Inside Carolina

UNC Target Jairus Hamilton Finding His Role

UNC watched each of the offered 2018 forward's games last week.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For some time, Jairus Hamilton has known he could be a great player.

After all, he’s a powerful 6-7 forward whose best assets are intelligence, strength and athleticism.

College coaches love his game, as he has offers from schools like West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, Wake Forest and Tennessee. College scouts think he’s one of the 30 best players in the rising junior class.

But it wasn’t until this summer, playing with Team Loaded N.C. on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit, that Hamilton truly believed he belonged.

“Back home, sometimes we don’t have the best competition,” Hamilton said. “I thought it was going to be tougher for me, but I jumped in and I feel like I’ve excelled. (Before this) I didn’t know that I could really go out there and compete with the best.”

Hamilton’s confidence is impressive considering his new role on a new team. Before this AAU season, Hamilton played with Team United on the Nike circuit. He’s now playing more of a power forward role for Team Loaded.

“We have a smaller team and so I’m like a big man for us,” he explained. “I play a little bit different than with my high school (Concord [N.C.] Cannon School). I usually have the ball more in my hand there, but I’m learning different ways to still contribute by playing a different position.”

In Team Loaded’s games at the adidas Gauntlet Finale, Hamilton blocked shots, grabbed rebounds and contributed in many different ways.

“I’m learning how to get the rebound and just like go,” he said. “I’m learning how to use my body and box out and get rebounds. It’s good for me.”

UNC had a staff present for each of Team Loaded’s games, as the squad also features 2018 UNC commitment Rechon “Leaky” Black and 2017 target Brandon Huffman. Hamilton said he communicates with the UNC staff “a couple of times” each week. The calls and texts are mostly from Roy Williams and assistant Steve Robinson.

Hamilton doesn’t have any visits planned soon, but hopes to begin thinking more seriously about his college choice in the coming months. He’s held a UNC offer since February, and mentioned UNC as one of the schools recruiting him the hardest.

“Coach Roy told me when I get there that I’d either be a '2' or a '3,' Hamilton recalled. “They want to keep building a relationship with me and they want me to come back to the school, meet the players and stuff like that. Wherever I go to school, I want to come in with the best team and have a chance to win a championship. I just want to win, so whoever else is in my class doesn’t affect me.”

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