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Rebels in good recruiting position with 2018 guard Bryce Hamilton


L.E. Baskow

Belmont Shore’s Bryce Hamilton (4) drives the lane past the Colorado Chaos’ Tylor Trinh (24) during their AAU tournament game at Bishop Gorman High School on Wednesday, July 26 2017. Hamilton is the UNLV basketball program’s most prized recruiting prospect for the class of 2018.

UNLV Prospect Bryce Hamilton

Belmont Shore's Bryce Hamilton (4) drives around the Colorado Chaos defense during their AAU tournament game at Bishop Gorman High School on Wednesday, July 26 2017.  Hamilton is the UNLV basketball program's most prized recruiting prospect for the class of 2018. Launch slideshow »

Through the first half of Thursday’s AAU game between Belmont Shore and the Colorado Chaos, UNLV fans were probably questioning why the Rebels are recruiting Bryce Hamilton so intently. The 6-foot-4 lefty missed eight of his first 10 shots, clanked all four of his 3-point attempts and went into halftime with just five points to his name.

The highly touted SoCal scorer looked downright ordinary.

The recruiters in attendance — UNLV assistant Eric Brown included — were smarter than that. They stayed for the second half and saw Hamilton at his best, as he exploded for 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting over the final 16 minutes to lead his team to a win on the second day of the Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman.

Hamilton’s flame-throwing performance was the latest in a long line of impressive summer showings that have vaulted the 2018 guard into four-star status.

After the final buzzer, Hamilton said he knew early on that he would have to mix up his game plan.

“I realized my shot wasn’t falling, so I just decided to go to the cup and create baskets,” Hamilton said.

With his usually reliable outside shot temporarily unavailable (he finished 0-for-5 from 3-point range), Hamilton put the ball on the floor and scored his points mostly on drives and pull-up jumpers.

It was an impressive display and another reminder of the type of impact Hamilton could make at the college level.

When asked where he stands with recruiting, Hamilton was quick to mention the Rebels.

“I’m looking at UNLV, Santa Barbara, Utah, Colorado, Arizona State, a lot of Pac-12 schools and Utah State,” Hamilton said.

Though Hamilton hasn’t taken any official visits yet, it sounds like the Rebels are among the early front-runners. UNLV was one of the first schools to offer Hamilton a scholarship, and head coach Marvin Menzies has been active in his recruitment.

“I’ve been talking to coach Menzies and coach Brown,” Hamilton said. “[Menzies] has been telling me that UNLV has a good tradition and he thinks I’m a player that could bring it back.”

Hamilton put himself on the radar with a stellar junior season at Pasadena (Calif.), as he averaged 24.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while leading the team to the regional finals of the state tournament.

He said he hopes to make a college decision before the start of the 2017-18 high school season, and that he wants to go to a program that will help him achieve his ultimate goal.

“I’d like to go to a school where I can get a good education, have fun and be able to elevate my game and get to the NBA.”

Woodbury impresses

Hamilton wasn't the only Class of 2018 guard to show well at the Fab 48 on Thursday. Shortly after that game ended, local prospect Trey Woodbury took the court with his Vegas Elite team and scored 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting in front of an audience that included Menzies and assistant Rob Jeter.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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