Hampton’s presence was a catalyst for Eagles
Above: Marshall’s Dorian Hampton. (Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
LA CANADA – He didn’t play for a big school, but he made huge contributions in big games. At times, he virtually was unstoppable.
Marshall Fundamental senior Dorian Hampton simply enjoys playing basketball.
Hampton is preparing with the Star-News team for Saturday night’s fifth annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic at Azusa Pacific’s Felix Center at 7:30.
He was second on the team in scoring behind junior Terrell Burnett and averaged 12.8 points. He led the team in rebounds at 8.5 per game.
“He was really one of our main rebounders and provided our low-post game,” Marshall coach Jerry DeLaurie said. “Without him, we aren’t reaching the semifinals or getting the 20 wins.
“Without his inside presence, we wouldn’t have had the success we had.”
Marshall finished 20-8 last season, but went 1-3 in the first four games of the year without him because of an ankle injury.
In seven playoff games over the last two years, he averaged just over 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“I think that’s the biggest stat that sticks out with me for Dorian,” DeLaurie said. “He really took his game to the next level. He really played big in big games, there’s no doubt about it.”
The 6-foot-4 senior contributed with eight points and 10 rebounds to lead the Eagles to upsets over Pacific Hills in the regular season.
“That win lifted our spirits a lot,” Hampton said. “But it got us a little overconfident against the Maranatha team and we ended up losing that game.”
Hampton came back with an 18-point, 14-rebound performance in a 54-50 victory over No. 1-ranked Woodcrest Christian in the CIF-Southern Section Division V-AA quarterfinals at Muir High.
“When we beat them, it was cool,” Hampton said. “They were very physical, but we stuck through it and everything turned out for us in the end.”
It appeared he might be able to help his team overcome a deficit and beat Pacific Hills again in the semifinals.
He scored 16 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked five shots. But he eventually fouled out and the Eagles fell just short.
“That game, I didn’t want it to be the last senior game and I fought hard for my team,” Hampton said. “The crowd was in it and brought us back, but the foul at the end had us down by three and brought us back down.”
Hampton often made it look easy, whether it was a drive for a dunk or a long-range shot. The road through his high school career, however, was filled with obstacles.
“Individually, I put a lot of work into it,” Hampton said. “I had a lot going for me, I was working at the same time, but I still maintained practices as much as I could.”
Added DeLaurie: “We don’t have many guys in our area, 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, that are able to shoot three’s and dribble the length of the floor. He can turn a game around by himself, like he did in the semis against Pacific Hills.”
Hampton was one of the options on the court last season. But with the departure of last year’s leading scorer Sean Benn, it was up to the senior to pick up the scoring slack. He took the challenge to heart and the team began to respond with victories.
“I tried to score a lot of points for the team and get us a lot of momentum with my dunks and everything to get the crowd into the game,” Hampton said.
As he and his teammates worked on developing their game, Hampton has enjoyed his time at Marshall, including the last two years on varsity. He had to make some adjustments along the way.
“I’ve been going there since my freshman year,” Hampton said. “We just got our coach, Jerry DeLaurie, a couple of years ago. I kind of liked our old coach, Coach G (Quintin Grogan), but I’ve been sticking in there.”
Playing with the likes of Keion Bell, Justin Cook and Marcus Harvey, Hampton is excited about the opportunity to play Saturday.
“We’ve got a very athletic team and we should get the crowd excited,” Hampton said. “I’m very excited about the competition.”
The Eagles standout also could have the crowd excited in the slam-dunk competition.
He is looking into attending Cal State L.A. or Cal State Northridge. He’s even thinking about going to UCLA as a walk-on.
“I would try to walk on and bulk up a little bit,” Hampton said.