Hamilton Paying His Dues

Vernon Hamilton has gone through the trials and tribulations that one would expect a freshman point guard to go through in his first year of play in the ACC. "I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed with an ACC program," said Hamilton.

On the court, he's shown flashes of brilliance this season from the point guard position. He possesses exceptional quickness and stellar ball handling to go along with being a terrific defender.

And through 24 games, he is averaging 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.96 steals in 27.2 minutes per contest.

Not bad for a freshman.

On the other hand, he has certainly experienced his share of ups and downs as well.

Hamilton started the first 16 games of the season before sophomore Shawan Robinson took his place to offer some stability at the point. "It's a little different coming off the bench," said Hamilton. "I would prefer to start, but I'm happy doing whatever it takes for us to win."

As a senior in high school, he averaged 24.1 points, 7.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and two steals per game and led his team to a state title.

He also had the opportunity to go up against some of nation's top talent on the hardwood. During his career at Benedictine High School, he faced future ACC foes such as Virginia's J.R. Reynolds and Duke's J.J. Redick.

While that may be a far cry from the 7 points a game he's averaging now, Hamilton maintains that he can shoot the basketball better than most may think.

"I have struggled with my confidence shooting the ball this year, but I haven't ever doubted my ability," said Hamilton. "I know that I can score from the perimeter."

Of course, Hamilton had a lot of pressure put on him from the minute he stepped foot on Clemson's campus.

Expectations were high for the freshman to step in and carry this young team much like All-ACC point guard Edward Scott did for the Tigers last season. "I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed with an ACC program," said Hamilton.

Hamilton may not be quite ready to carry the scoring load for the Tigers, but that will most certainly come as he and the rest of the team grow under first year head coach Oliver Purnell.

How quickly that growth occurs will likely dictate how quickly the program as a whole, gets turned around.

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