For the hardcore Jobstairs Giessen 46er fans that were already making annoying noise in the Ost Halle in 2008, they will surely remember a 10 year old kid hanging around the stands watching his dad Florian play. 12 years later Isaiah Hartenstein is a solid NBA role player and gives the Giessen organization some of that NBA flair that they never had before. This season there is some new NBA flair in the Ost Halle with Isaac Hamilton. It isn´t a common thing to have brothers playing in the NBA, but there have been good examples in the last 30-40 years. Some nice current examples are the Spanish Gasol brothers Pau and Marc who gave the NBA a vital European charm that it didn´t really have before and the Curry´s Steph and Seth who combined are playing their 21ist NBA season. There also have been other fine examples like from the 80´s with the King brothers Bernard who was one of the most lethal scorers and Albert who averaged 12,1ppg in the NBA. There also have been four brothers to play with the Jones brothers Caldwell, Charles, Major and Will or who could forget the sons of the NBA free throw champion Rick Barry who gave the NBA Brent, Jon and Drew. One last current example are the Holiday brothers Jrue, Justin and Aaron so where does Isaac Hamilton fit in? Well he has a set of brothers Jordan and Daniel who have played in the NBA, but now are playing in Europe. Jordan who had a stellar career at Texas played parts of 6 seasons in the NBA playing 151 games and currently is playing for Hapoel Jerusalem while younger brother Daniel had a nice career at UConn and played parts of 2 seasons in the NBA and currently is in Turkey. Isaac played at the well known institution UCLA, but despite playing for a major program, having tons of future NBA players as teammates and putting up good stats never made the NBA, but instead played in the G-League, Cyprus and now is Giessen and is about as far away from the NBA as Isaiah Hartenstein is to ever signing with Giessen. But one doesn´t really get the impression that Hamilton is overly affected by not being able to have had 3 Hamilton brothers in the NBA. He is very proud of his brothers and one feels that there is no jealousy in any way “They have been inspiring and seeing their paths up close was super dope. Both of those guys are very close to me and we have different relationships. We’re all very close and on basketball wise knowing we all played high level we sharpen each other, which at times leads to some disagreements but it’s for the greater good”, stressed Isaac Hamilton. He brings that special NBA flair to Giessen via his brothers and wants to make his own special legacy as a professional basketball player.
Isaac Hamilton was born on May 14th, 1994 in Los Angeles, California. He began his basketball career at Crenshaw High in South Los Angeles. His brother Daniel and he helped lead the team to the Coliseum league title averaging 19,5ppg. The brothers then transferred to St. John Bosco High School. He had two great last seasons of high school averaging 24,0ppg and 22,0ppg helping his team capture the CIF Southern Section Class 3A title. He was named to the first team all state and became a Mcdonalds All-American. He was supposed to play for UTEP, but then went on to UCLA even though UTEP didn´t grant his release. On account of this, he lost a year of eligibility and couldn´t play games, but could take part in practices. He finally played his first season in 2014-2015 playing 36 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 68.8%. He right away was put into cold water despite not having played for 18 months. A number of guys had graduated and gone to the NBA so the club was dependent on guards Norman Powell, Bryce Alford and him. Despite being a shooting guard, he also took on point guard duties which he wasn´t used to. He scored in double figures in 22 games. He had a monster explosion in a 96-70 win against USC. That game against USC will always have a special meaning to him, because his grand mother had died 4 days earlier. The 36 points at that time had been the most scored in a decade for the Bruins. “That game was very memorable due to my grandmothers passing and the fact that that’s why I came back to LA after committing to Utep coming out of High School. I found out she was sick and wanted to stay closer to home for my freshmen year of college “, remembered Isaac Hamilton. In his second season he made a big step as a scorer playing 32 games averaging 16.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 80.5%. That season he racked up some interesting and rare feats having 5 consecutive games of posting 8 or more field goals which had ben the schools longest streak since Tracy Murray did it in 1991 and he also showed his immense consistency being the first Bruin since Kevin Love in 2008 to post more than 20 games in a row of scoring in double figures. That season he scored in double figures in 29 of 32 games and his best scoring games included 27 points against Washington State and 26 points against Arizona State. He finished his NCAA career at UCLA staying consistent playing 34 games averaging 14.