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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Hamilton, Williams friendship on hold “

Hamilton, Williams friendship on hold

TULSA, Okla. – Two best friends won’t be speaking this weekend.

Forwards Derrick Williams of Arizona and Texas’ Jordan Hamilton don’t expect to be sending each other friendly ‘good luck’ texts nor reveling in their past history. With their Wildcats and Longhorns set to clash in Sunday’s NCAA third round game in Tulsa, Okla., it’s a love-hate relationship currently in the state of hate.

“”I talked to (Williams) when they were doing the brackets,”” Hamilton said. “”It was just crazy, like I said, how they put us in Tulsa together. And now that we’re playing against each other, it’s going to be like a reunion.

“”But there are no friends out there on the court,”” the Longhorn sharpshooter added. “”So as of right now, he’s not my friend.””

Both sophomores, Williams and Hamilton go back to their freshman year in high school, where they were travel-team roommates on the Team Odom AAU squad.

Back then, it was Hamilton who was the hot prospect, a dead-eye shooter who to this day isn’t shy about launching 3-pointers. Williams, on the other hand, wasn’t on most Division I schools’ radars during his freshman year in high school. 

In the middle of an awkward growth spurt, Arizona’s star sophomore wasn’t much taller than 6-foot nothing, his body aching to the point where he couldn’t dunk a basketball until the 11th grade.

 

“”Believe it or not, he wasn’t athletic at all,”” Hamilton said. “”I know early on in our AAU trips and things like that, we’ll have to call a timeout because he was hitting a growth spurt, and his knees were hurting. He’ll have to ice his knees at timeouts.””

So Williams practiced what he could, developing the beginnings of a jump shot that now puts him at a 61 percent 3-point shooting percentage. That whole athleticism thing came around, too.

“”I couldn’t jump, so I was shooting the ball,”” Williams said Saturday. “”Now my legs are fine, I’m jumping out of the gym.””

They last met in high school, where Hamilton’s Dominguez High School faced Williams’ La Mirada High School for a berth in the city championship game. Guarding one another, Hamilton said each scored around 25 points, but his Dominguez team won by five.

But their friendship developed off the court as well. Saturday, they bickered — through the media’s third-person accounts — about who was the messier roommate and how many times Williams had lost to Hamilton’s little brother, Daniel, in their past NBA 2K-series video game battles.

Ready to clash once again, both are now NBA-level talents — they each said Saturday that, as of now, they’re returning next season — with eerily similar stat lines.

Both average 19 points and eight rebounds per outing, Williams pointed out, crediting their time spent this past summer at Los Angeles’ HAX training center, where they worked out alongside NBA players like James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“”Me and Jordan, just sitting back and looking at how hard they work,”” Williams said, “”Just watching older players, more mature players, especially that have already made it to the NBA, has really helped us.””

Now, they face off on a little bit bigger of a stage. With business-like mindsets, Saturday’s game comes down to Williams’ efficiency against Hamilton’s quick trigger.

“”He’s not going to like this one, but he took a lot of shots,”” Williams reminisced about Hamilton’s shot selection in AAU ball. “”That’s just his game.””

 

Soundbite

Williams got a laugh from the media members when he said that Hamilton has “”taken 200-and-something more shots than the second-leading player on their team. He’s a shooter, he’s supposed to shoot. He’s like J.R. Smith on the Nuggets.””

He wasn’t kidding.

Hamilton, has taken 534 shot attempts this season, 217 more than Texas’ next leading shot-taker, Cory Joseph. Hamilton’s 44 percent accuracy compares to Williams’ 61 percent overall shooting on 336 shots taken. 

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