For those who haven't heard the big news from yesterday, McDonald's All-American and cornerstone of the Miners' lauded recruiting class is considering attending USC. Many cite the health of his grandmother as the main reason Hamilton now wants out of UTEP. The SoCal product would obviously be much closer to home playing for the Trojans. We know that Isaac recently had a death in the family that has delayed his arrival to El Paso. This is a tough time for Isaac and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and the rest of the Hamilton family.
From a purely UTEP perspective though, there is no denying that this would be a raw deal for the Miners. Much of the hype around the upcoming season has been built around the arrival of Hamilton. Miner fans have spent all of the offseason daydreaming about Hamilton joining McKenzie Moore and Coop in the backcourt, making life easier for Julian Washburn and the bigs. No doubt Floyd was licking his chops at the opportunity to draw up plays for the talented guard. That explains his stance on the matter:
Tim Floyd's comments as reported by the El Paso Times:
"He had two choices - one, not to sign the letter of intent or two, to file an appeal. I'm not releasing him... We have made our schedule based on having Isaac. People have bought season tickets based on our having Isaac. It's too late. He can appeal and we'll wait to see what happens. If he is allowed out, we might as well not even have letters of intent."
It's important to note that this story is developing and we will find out more in the coming days. Right now we have more questions than answers. Until this story reaches a conclusion, let's chew on the following questions:
Will Isaac Hamilton win his appeal?
If he does win his appeal and attends USC, where does that leave UTEP?
Can the Miners win C-USA without Isaac Hamilton? (My preliminary answer is a definite yes)
How would Hamilton's decision to not attend UTEP affect the team's morale/style of play?
If he does not win his appeal, what exactly would that mean? Would he have to play for the Miners, or would he refuse to play somehow?
Would there be tensions in the locker room between Hamilton and Floyd, or even other players, if the appeal is not won?
Would he choose to transfer after a year at UTEP even if he doesn't win his appeal?
Remember the Trojans and Miners are both part of the Battle 4 Atlantis field early in the season. If Hamilton gets his way and goes to USC, the silver lining might be a possible matchup in that tournament that would be dripping with "revenge/redemption" for Coach Floyd against the school that threw him under the bus AND took one of his more prized recruits.