After back-to-back misses on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bruins swung back with a big-time commitment.
Rivals.com broke the news this morning that five-star guard Isaac Hamilton has been admitted to UCLA, a welcome salve for the Bruins after missing out on four-star point guards Jordan McLaughlin and Quentin Snider. Originally signed with UTEP, Hamilton will need a waiver to play the upcoming season.
Ranked the No. 14 player in the 2013 class, the St. John Bosco shooting guard was originally a coup for coach Tim Floyd and the Miners. Top recruits in the west don’t often leave the region, and when they do, it’s to places like Durham or Lexington — not El Paso, which hasn’t seen an NCAA tournament win since 1992.
Earlier this summer, Hamilton asked to be released from his letter of intent in order to play closer to home and be near his ailing grandmother. Floyd, a former USC coach, denied the request, and accused new Trojans coach Andy Enfield of tampering with his recruit.
Now, the Bruins have ended up with a situation that mirrors one the football team just endured with defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes. The five-star talent signed with Notre Dame, then asked out of his letter of intent due to personal reasons — one of which was his grandmother’s breast cancer. Irish coach Brian Kelly turned him down, and Vanderdoes’ initial appeal was also denied. After an almost 90-minute long appeal by phone in August, the NCAA granted him immediate eligibility.
Hamilton, whose first appeal has already failed, will aim for the same result. How successful he’ll be is questionable, especially if his case hinges on being close to his grandmother; his younger brother, Daniel, is currently committed to UConn’s 2014 class.
On the court, Hamilton gives UCLA a polished threat who can pour in buckets immediately. While the 6-foot-4 guard is a talent, he isn’t an ideal fit for UCLA’s hole at point guard. His commitment, however, could tip dominoes and convince other recruits to play for new head coach Steve Alford.
For now, the onus remains on Alford’s son, Bryce, to prove himself capable of playing point guard. Bryce has insisted he is comfortable with the role, and was more of a pass-first guard earlier at La Cueva High. Fellow freshman Zach LaVine could also see time at the one, but sophomore Kyle Anderson will most likely be used as a forward.