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BUCKS BEAT: Texas' Hamilton offers promise

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CHICAGO -- Upside.

That word is music to the ears of NBA player personnel directors.

If a player possesses upside, it means they haven't maxed out their potential, that there is room for growth.

Upside often comes up when discussing Jordan Hamilton, a highly-intriguing 6-foot-8 shooting guard-small forward from Texas.

Hamilton is generally regarded by NBA scouts as a late first-round pick, but there are some league officials who contend Hamilton will be picked much higher than that ... because of his upside.

Hamilton certainly seems to have an abundance of upside. In each of his two seasons at Texas, he displayed continual improvement in all facets of his game.

As a freshman, Hamilton averaged 10 points. Last season, he made a quantum leap and averaged 18.6 points.

As a freshman, he averaged 3.7 rebounds. Last season? He averaged 7.7 rebounds.

As a freshman, Hamilton shot 41 percent from the field and .578 from the free throw line. Last season, he shot 44 percent and .779, respectively.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who have the 10th overall pick, are bound to give Hamilton a long, serious look. In fact, Hamilton was one of the first players they extensively interviewed at the Westin Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Hamilton's interest in the Bucks is mutual. He likes the Bucks' potential, er upside, and he wouldn't mind renewing acquaintances with Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings.

"I've known Brandon a long time, since I was in eighth grade and he was in ninth grade on the AAU circuit," Hamilton said. "And I played against him in different camps and we built a good relationship."

Hamilton said their friendship is not only built on basketball but on religion as well. Hamilton then pulled out his Blackberry and revealed an instant message he had received earlier in the day from Jennings.

It read: "In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:4-5

Hamilton then added, "Brandon sends me bible scriptures every day."

Because of his size -- Hamilton was measured at 6-6¾ without shoes and 6-8½ with shoes -- there is a perception his natural position would be small forward.

Not so. It seems different teams have different ideas as to which is the best spot on the floor for him.

"After I talked teams, I asked them what I can do to get better and where they think I'll play," Hamilton said. "The Bucks see me as a two (shooting guard); the Wizards see me as a three (small forward) and the Spurs didn't say thing."

Besides the Bucks, Hamilton has planned workouts before the June 23 draft with Washington, Houston and Indianapolis, among other teams. He has confidence he'll wow them.

"People don't know how explosive I am or how athletic I am; I really didn't show that at Texas," Hamilton said. "And my passing is underrated.

"I think they are going to see what I can really do once the workouts start."

Nearing the finish line

I'm hearing Mike Brown is the frontrunner for the Golden State head coaching job, that Dwane Casey holds a slight edge over Kevin McHale for the Houston head coaching job and that Rick Adelman leads the pack for the Los Angeles Lakers job.

The Detroit Pistons will also likely be in the market for a new head coach after the first week of June when the ownership of the team becomes official. The probable dismissal of coach John Kuester could be the first step of a major blowup with the Pistons.

Bonus shots

San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard is projected as a mid-first round pick and someone of interest to the Bucks, who have the 10th overall pick. But the Bucks also have an interest in Leonard's teammate and good friend, Malcolm Thomas. A 6-8 forward with exceptional leaping ability, Thomas interviewed with the Bucks on Thursday. He is considered a second-round pick. ... Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, the consensus No. 1 pick, not only blew off drills at the pre-draft camp but he didn't even submit to any team interview. ... Irving, by the way, likes to play the baritone saxaphone. ... Oakland center Keith Benson showed some remarkable jumping ability at the camp, easily touching the 12-foot bar --- or roughly the equivalent of the top of the box on the backboard. ... The Bucks interviewed Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight, who might have the distinction of being the smartest player in the draft class. Knight boasted a 4.3 grade point average in high school and 4.0 at Kentucky. . The final word comes from Duke forward Kyle Singler who, when asked what separates him from others at the pre-draft camp, quipped: "I have a degree."



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