Justyn Hamilton

Men's Basketball Tessa Sayers/OwlSports.com Staff Writer

Have Ball Will Travel – The Basketball Life of Justyn Hamilton

Justyn Hamilton was sitting at his house when his phone rang. It was his AAU coach calling to tell him that he was invited to the USA Basketball National Junior Camp.
 
"I was just shocked," Hamilton said, "It was a great feeling."
 
At the camp, Hamilton played on the same team as the third overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Jayson Tatum. While playing with Tatum was a great experience, the moment that stands out most to Hamilton was a conversation he had with the coaching staff.
 
"They told me how well I was doing," Hamilton said, "and that I had a lot of potential."

That potential was the same thing Hamilton's dad saw in him 10 years earlier when he took him to a recreation center and signed him up to play basketball when he was six years old.
 
"I wanted to play basketball myself," Hamilton said. "I was always interested in it, so my dad let me play."
 
Growing up, basketball was nothing more than a game to Hamilton. He played because he loved it. But the summer going into his freshman year of high school, Hamilton learned first-hand the impact a game can have on your life.
 
That summer, Hamilton's family relocated from his home state of Virginia to North Carolina, where he didn't know anyone. 
 
Even though he was in a new state, there was one thing that was the same: basketball.
 
"My first week down in Charlotte I just went to the gym and I met people," Hamilton said. "To this day I still know those guys, they are my friends and it helped me build new relationships."
 
Those people Hamilton made relationships with also saw potential in him. He was named to the varsity team his freshman year of high school and earned a starting spot his sophomore year.
 
"It was a great feeling," Hamilton said, "to know all of the work I put in paid off."
 
Hamilton is once again relocating, this time from North Carolina to North Broad Street, a place Hamilton never really thought he would end up.
 
"I was never particularly like, 'I want to play Division I basketball,' it just happened," Hamilton said. "And here I am."
 
He is now with another group of coaches who saw potential in the 6-10 center. And this time, Hamilton is familiar with the people he'll be joining in Philadelphia, especially freshman forward J.P. Moorman.  
 
The duo never played together, but Hamilton and Moorman were both ranked in North Carolina and attended the same tournaments and camps where they would watch each other play. Now, for the first time in their careers, Moorman and Hamilton will be on the court together wearing the same jersey.
 
"It feels great," Hamilton said. "It feels like we are one big family, we are just trying to be successful and trying to win games."
 
Hamilton is ready. He is ready to win games and prove he has the potential that so many people have seen in him.
 
More importantly, he is ready to make his family and everyone who told him they believe in him proud; especially the first person who saw his potential, the person who introduced him to the game and the person he knows he can always count on: his dad.
 
"I always call him," Hamilton said. "He tells me that I can do it and to just keep working and never put my head down, and to believe in myself."

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