There aren't many men Tommy Hamilton's size that can knock down the outside jumper, let alone a college three-pointer. Most men at 6-foot-10 and 284 pounds are beasts under the basket, or guys from Europe that learned how to shoot overseas. Not many, aside from NBA All-Stars like Kevin Love, can do both.
Which is what makes Hamilton such a threat for the DePaul Blue Demons.
The freshman has had his share of bad games this season, moments where his inexperience in the college game showed and offensively, he suffered. Hamilton never wavered, though, as the Chicago area recruit has earned his playing time over the last three games with good play inside and outside the paint.
The son of former Celtic and Rocket Thomas Hamilton, the DePaul center was an impressive prospect during his freshman year at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, a skilled shooter who could more than handle his own down low. He was looked at as one of the local big three freshmen, along with Alex Foster and Jabari Parker. Hamilton struggled to stay fit and on the court for two years as injuries began to pile up, forcing him to miss his entire junior season with a knee injury. He would transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL for his senior year, under the tutelage of head coach Kenny Natt, a coach in the NBA for 13 seasons.
When he signed with DePaul, critics speculated whether the Mac Irvin Fire AAU product had the work ethic needed to put his amazing skill set to work. Will he be soft or will he be a guy to give around 10 and 10 a game on most nights?
His critics took notice game one as Hamilton had a 16 point, eleven rebound debut in a win over Grambling State. The young center went 8-for-11 from the field and spun to the basket with ease. Hamilton became a 10-point threat a game for the Blue Demons, and a guy that could be relied on to hit the three, knocking down nearly half of his shots from downtown.
Like any freshman, he has experienced a number of growing pains, like his troubles against Northwestern, Georgetown and Marquette. Hamilton's play has never diminished, though. He helped keep DePaul in last Tuesday's loss to Creighton for as long as they could, knocking down two crucial 3-pointer's. Hamilton was a big reason for DePaul's double overtime win at Butler, dropping 17, including a three to charge the comeback late in the second half, and grabbing 12 boards.
Hamilton has the potential to be one of the best big men in the Big East, and as he grows into his own as a player, he and Billy Garrett will be called on to lead DePaul back to the Big Dance. He's shown that drive that critics were afraid he didn't have. He'll have his games, but he's in the right system. Oliver Purnell gets a lot out of his center. He's a big reason why DePaul has won back-to-back Big East games for the first time in six years. Hamilton is a key component to this DePaul team, and if he can elevate his game even more against 6th-ranked Villanova this Saturday, it'll give the Blue Demons an outside chance at an upset..