When news hit Friday afternoon that 5 star recruit Isaac Hamilton had verbally committed to play for the Miners, it came as a shock to many around the basketball world. The 6'5 combo guard out of the Los Angeles area held offers from some of the biggest programs in the nation, and had narrowed his list to include schools like UCLA, San Diego State, and UNLV.
Perhaps what made the announcement an even bigger shock, was the fact that Hamilton's attire for the ESPNU signing day special just so happened to be a UCLA powder blue sweater and gold bowtie. Every basketball fan who was watching, including Miner fans, assumed that was a sign that Hamilton would be committing to play for the Bruins. Of course we know now, that wasn't the case.
Ultimately, Hamilton's decision to commit to the Miners came down to the relationship that Coach Floyd has established with Isaac's family over the years. Hamilton's uncle, Kevin, was recruited by Floyd in the 80's, and played his collegiate ball in the Orange and Blue.
Also, while at USC, Floyd recruited Isaac's older brother, Jordan, to play for the Trojans. He didn't land him, but still, his relationship with the Hamilton family continued to grow. And for Isaac, he felt that's what made El Paso best for him.
"A lot of people don't know this, but Tim Floyd has been a close friend to the family...I just felt that I should go with somebody that I trust, and feel that I know...Coach Floyd is like family and he's done an outstanding job developing guards. It was the best fit for me."
As the words came out of Hamilton's mouth, "Next year I will be attending the University of Texas at El Paso", Miner Nation erupted. Not only for what Isaac will do for the Miners on the court, but also for the simple fact that those words officially placed UTEP back on the map.
Since taking over the program, coach Tim Floyd and his staff have done an amazing job recruiting and scheduling, building this program back into what it was years ago, and what it should be today. Floyd's agenda as the head coach of the Miners is not just to be one of the best programs in Conference USA, but to be one of the best in the nation.
So far, so good. No doubt there is still a ton of work to be done, but Floyd is quietly building one of the most talented, young teams in the country. As of now, the 2013 Miners' roster will look something like this:
|Chris Washburn Jr.||Forward||Sophomore||6'8||240|
Right now, Miner Nation couldn't be more ecstatic. Isaac Hamilton becomes the first ESPN Top 100 player to commit to the Miners since the network started the list in 2007. He ranks as the number 25 player on that list, and is also considered the 5th best shooting guard in the 2013 class.
And make no mistake, the UTEP coaching staff is still hard at work, continuing to recruit some of the top players in the nation. Not only for the class of 2013, but for the class of 2014 and beyond.
Another name to keep an out for now, happens to be a familiar one. Class of 2014 shooting guard Daniel Hamilton, younger brother of Isaac, could become the biggest target for Floyd and his coaching staff in that class. He is considered the 23rd best player in the 2014 class, and like Isaac, the 5th best shooting guard in the country.
Whether or not Floyd is able to land the younger Hamilton remains to be seen, but in any case, he continues to impress. At this point, we probably shouldn't be shocked at anything he is able to pull off. The future for this program looks extremely bright, and it is seemingly only getting brighter.