Skip to content

Leonard Hamilton had a rough Tuesday

May 14, 2013, 1:43 PM EDT

Leonard Hamilton

The most disappointed guy in all of college basketball right now?

Leonard Hamilton, the head coach of Florida State’s basketball team.

Why?

Well, let’s start with the obvious. He had seemingly hit the lottery. The best basketball prospect since Kevin Durant was the son of two former Florida State athletes, his father a former first round pick in the NBA and his mother a two-time Olympic silver medalist sprinter. The Canadian native watched his best friend, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, commit to the Seminoles. He not only didn’t want to deal with the spotlight of being a superstar athlete in this country, but he also happened to commit after Kentucky stockpiled enough talent to take a shot at an undefeated season even without Wiggins on campus.

It was the perfect storm.

And Florida State still whiffed, as Andrew Wiggins announced that he would be heading to Kansas for his one season of college basketball.

This wasn’t the first time that Hamilton came so close to a once-in-a-decade caliber recruit. As Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports artfully detailed on Monday afternoon, Hamilton was an assistant coach at Kentucky when Ralph Sampson was a senior in high school. He all-but established residency in Sampson’s hometown, and he thought he was going to pull Sampson out of Virginia and to Lexington.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, as Sampson ended up playing four seasons as a Cavalier.

That’s tough, but it gets worse.

You see, the guy that won the Wiggins Sweepstakes is Bill Self. Self’s first job as a coach was as an assistant at Oklahoma State. The guy that hired him?

Leonard Hamilton. Here’s the story:

Leonard Hamilton was coaching at Oklahoma State then, and Self interviewed for an assistant’s job. Self was a former Oklahoma State player, so he thought he might have an inside line at the job. But during the interview, he noticed that Hamilton did not seem especially moved by anything he was saying. He actually looked kind of bored. Self has always had a gift for reading people.

“I’ll tell you what, Coach,” Self said. “If you hire me, I’ll get you a point guard for next year and you won’t even have to give up a scholarship.”

“You’ll get me a point guard?” Hamilton asked.

“Yep.”

“And I won’t have to give up a scholarship?” Hamilton asked.

“Yep.”

Hamilton agreed to the strange deal. And sure enough, a player named Jay Davis just showed up, out of nowhere, as a walk on. He was instantly the best point guard on the team. He had double the assists of anyone else, he led the team in steals, he played 32.4 minutes a game. The team was terrible, but Self was on the bench coaching.

Who was Jay Davis? Yep, he was Bill Self’s best friend. He had been a terrific high school basketball player but he had a lot more interest in living the college life than playing ball. “You’ve got to play on the team,” Self told him. Davis declined.

“You’ve GOT to play on the team,” Self told him. Davis declined again.

“YOU’VE GOT TO PLAY ON THE TEAM,” Self told him. Davis played on the team. He, better than anyone, knew that he wasn’t going to beat Bill Self at this game. Later, Davis was the best man at Self’s wedding, and vice versa.’

Ouch.

Now instead of being an ACC contender, the Seminoles look like they may be headed for the NIT again.

Double ouch.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Sophomore guard decides to leave Kansas program

    Oct 31, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

    Iona v Kansas Getty Images

    With the number of guards in the Kansas program, playing time was likely to be scarce for Conner Frankamp.

  2. All-Big West forward declared ineligible at Hawaii

    Oct 31, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Isaac Fotu Isaac Fotu

    Isaac Fotu’s part of the NCAA’s investigation into the program, and other schools have attempted to poach some of Hawaii’s remaining players.

  3. Top 25 Countdown: No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers

    Oct 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Malcolm Brogdon (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Virginia is coming off of a dual-ACC title and returns the majority of the key players from that team.

  4. Kentucky sits atop Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll

    Oct 31, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT

    AP AP

    No surprise that Kentucky’s on top. Also of note: No. 3 Wisconsin received more first-place votes than No. 2 Arizona.

  5. Foot injury to sideline Ball State guard eight to ten weeks

    Oct 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    North Carolina State v Cincinnati North Carolina State v Cincinnati

    The Cincinnati transfer was expected to factor into a rotation that’s replacing five seniors from last season’s team.

  6. Illinois declares home floor fit for play following flooding issue

    Oct 30, 2014, 11:53 PM EDT

    Twitter/IlliniHoops Twitter/IlliniHoops

    Quick action by construction workers ensured that it was declared ready for play two days after being flooded.

  7. Officiating controversy results in multiple suspensions

    Oct 30, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT

    Chris Collins, Bo Boroski Chris Collins, Bo Boroski

    Some officials are in hot water after compromising a system used by 20 different Division I conferences.

  8. Canadian forward/center verbally commits to Saint Louis

    Oct 30, 2014, 8:58 PM EDT

    crews AP

    Saint Louis adds more depth to its front court with this verbal commitment.

  9. Transfer center will sit out upcoming season at Florida

    Oct 30, 2014, 7:26 PM EDT

    John Egbunu, Austin Nichols, David Pellom John Egbunu, Austin Nichols, David Pellom

    John Egbunu was an American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team selection at USF last season.

  10. VCU’s Treveon Graham: From lightly recruited to leader of Havoc, the Atlantic 10 favorites

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The Preseason Atlantic 10 Player of the Year is looking to lead VCU deep into March.

  11. Canisius to be without two forwards due to ankle injury, suspension

    Oct 30, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Jim Baron Jim Baron

    The Golden Griffins have to account for the loss of four starters from last season’s 21-win team.

  12. Kentucky, Xavier among those participating in #Layup4Lauren challenge (VIDEOS)

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 4.03.04 PM

    Feel free to take this as my challenge to you all.

  13. Top 25 Countdown: No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels

    Oct 30, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    marcus paige Getty Images

    North Carolina should be a national title contender, but they do have some question marks.

  14. Dayton’s Elite 8 run, Archie Miller’s decision to stay help continue Atlantic 10’s success

    Oct 30, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Dayton head coach Archie Miller spurned high-major programs to remain at Atlantic 10. He’s not the only one in the league happy with where they are.

  15. Assigned Reading: Devonta Pollard opens up about the kidnapping he was involved in

    Oct 30, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT

    NIT Northeastern Alabama AP

    Pollard is looking to reignite his career at Houston this season.

  16. 2014-2015 Season Preview: Treveon Graham, VCU enter as favorites in the Atlantic 10

    Oct 30, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The Atlantic 10 is out to gain respect again this season from the rest of the college basketball world, a year after the league saw a record six teams selected for the NCAA tournament with one team reaching the Elite 8.