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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friendly rivalry got Reggie Hamilton to Oakland

In his Senior Night introductory speech, Oakland coach Greg Kampe made light of the fact former four-year point guard Johnathon Jones helped get Reggie Hamilton to transfer to Oakland after being granted a release from conference rival UMKC following the 2008-09 season. Kampe said Jones thought highly of Hamilton’s play and wanted to have him to practice against.
Hamilton transferred to Oakland and had to sit out the 2009-10 season due to NCAA rules but was able to practice against Jones. Their relationship blossomed and Oakland won consecutive Summit League titles with different guards running the point.
The story has unfolded well, but prior to his arrival, Hamilton respected Jones’ game, but clung to the rivalry inherent with a conference foe.
“At UMKC, I didn’t like Johnathon Jones at all,” Hamilton joked. “I was a fan, but I didn’t like him at all. I checked on his stats every game, but I just wanted to be better than him. Everyone said he was the best guard in the league and I wanted to prove everybody wrong. I wanted to prove everybody wrong. I was a young and crazy 18 year old.
“When I got here, he took me under his wing. We battled in practice for a whole year. I love Johnathon Jones. He changed my life. I have to give him a big thanks.”
Hamilton and the Grizzlies face UMKC Thursday, when he has a chance to go over the 2,000-point mark. He needs 67 points entering Saturday’s game. He’s only had to revisit his former stomping grounds once in uniform, and he said the reaction wasn’t anything to be concerned about.
“Last year wasn’t too bad,” Hamilton said. “They didn’t heckle me or anything. It was just normal cheering. I’m not expecting anything (out of the ordinary).”
Only time will tell how the Kangaroo faithful act if Hamilton reaches such a milestone on their court. 

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