Doing the Dirty Work

Early this season, UM coach Frank Haith called Gary Hamilton a journeyman. But it didn't use the term as someone who goes from team-to-team and can never find a home. He meant that Hamilton does the dirty work.

Haith said in reference to Gary Hamilton being a player who is not ultra-talented, but one who leaves his guts on the floor every time he laces his sneakers, whether it is in practice or during a game.

He makes the hustle plays.

He is the type of player that every team needs in order to be successful, and sometimes, he's even more important than the marquee players because he'll do what they won't generally speaking.

And that's what Hamilton is to Miami.

He's not Robert Hite. He's not Guillermo Diaz. He's not Anthony Harris. Hamilton won't put up 20 points a game or dish 7-8 assists per game. He won't get five steals.

But Hamilton does what Miami needs.

The 6-foot-10 center rebounds, hustles and blocks shots. He gets the garbage buckets that are so vital for any team to win, especially Miami which is such a young team and needs some production out of its post players no matter how the production comes.

"Gary has done a tremendous job," Hite said. "He's getting better every game. It was just a matter of him being more aggressive."

But at the same time, as Hamilton's play has improved, so has his patience, something he was lacking earlier in the season when he was starting.

When Hamilton would grab a rebound around the rim, he would be in a rush to get the ball back on the rim rather than gathering himself and going up strong to finish the play. Rather than draw contact, he was avoiding it.

What a difference a few weeks and the simple switch of starter to sixth man can make for a player.

Now, Hamilton is coming off the bench as William Frisby is starting at power forward.

And it may have been the best thing that could happen to Hamilton.

"Coach Haith needed more energy coming off the bench," Hamilton said. "He got me going. He has gotten me to take my time and use the pump fake more. I never used the pump fake this much in my career. Coming off the bench I have the chance to see everything before I get on the floor."

And Hamilton has become more patient because of it.

"The post guys have made a concerted effort to work on their games," Haith said. "The biggest thing with Gary is that he is slowing down. He is taking his time down low rather than being in a rush and it's making all the difference. He's been playing great off the bench."

It has showed in the stat box as he has recorded two double-doubles in his past three games with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Stetson and 12 points and 12 rebounds against Appalachian State.

Faced with the task matching up with guys like Duke's Shelden Williams and North Carolina's Sean May when ACC play begins, there is no better time for Hamilton to pick up his game and make his presence felt.

"As we continue to get better, we need contributions from other people besides our guards," Haith said. "Our post activity has to be excellent in ACC play."

And Hamilton is showing that he is up for the task.

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