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April 3, 2013

Hamilton looking to take UTEP to next level


Sooner or later, a new term will replace "mid-major."

The success of mid-majors in the NCAA Tournament has been well documented with George Mason, Butler, VCU and now Wichita State making the Final Four.

While those upper-end, mid-majors are seeing an ability to get better players, not many five-stars have taken them seriously.

UTEP signee Isaac Hamilton has and the No. 16 player in the class of 2013 is driven to take the Miners to the levels of those other programs.

In Chicago for the McDonald's All-American game, the 6-foot-5 guard from Los Angeles (Calif.) St. John Bosco is surrounded by players going to big-name programs such as Arizona, Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Hamilton knows he could have gone that route, but wanted to do something different.

"I wanted to go with somebody I trust and I think the kind of relationship Tim Floyd and I have he can be like a second father in a way but still my coach," Hamilton told Rivals.com. "He's a player-developer and former NBA coach. I feel like he will make my game better."

A smooth scorer who will play the shooting and point guard positions in El Paso, Hamilton thinks that his team can make the leap from a good team to an NCAA Tournament team.

"I think we can do that to," said Hamilton. "Mid-majors are 'in' right now. There are more solid players and the teams have been there and gotten experience. Then you get them against teams with one and done and sometimes they are trying to win with just talent. But I think experience is more than talent at times."

The way Hamilton sees the UTEP roster, he thinks the Miners are close to turning things around. That's why he made the decision to buck the trend of going to power schools to go somewhere that he felt he could be the missing piece.

"You got guys that play defense and they aren't complaining," Hamilton said. "Coach Floyd is going to set all the rules and tell me what I need to do and the other players what they need to do. I think we can make that run to the NCAA Tournament and I'm ready to compete.

"I just know that if they had that one extra guy to score a little bit, I think they could be that much better. That's what I think I can bring to UTEP and that's why I chose to go to UTEP."



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