Jordan Hamilton Q + A
SLAM catches up with the Longhorns’ leading-scorer.
by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
In his sophomore season with the Longhorns, Jordan Hamilton has seen his game take off. He has raised his scoring average from 10 to 18.9 ppg, while also bringing down 6.9 rpg.
The Los Angeles native is emerging as the go-to scoring option for a Texas team that is off to a 8-2 start and is looking to rebound after a disappointing finish to last season.
With a trip to North Carolina looming this weekend, Hamilton talked to SLAM about working out with Ron Artest, who he is looking to get a shot at in the Big 12 and why his favorite NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are still the best in the League.
SLAM: You’re game has really taken off this season. What did you do in the offseason to take that next leap?
Jordan Hamilton: In the offseason there were a lot of workouts I was doing back home and at school that really helped me. The guys that I was working out with helped me also.
SLAM: I heard that one of those guys was Ron Artest.
JH: I was with Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Marcus Williams, whos used to play in the NBA and is now overseas. One of the things that really helped me was the pickup games and them telling me what I need to work on.
SLAM: I’ve also read that a lot of your teammates say you’ve added maturity this year. Is that something you felt you needed?
JH: Coming in you didn’t really know what to expect as a freshman. A lot of the things people tell youare going to happen, usually don’t happen. I got to experience it as a freshman, and this year I came in with a better understanding of how everything was going to go.
SLAM: There’s a lot of talent on this team right now. What’s the potential of Texas this season?
JH: Right now, I don’t think we even played our best basketball. I think we still have a long ways to go. We’re getting better and better each day. If we can just continue to build off that, come March I think we can do some damage.
SLAM: It was a rough second half to last season. How does going through that help you this year?
JH: Last year was last year. We don’t really dwell on the past. I think we got too comfortable last year being a No. 1. This year I think we have a better understanding. I know we took two losses already, but I think we’ve built off those losses.
SLAM: One of those losses was to USC. Being from Los Angeles, that game was a homecoming for you. Did you feel any extra pressure?
JH: Pressure? Not really. But I’m just kind of glad that game is over with because I had a lot of family members and friends that I hadn’t talked to in awhile calling my phone. It was kind of hard to focus between playing the game and who I was able to get to the game. There were about 75 people there.
SLAM: You came from California but chose Texas. Kevin Durant came from across the country to Texas. What is it about Rick Barnes as a recruiter that allows him to get guys like you?
JH: Growing up, Texas was a school I was always interested in looking at all those great guys like T.J. Ford and that team and Kevin Durant when all those freshmen came in. I also thought it would be a great experience to get to know a lot of my family members from Texas that I didn’t really know. Also, I think Coach Barnes is a great coach and all his assistants did a great job on recruiting me too.
SLAM: You’re about to hit Big 12 play. What team are you looking forward to playing the most?
JH: Kansas because this year we go there, and I heard the atmosphere is crazy. I can’t wait to experience that and to go in there and play those guys.
SLAM: What’s the toughest environment you’ve experienced in the Big 12?
JH: Last year was Kansas State, and it was crazy.
SLAM: What is it about Jacob Pullen that makes him so tough to defend?
JH: I think he’s pretty poised and can shoot the ball so a lot of the offense goes through him. Last year we did a pretty good job on him. He is a great player, though. I get to watch him on TV all the time, and I think he is one of the guys we have to pay close attention to when we play him.
JH: I think we do a pretty good job. We’re getting better on the defensive end, and we can all score so that’s never really a problem for us. Now we just have to stop the other guys from scoring. If we do that, I think we can be, like you said, a great frontcourt.
SLAM: Down the road, you’re going to have a tough decision about the NBA facing you. I’ve heard rumblings that college players might stay in school if there was a lockout. Is that real concern that is discussed amongst college players?
JH: I haven’t really talked to anyone or any other players about that. As of now, I haven’t really heard much about because they don’t really talk about it on TV. As far as the lockout goes, I really have no idea on the deal with any of that.
SLAM: Who are some guys in the NBA right now that you try to model your game after?
JH: I like a lot of guys. Odom and Artest. The main thing I want to work on is getting my body like those guys are. When the time is right, lifting a lot of weights.
SLAM: You’re a big Laker fan, how do you think they’ll do this season?
JH: I think they’ve taken a few losses early, but that’s still the best team in the NBA. The depth that they have is ridiculous.