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 83.3%. It is amazing that he could put up solid stats like this considering future NBA player Aaron Holiday was in the mix as well as freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf. He showed his humbleness and took a step back and accepted their huge talent and just was content letting everyone share the ball which was key in the school being successful. “ What was crazy was that Aaron Holiday had to kind of wait it out after starting the year before. By doing that he came off the bench and played really really well, but that whole team was great. We had 7 players average double digits in scoring and Zo found everyone. If you were open you got the ball”, remembered Isaac Hamilton. In his senior year he scored in double figures in 26 of 34 games. He had some huge games like his 27 points in the win over Cal-Riverside or his 22 points in the win over CS-Northridge or his 22 points in the nail bitter 76-74 win over arch rival USC. But no game was bigger than his massive 33 points in the 102-80 drubbing of Arizona State where he dropped 9 three´s tying the record of ex NBA player Jason Kapono. Even now when his shot aren´t falling, he will look back to this game and seek motivation. Of course being able to have been around so much future NBA talent was gigantic for the American, but he also acknowledges that a lot of his success and growth as a player has to be credited to his ex UCLA coach Steve Alford. “Coach Alford was great. He taught me a great deal of tricks on how to get open and he really emphasized playing the game. A lot of times we’ll run actions and not necessarily plays, which allowed myself and other to be creative as a player”, stressed Isaac Hamilton. . He will always look back fondly on his UCLA days and also might wonder today if he will ever get a chance to play one on one against Lonzo Ball in the future somewhere in a L.A gym or outside court. “The relationships you build with guys and have a chance to follow each other’s careers is something that will always be memorable. Zo and I never played one on one. I never got that chance to beat him”, smiled Isaac Hamilton.
The American who lists his 5 best teammates of all-time as Thomas Welsh, Sir’Domonic Pointer, Daniel Hamilton, Tony Parker, and Prince Ali began his professional career in 2017-2018 playing at the NBA Summer League in Orlando with the Indiana Pacers playing 3 games averaging 5.3ppg, 1.0rpg, FGP: 37.5%. He then was with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) and then was sent to the Canton Charge (NBA G-League) where he remained his rookie season playing 42 games averaging 7.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 83.3%. He experienced some growing pains his rookie season coming from having been a major contributor at UCLA to being just one of many in the G-League with the Canton Charge. Despite all adversary, he always tries to take something positive. “It was very tough realizing I’ve come from a prestigious University, rich in basketball history and doing fairly well as a player and then coming to the G League not playing as much, but through it all I never complained and continued to work, it helped me mentally and physically. I was able to find a sense of peace to when giving an opportunity I can still be me and not play distraught”, expressed Isaac Hamilton. He scored in double figures in 12 games. He averaged 17,2 minutes per game as a rookie, but he closed out the season very strong averaging 34 minutes in his last 4 games including 23 points in a win over FT Wayne and 14 and 18 points in victories over the Milwaukee Bucks farm team Wisconsin. In his second professional, he remained with the Canton Charge and his minutes dipped to only 10 as he played 31 games averaging 2,4ppg, 1,6rpg and 1,2apg. Even if he had to endure some more growing pains as a professional, he took positives out of his 2 years and stayed mentally tough which is never easy to do. “What I took was to never to give up, always stay locked in and not allowing your emotions to outweigh your decisions. Which I never let happen”, stated Isaac Hamilton. A very important thing for any professional is the kind of relationships and contacts you build. In the G-League and he was teammates and played against young guys that either have been in the NBA or are borderline, but every once in a while a player has the luck to have an older veteran around. For Hamilton having the opportunity to pick the brain of former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins was priceless. “Big Perk was great, I learned a lot from him being there. Without him speaking to me directly he would say things and I’ll take mental notes. He knew the game of basketball and he explained it very well. Overall he was funny with a heavy Texas accent which made things even funnier”, said Isaac Hamilton.
