Skyforce Profile: Big Man Justin Hamilton
A breakout game for a big man could put him on the path to the NBA. However, it takes more than one game to prove your worth. Justin Hamilton of the Sioux Falls Skyforce will have to consistently put forth the effort and establish himself as a bona fide top level player. Saturday night the big man hit three crucial three point baskets in the fourth quarter and scored 26 points overall along with grabbing 19 rebounds to help defeat the Iowa Energy 108-98. Through the first four games of the season, Hamilton is making his way by averaging 13.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and just over two blocks per game.
A seven-foot center who grew up in the state of Utah, Hamilton didn’t really catch on to basketball until his high school years. “I had a bad experience, I was real small and had a bad coach. I just thought it wasn’t fun. I played every other sport imaginable, skateboard and snowboard. I did everything but play basketball. Then when I was in high school, I was six foot six in my sophomore year playing football and my Dad asked me to try out for the basketball team because he thought I would be good at it. I made the sophomore team, played JV the next year and did varsity my senior year.”
From there Hamilton was recruited by Iowa State where he spent two years and then his Junior year at LSU before joining the professional ranks. He was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round and traded to Miami back in 2012. In return, the Sixers got Arnett Moultrie who ended up in Sioux Falls on assignment.
Hamilton took the overseas route to start his pro career with stints in Croatia and Latvia and Miami retained his rights through the process. Noting the lineage, playing in Croatia is somewhat of a homecoming. Justin’s mother is from Croatia and the family spent one year in that country during his younger years.
After attending training camp with Miami this fall, Hamilton was impressed with how the Heat take care of business. For now, the goal is to get back with the parent club. “I fit in really well (at camp). I work really hard and the team really liked that and accepted me into the team. I’m looking to get back and I’m just trying to make my way now.” As for the mask, that was a lasting impression of Miami Heat training camp as he took one to the nose during practice.