin Walsh

Rick Barnes somehow got a 6-9 cat from Montrose Christian Academy to attend the University of Texas. He made more jaws drop than Mike Tyson before Buster came for the belt. An east coast player named Kevin Durant was drafted No. 2 overall at the end of the season. Cats ’round the street called fluke.

Next, Rick pulled in a 6-8 man-child from some random sounding city called Nacogdoches, Texas. He has stayed a bit longer, but a friend of a friend heard it through the grapevine that he’s going in the first round. Thanks to Damion James, Rick Barnes gets to brush some dirt off his burnt orange shoulder and chalk a second line into the big recruiting board- two points for UT.

No way in hell buddy boy Barnes can pull off a three-peat the likes of this, right? Mr. Barnes at the line, he takes three calming dribbles. Two quick spins of the Spalding, he extends his arm… A flick of the wrist. Wet. Rick Barnes completes a three-point play. 1,380 miles from UT, Jordan Hamilton solidifies Rick’s recruiting class…again. For the third time, Barnes heads his recruiting class with an All-American small forward.

Jordan Hamilton is not Kevin Durant. He has similar range, but he’s too busy slashing through the lane, defiling the other team’s front-court with a tomahawk, maybe a flashy windmill in the lane. He’s also definitely not Damion James. He has the inside presence, but Jordan has a deft handle to keep from being defined by rebounds and post moves. ESPN’s scouting report on Jordan evaluated that, “Although Demar DeRozan (Compton, Calif.) is the more explosive athlete, Hamiltion’s skills and fundamentals are far and away much more polished.”

In Jan. 2008, Jordan faced-off against McDonalds All-American/UCLA Bruin guard Jrue Holiday. He dropped 26 that night. Voices could be heard amongst the crowd that Jordan deserved more noise. In September of this year, at the Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops classic (alumni include Paul Pierce, Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, Jamal Crawford, Josh Childress & more), Jordan Hamilton was unstoppable.

Teaming up with Dominguez teammate Thurman Woods, Jordan Hamilton led his team, The Hood, to the championship defeating Gamepoint 77-55. They got to that final defeating California Select, headed up by west coast phenom guard Dwayne Polee from Westchester. Throughout this whirlwind year of recruiting, ESPN National Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi said, “He is reminiscent of Paul Pierce. Jordan is a good—not great—athlete who can score in so many different ways. He is also quite adept at making plays with the shot clock running down.” He also mentioned his belief that Barnes will give Hamilton the Kevin Durant-esque green light to score at will in Austin.

Paul Pierce comparisons, a score-at-will directive at UT, a probable McDonalds All-American game roster spot. Jordan Hamilton is making major moves in ’08.