After two years in the G-League, he decided to come overseas. He joined Petrolina AEK Larnaca (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 20 games averaging 12.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT-8(89.3%). It was a successful first season overseas as he helped the team reach the Supercup final and was elected to the Cyprus allstar team. He had that warm weather ín Cyprus something he was used to back at home in Los Angeles, but still not everything was easy to get adjusted to off the court. “ I think I speak for most Americans when saying that the food options is one of the most frightening things was a wake up call, but once something as simple as that is met, to me it makes the transition much better”, expressed Isaac Hamilton. That season he scored in double figures in 15 games including 20 points four times in wins over Etha, Omonia, Apollon and Keravnos. He was teammates with ex Texas Tech(NCAA) guard Devon Thomas who was instrumental in thee x UCLA player being able to feel comfortable as a rookie in Europe. “Devon was great, he was a little scrappy player who was hungry, along with being a hard worker and great on ball defender. I would guard him because of his speed in practice and he’ll guard me, pushing me outside of my comfort zone. So it was great to have a guy like that on my team”, added Isaac Hamilton.
So let´s fast forward to 2021. Isaac Hamilton who last watched the original Jungle Book is playing his fourth professional season in Germany for the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers. For a guy that hails from sunny California and played his rookie season in warm and beautiful Cyprus, one could imagine that coming to frigid temperatures and the small town atmosphere of Giessen would have been difficult for the American and on top of that with all the losing, but he has accepted it and once again always sees the positive in everything. “Cyprus was fun, enjoyed my first year. Learned a bit of what European basketball is like, but coming to Germany has been great thus far. Obviously we haven’t started the season off on a good note but I do believe we have the players and coaching/management to turn things around”, stressed Isaac Hamilton at the start of 2021. The club lost it´s first 8 games, but have began to play better wining against medi Bayreuth and the Fraport Skyliners. The shoot out philosophy something Ingo Freyer had practiced for years with some success in Hagen didn´t work in Giessen. Once you have an off day on offense and continue to allow 80-90 points a game, the wins won´t be automatic. “To tidy up on the defensive end requires a bit more effort, that’s all. Which the guys understand, so now it’s just about applying it. We’re more than capable of it. Losing is never fun, but I believe we can make some strides and we have. One thing for sure is to demand a bit more out of ourselves and collectively we can make a run”, warned Isaac Hamilton. It is always a delight when young players can have real real experienced veterans as teammates and on the Giessen squad, there are two Americans Brandon Bowman and Brandon Thomas who combine have 29 seasons of professional experience and for a guy like Hamilton having them on board has been a blessing. “Both Brandon Thomas and Bowman are great vets. We talk a lot about how to get better and seeing them work as hard as they do, at the age that they are, teaches me a great deal on professionalism”, warned Isaac Hamilton.
Hamilton who´s personal NBA Mount Rushmore consists of Kobe, LeBron, Jordan, Kareem, and Wilt is a special player that displays a distinctive type game every night he is on the floor. He has difficulty trying to mention guys that he would compare his game to, but does like to study Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks who is a well rounded player. But he credits a lot of how his game has developed over the years to his very early years when he was having those vital early childhood experiences with his brothers. “I have a very unique game, I define myself as a basketball player and all the entails is knowing where to be offensively and defensively majority of the time, trying to make the right reads. I accredit that style of play to growing up playing in our backyard where we’d play for hours through out the day. It helped me to really understand basketball”, stressed Isaac Hamilton. At UCLA he had his moments where he showcased his ability to be that offensive impact player, but when your on a team that has so much scoring ability, you quickly learn how you can be effective in helping your team in many other ways. That is something that he continues to prove at the professional level. “I think cutting is a big threat to my game, and playing with guys older than me growing up, I’ve learned that I wasn’t going to be the one dribbling all of the time, so I had to find ways to score and in addition to me shooting the ball it makes you a threat, always creeping behind the defense finding openings which are the most vulnerable areas when attacking a defense”, said Isaac Hamilton. He also understands that in order to keep moving up the basketball ladder and making new steps in his career, there are two areas that he will have to improve. “To reach 40% or above I believe comes with my hip alignment. I have a tendency to twist a little, but once I get to the point to where I don’t have to think about that, I believe a lot more shots would go in. I can do a lot better pressuring and really studying guys tendency. That’ll help not only our team but me individually”, warned Isaac Hamilton. Even if he hasn´t played in the NBA yet, he will always enrich organizations with his unique game where ever he plays and have enough NBA stories about his brothers and ample UCLA stories about his NBA teammates to never have a dull moment anywhere.