Hamilton provides rebounding and defense

Gary Hamilton has an important job on the men’s basketball team. His role is to play defense and get rebounds, two areas where the team is hurting for production.

To his credit, Hamilton has tried to fill that role, averaging 4.4 rebounds per game in about 17 minutes of action. However, his numbers have not risen from last season like he would have hoped, and the ‘Canes are still struggling in these areas.

“Coming into the season, I just wanted to play my role, which was to grab rebounds and play defense,” Hamilton said. “I hoped my numbers would be bigger than they were last year, but it hasn’t happened so far.”

Hamilton, a sophomore who comes off the bench for the ‘Canes, gives them depth inside and has potential to be a key contributor. His offensive game has not shown much yet, but his role on this team has not primarily been to score.

“We really need his rebounding numbers to go up because we have enough scorers on this team,” Head Coach Perry Clark said. “Certainly, it will help him if he can make open shots, but we are small on the perimeter so we need him to rebound.”

As a freshman, Hamilton picked up the slack for the injured Will Frisby with his aggressive rebounding and defense. The ‘Canes struggled as a team, but Hamilton showed promise for the future.

“Coming in, Gary was a real pleasant surprise last year because he gave us a lot defensively and rebounding the basketball,” Clark said. “He has worked on his offensive game and on getting better offensively and as he continues to work on his body and get stronger, he can give us a really good low post presence. When he is at his best, he can play low post defense better than anyone in the league.”

Hamilton really picked up confidence in his basketball abilities in tenth grade, and since then, he has worked hard to get himself into a position to succeed in the sport in the future. He comes from a basketball family, with three younger brothers, an older brother, and an older sister. His three younger brothers all play basketball.

“My three younger brothers all play, and they try to compete with me and tell me that they are so much better than me,” Hamilton said.

Off the court, Hamilton is polite and thoughtful, but very quiet until he gets to know someone. On the court, he is a complete opposite.

“I try to play mean and aggressive basketball on the court,” Hamilton said. “My dad always tried to push me to work hard to keep getting better.”

The improvement of Hamilton would be a huge boost to the ‘Canes defense and rebounding. As of today, the ‘Canes are 13-8 and are trying to keep their chances at the NCAA Tournament alive. Rebounding and defense are key ingredients to getting there.

“We can still make the NCAA Tournament if we play hard and win these next couple of games,” Hamilton said. “We just need to play better, and if we can do that and eliminate mistakes, we will take care of business.”

Darren Grossman can be contacted at d.grossman@umiami.edu.