Thursday, July 26, 2012 | 2 a.m.
- When and where to watch UNLV’s targets at the local AAU tournaments
- Darryl Gaynor breaking out just in time for AAU basketball week in Las Vegas
- UNLV commit Christian Wood nation’s No. 35 recruit in new Rivals rankings
- Las Vegas Prospects’ Shaquile Carr fielding a lot of national interest in class of 2014
- Sun coverage of high school basketball
AAU tournaments don’t allow a whole lot of time for reflection. After Wednesday night’s 67-40 loss, Isaac Hamilton considers that a good thing.
Hamilton, who has visited UNLV, plays for Dream Vision Elite, a San Diego-based AAU team that draws heavily on Las Vegas talent. Last year, it featured former Bishop Gorman star Shabazz Muhammad. This year, Hamilton is the go-to scorer, but from the opening tip of their adidas Super 64 contest at Rancho High against New Heights NYC, everything looked off.
Hamilton’s first shot attempt, a 3-pointer, was an air ball. That set the tone for everything that followed: poor passing, bad shot selection and general disarray.
And yet, nothing is really lost. Dream Vision isn’t knocked out of anything, and after coach Clayton Williams gave an impassioned speech for about 10 minutes after the game — one highlight: “You’re not as good as you think” — the players walked out of the gym with their heads held high, confident the defeat was already behind them.
“Tomorrow is a new day, a new opportunity,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton can’t afford to let one bad game trip him up, not with so many eyes on him this week.
In the crowd on Wednesday was UNLV associate head coach Justin Hutson, San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, UCLA coach Ben Howland, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend, just to name a few.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-4 guard ranked No. 12 in the class of 2013, won’t be able to put much of his offensive game from Wednesday onto a highlight film, but he was still hustling in transition and diving on loose balls. Coaches notice those things, and while the five-star recruit doesn’t exactly need to endear himself to a program any more than he already has, it doesn’t hurt, either.
Dream Vision plays twice on Thursday, first at 10:40 a.m. against Garner Road Basketball Club and then at 5:20 p.m. against Mass Rivals. This time around, the team won’t eat just 30 minutes before the game. They will be organized, and Hamilton will get his legs into his first shot. At least that’s the plan.
Whatever happens, Dream Vision will be done with pool play Thursday, which gives Hamilton ample time to further explore the city. He visited UNLV in May.
“I was just looking at everything,” Hamilton said. “It’s Vegas; you can see the lights. It’s just fun.”
Class of 2015 Bishop Gorman center Stephen Zimmerman, who has had to miss Dream Vision’s season because of a knee injury, could act as a de facto tour guide for a roster full of UNLV targets. Zimmerman already has a scholarship offer, and the Rebels also have their eyes on 2014 guard Namon Wright and 2014 forward Devin Burleson, who didn’t play Wednesday because of an injury.
Dream Vision also has Anthony January, whom UNLV was looking at in the class of 2012 before he reclassified to 2013, and Hamilton’s younger brother, Daniel, is on the roster, though he played Wednesday night in the Fab 48 at Gorman for Belmont Shore.
Hamilton has had his eye on the Rebels’ recruiting coup this offseason in assembling a top-10 class. Some may think all that talent would scare someone away to a program where they didn’t need to work so hard for playing time, but Hamilton seemed genuinely excited about the level of play that would take place in practice.
Hamilton has also visited San Diego State and UCLA. The current talent level at all three of those schools is about the same. The one thing the Rebels have going for them is that they’re the only show in town.
“They don’t have an NFL team, they don’t have an NBA team; it’s just UNLV,” Hamilton said. “All the fans are into it. It’s like having an NBA team.
“Having the opportunity to play in front of all of those fans and all of those stars is great. I would love to play for something like that.”