Tommy Hamilton, Jr. missed a good portion of his junior season at Whitney Young High School on Chicago's west side after undergoing surgery for an injured patella in December.
The 6-10, 230 lb. big man returned to the court for the Dolphins just in time for Whitney Young to make a run to the sectionals of the IHSA playoffs.
"I just worked hard in rehab and came back faster than I thought," said Tommy. "So I just gave it a shot. It felt good, so I just kept going. "
After missing so much time, the 6-10 center wasn't recognized in the Illinois postseason award honors, but did made his presence known during the IHSA regional and sectional.
"It was pretty cool," Hamilton said of the postseason run. "I was happy to be back and happy to be there for my team."
The Dolphins lost to eventual state champion Simeon in the Argo sectional semi-final game and finished the season at 16-10.
With his junior season behind him, Hamilton is now focused on the spring AAU season. Tommy is back playing with Mac Irvin Fire teammates Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, and future DePaul Blue Demon Billy Garrett, Jr. on the AAU circuit.
Hamilton feels close to being fully recovered from the earlier knee injury.
"I'm close to 100 percent now," said Tommy.
Hamilton, who is a 4-star prospect and is ranked as the third best center in the class of 2013 by Scout.com, looked impressive during the first two weekends of April playing for the Fire.
In Milwaukee last weekend, Hamilton and the Fire advanced all the way to the semi-finals of the platinum 17-U division of the NY2LA Swish ‘n Dish tournament.
"Part of an absolutely enormous frontline for the Fire, Hamilton had a very positive day," said Scout.com analyst Brian Snow. "Not always known for his hard running motor, Hamilton played with effort and had nice rebounds in traffic to go along with a skilled offensive game. Now he still floats too much around the perimeter, but Hamilton has unquestioned skill and a world of potential."
Hamilton and the Fire will be playing in front of college coaches at the Nike EYBL tournaments in Minnesota and Virginia over the last two weeks in April.
"We're just warming up," Hamilton said of his Mac Irvin Fire team. "We've got a pretty athletic team and we're ready to make noise in the EYBL this summer."
Hamilton's coaches tell him to keep working hard and the college offers will come.
"They tell me to keep going," said Tommy. "Sometimes I get winded quickly. They're telling me to keep going. That's basically it."
Hamilton realizes that he needs to bring his best basketball to the court during the AAU season to get back to where he was before the knee injury.
"I guess I've got to reestablish myself this summer," Tommy said.
Hamilton Looks to Reestablish Himself
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