Malone, the No. 1 scorer on all-time MSU charts, is coaching the Columbus team. The Riverdragons are one of four teams to advance to the postseason and are about to open a best-of-three series with the Greenville (S.C.) Groove.
Hamilton joined the Columbus team a month ago after being released by the Miami Heat. He's starting alongside ex-Kentucky guard Saul Smith and several other former college greats.
Hamilton, who is No. 10 on State's all-time scoring charts, came to the Columbus team after spending time on the Miami Heat roster earlier this season.
"Coach (Pat) Riley told me he thought I was a young rising talent but he wanted to try and get a veteran or two more in there to try and make a run at the playoffs," said Hamilton after the Riverdragons beat Mobile in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday.
Hamilton had three rebounds and 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting as Columbus snared the No. 3 seed and stuck Mobile with the fourth spot for the upcoming playoffs.
"He's doing well for us even though he hasn't been here as long as some of the other players," Malone said of Hamilton. "I think people have seen how many talented players we have in this league. It's just a lot of guys that are looking to get a chance at maybe playing in the NBA."
The NBDL was formed last summer as a training league for the National Basketball Association. It is funded and supported by the NBA and has already produced several players who were called up and signed to contracts by NBA teams.
"First years are first years ... they are tough," said Mobile head coach Sam Vincent, who, like Malone, enjoyed a lengthy career in the NBA. "Our product is positive, though, and people see that when they come to games.
"We're in cities that have shown they can support professional sports and it just takes some time to get the word out about what we're all about."
Against Mobile, Hamilton scored double figures for the third straight game and Columbus was paced offensively by former Texas standout Gabe Muoneke's 29 markers.
"The team was stocked with good players but they sort of took me in and allowed me to have a spot," Hamilton said. "It's like they know where you've been but then you have to prove that you really belong where you are at now. They've been supportive and we're all trying to make something positive out of being here. It's a good league to be in."
Hamilton helped MSU to two postseason NIT tournament appearances during his four-year career and watched anxiously as the Bulldogs competed in the NCAA Tournament earlier this month.
"I was proud of the way they played together, as a team, this season," said Hamilton, whose 123 games played are the most in MSU history. "They were successful because they looked inside first to see if Mario Austin was open. When he wasn't, they kicked it outside to one of the guards. It was great to see them do as well as they did. I loved it."
Despite earning first-team All-SEC and All-America honors while averaging 27 points a game his senior season at Starkville, Malone was quick to point out that he never got to enjoy a postseason appearance.
"I watched State throughout the season ... I always do," Malone said. "I was over there in Starkville for the Florida game to receive an award and it was enjoyable to see them make the tournament."
Hamilton can expect to sign a free agent contract with another NBA team and will need a big offseason in pursuit of another roster spot. If he doesn't catch on, he could continue playing in the NBDL or some other minor league either here or in another country.
"I think I need to become more aggressive," Hamilton said. "I need to take more shots when they present themselves. I haven't shot as much as I probably should have in the past."
Hamilton led Mississippi State with an average of seven rebounds a game his senior season. He is one of just three MSU players, along with Bailey Howell and Rickey Brown, to have scored 1,300 points and pulled down 600 rebounds.
For more information on the NBDL or any of its teams, check out their website at http://www.nba.com/nbdl.
Pat Wright is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page.