When Daniel Hamilton declared for the draft on March 24th, it appeared as though he was going to test the waters before hiring an agent. About a week later, Hamilton set the record straight:
I’m not testing the waters or anything like that. I’m all in.
Although Hamilton had been on the NBA radar for awhile prior to declaring for the draft, many thought he would dip his toes in the water before returning to UConn for another year. That extra year would help him develop his game and perhaps become a high-1st round selection in 2017. When he signed an agent and officially declared for the draft, there was some uncertainty about where and when he would be drafted.
When the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Hamilton with the 56th pick*, his decision to leave UConn after his sophomore year was validated. He will not have an instant impact on the Thunder and will likely need some time in the D-league to mature and muscle-up, but will be earning a paycheck and be able to help support his family.
I had a great experience at UConn. It was a great ride. I’m glad we won the AAC tournament and played in the NCAA Tournament. But after talking it over with my family, I just feel this is the best thing, to provide for my family, help my family out.
Although it is the right decision for Hamilton and I do not begrudge him for leaving, selfishly I would have much rather seen him develop under Kevin Ollie at UConn for 1 more year and come out as a lottery pick in 2017. I wish Hamilton the best of luck in his next adventure!
*The Denver Nuggets technically drafted Hamilton and traded his rights to the Oklahoma City Thunder.