Paranoia is a near-universal symptom among college basketball coaches in today’s landscape. Coaches live in a constant state of skepticism and/or fear surrounding their recruiting practices, and even when things seem incredible legitimate, that skepticism can still carry the day.
That fact has never been more evident than in the case of current UTEP recruit Issac Hamilton and UTEP head coach Tim Floyd. Hamilton has reportedly (via ESPN’s Andy Katz) asked for a release from his letter of intent in order to stay closer to home. Hamilton has a sick grandmother who would love to see him play and, because he is from southern California, he is seeking a transfer to USC or UCLA before the season begins.
Floyd announced Monday that he isn’t going to release Hamilton from his LOI as a result of suspected tampering in the situation. The aforementioned paranoia rears its head here as Floyd likely believes either (or both) USC and UCLA has been recruiting the highly-ranked Hamilton off the grid, and that the universities are using his grandmother as leverage.
Hamilton has the option to simply rip up the LOI and attend one of the universities, but in order to do so, he would have to waive his scholarship for his freshman season and pay his own way. That would be highly unusual, but because Hamilton is the younger brother of an NBA player (former Texas swingman Jordan Hamilton), it isn’t out of the question. The final fallout of this situation likely won’t arrive for weeks, but it could be a landmark case in the “new” world of college basketball, and as such, it is certainly worth monitoring in the coming days.