Above: Presenting Blake Hamilton with a Player of the Game plaque at the Star-News/Tribune All-Star Game.
The recruiting process went longer than expected, but in the end Pasadena High School’s Blake Hamilton felt the move paid off as he’s signed to play basketball at Northern Arizona.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for the Bulldogs, chose to make Flagstaff, Arizona his home for the next four years over Cal State Northridge, Hawaii and New Mexico State. Hamilton becomes Pasadena coach Tim Tucker’s first Division I athlete since Joe Henson signed with San Jose State four years ago. Before that, it was Keion Bell, who attended Pepperdine and recently transfered to Missouri.
“We’re excited,” said Tucker, the 2011-12 Star-News Coach of the Year. “We feel we can start that tradition again. We have five Division I players still and we’re happy that Blake’s getting this started again. He worked really hard to get to this point, and it shows that hard work pays off.”
Hamilton is coming off a game-high, 33-point performance in the ninth annual Star-News/Tribune All-Star Basketball Game. He helped the Bulldogs to a 10th consecutive Pacific League title and the school’s fifth CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA championship. Pasadena reached the semifinals of the CIF State Division III Southern California Regional.
Hamilton had an incredible showing in the playoffs, particulary in the state playoffs. He reeled off 25 points, six rebounds four steals and three assists in the second round of the State playoffs. With UCLA coach Ben Howland and Cal State Northridge coach Bobby Braswell in attendance, Hamilton followed up his performance with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Tucker said it was his performance in the playoffs when Hamilton began gaining more noteriety. Pasadena lost to St. John Bosco in the State playoffs on a last-second shot.
But for Hamilton, who made an official visit to Hawaii, said the chance to play immediately and still be close to home was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I’m just happy to get started at the next level,” Hamilton said. “I want to develop as a player and the best fit for me was in Arizona.”
Northern Arizona coach Jack Murphy certainly was enthused when Hamilton committed over the weekend.
“Blake is a young man who I called the first day I got the job,” Murphy said. “We got into his recruiting late but early into my head coaching career at NAU. He is an outstanding young man and a fantastic individual. He led his team to the CIF championship and comes from a
great basketball family. He has a wonderful mother and father who have raised him into the young man he is today.”
On a related note, fellow senior John Haywood will continue playing basketball at Citrus College. Haywood, a gifted guard with incredible athleticism, could soon join Hamilton at the next level.
“I can see John playing Division I in a couple years,” Tucker said.