By Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writer
The thorough analysis couldn’t have come at a better time for Pasadena High School’s Blake Hamilton.
The senior guard currently is weighing his options on where he’ll play college basketball. Schools have been looking at him closely, including Sacramento State, University of Pacific, Hawaii and Long Beach State, among others.
The 6-foot-4 Hamilton had one of his best games of the season with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in the Bulldogs’ 81-67 semifinals win over Beverly Hills last week to clinch a spot in this weekend’s Division 3AAA title game against Arroyo Grande.
Hamilton knew that college coaches were there evaluating him, but what he didn’t know was that he was playing in the presence of a former NBA scout.
Clarence Gaines Jr., a former scout with the Chicago Bulls, attended the game with his young son and said he was asked by a friend to watch the game and keep a close eye on Hamilton.
Gaines wrote a nearly-600 word analysis on Hamilton and posted it on TwitLonger:
“Long wing span & vertical extension – average size hands,” starts Gaines. “Speed, quickness & acceleration. Very coordinated. Explosive – good jumping ability with a step. Light on his feet, quiet runner, lowers stress on the joints.”
Pasadena coach Tim Tucker was made aware of the piece and was thrilled about it.
“I thought he was pretty spot on,” Tucker said. “I think if Blake was a junior he’d be a high Division 1 player because he’d have another year to mature.”
Tucker added that Hamilton would benefit from a year at a prep school.
“He’ll be Division I player one way or another,” he said.
Hamilton received news of the article through Twitter, and he was delighted to say the least.
“I really like what he wrote about me,” Hamilton said. “He was real accurate and it’ll really be good for me because I know what I need to work on that can help me with my game.”
Hamilton said he’ll use the article to market himself to other schools.
“I think it’ll give me a good image,” he said.
Gaines did have some criticism.
“Only aspect of his defensive game I was disappointed in was on the ball defense,” Gaines wrote. “Plays high & let average athletes get to the rim on him a couple of times. Depending too much on length & hands to play instead of moving his feet. Plays high defensively. Needs to get lower. Improved core & lower body strength should remedy this weakness in time.”
Hamilton said he appreciated the feedback, especially on areas where he needs to improve.
The final verdict?
“Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this kid to a mid-major Division 1 program,” Gaines wrote. “Wouldn’t be too concerned with worrying if he is a 3 or a 2. He’s got wing skills, but I think he can also play on top of the floor.
“I like versatile players who can do a lot of things well. He fits that template.”