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March 20, 2012
MORE COLORADO: Get the news at BuffStampede.com
The Buffaloes' post-season run, which included a Pac-12 tournament championship and an upset victory over UNLV in the NCAA tournament, was sure to catch the attention of some basketball recruits.
Los Angeles (Calif.) St. John Bosco guard Isaac Hamilton, currently ranked as the nation's 12th best overall hoops prospect from the Class of 2013, is impressed with what Colorado was able to accomplish in its second season under Tad Boyle.
"I talked to Coach Boyle, basically they are a program that is getting up there to a higher level," said Hamilton, a combo guard that stands 6-foot-5, 195-pounds. "They are in a good conference, the Pac-12, so they play games out here in California and I believe Colorado is only like a two-hour flight from home. That is important because I want my family to be able to see me play."
Colorado's recruiting success isn't a surprise to Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer.
But Meyer says the success is not about being in the Pac-12 - or the recent victory in the postseason tournament.
"The most important aspect in Colorado's recent on the court and recruiting success is head coach Tad Boyle," Meyer said. "A prospects faith in the head coach is typically the most critical factor in recruiting."
Of course, success doesn't hurt.
"Boyle has taken the Colorado program to a higher level, including a Pac-12 championship," Meyer said. "This success is going to catch the attention of top recruits, and in Colorado's move to the Pac-12, catch the attention of recruits in the talent-laden state of California."
Family helps, too.
Hamilton plans to visit the Centennial State this later spring to see his older brother, Denver Nuggets rookie Jordan Hamilton.
"I haven't gone out to Denver yet to see my brother's house so my mom wants me to go out there during my spring break," he said. "I am going to check his situation out and while I am out there, I am going to go up to Colorado and check Boulder out. I want to see how I could adjust to the cold and see what the school's vibe is like."
Colorado, Arizona, USC, UCLA, UTEP, Washington, Louisville, Baylor, Houston, Oklahoma State, San Diego State and TCU are among the colleges that have offered Hamilton a scholarship.
The fact that Colorado is willing to get into the mix impresses Rivals.com anlayst Eric Bossi.
"A huge key with the Colorado staff's success is their firm belief that Colorado can win and their willingness to recruit against more traditional Pac 12 powers for talent," he said. "As a native of the state, Tad Boyle sees a lot of potential in the program and he and his staff have been able to get recruits to buy in that they are in it for the long haul in Boulder."
But is Hamilton? Right now, he says he's still exploring all his options.
"I talked to [Washington head coach] Lorenzo Romar and he wants me to visit and I talked to Arizona today and they want me to visit," he said. "I am planning to take some visits this summer before AAU season really hits. Our season just ended on Saturday so things are settling down and I can focus on scheduling visits.
"I couldn't even say a top five right now. Once I take my visits and I can see what colleges I am comfortable at, because that is going to be my new home, then I can go ahead and narrow things down and make a decision. I am sure every school is going to be great to visit, though. It is probably going to be a tough decision."
Playing primarily point guard during his junior season, Hamilton led the competitive Trinity League with 26.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He also averaged 2.1 steals while leading St. John Bosco to 25 wins.
Isaac's younger brother Daniel Hamilton averaged 18.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game as a sophomore this past season for the Braves. He is already considered a top recruit for 2014.
"It is great playing alongside my brother," Isaac said. "We are into the same colleges, too. The schools that like him like me, and vice versa. Playing with him again in college would be the ideal plan."
His oldest brother Gary Hamilton is playing professionally in Japan. Jordan Hamilton has seen action in 16 games for the Nuggets this season.
"When everybody is out here in the summer, and when there was the NBA lockout when Jordan was here, we play basketball every day," Isaac said. "I have another cousin that went to Central Connecticut so we are constantly battling in the backyard. Playing with all those guys got my game up to a higher level. I am thankful for that."