Hamilton brothers making marks on opposite coasts
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Isaac and Daniel Hamilton grew up in Los Angeles playing basketball as a contact sport.
The pair received plenty of bloody noses and life lessons trying to keep up on the court with a group of much older kids that included brothers Gary, who played at the University Miami and Jordan, who starred at Texas and played in the NBA.
''Sometimes we couldn't even finish games because of fights,'' Isaac said. ''But that taught us to come out here and compete every day and just play basketball. Do something you love.''
''Just being competitive,'' Daniel said. ''That's what helped us and what it's all about at this level and the level beyond. It's all mental and less about skill. That's kind of what it prepared us for.''
Isaac, 21, and Daniel, 19, are still the younger brothers, but they are no longer little and have been making names for themselves this season on opposite coasts - Daniel at UConn and Isaac at UCLA.
Because Isaac had to sit out a year after transferring from UTEP, both he and Daniel are now in their second college seasons.
Daniel, a sophomore, is averaging 12.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and five assists for the Huskies. Isaac, who Daniel says likes to shoot more than he does, is averaging 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a junior for the Bruins.
''He's taller than I am, so he's a little more versatile,'' Isaac said. ''But other than that, our games are kind of like the same. We take each other's great attributes and mix them all together. But he has all of the brothers in one so he's a combination of all of us.''
The pair stay in touch by video chatting almost every night, often in a group chat with their siblings, who give them instant critiques.
''Especially my older brother Gary,'' Daniel said. ''If I have a bad game, he's going to come at me and tell me how bad I played and what I did. Then I just go out and try to correct that the next game.''
Daniel and Isaac starred together at Crenshaw High School and later St. John Bosco High school in California. The two thought about attending the same university, but Daniel said they decided to find the best individual fit.
''He's a different, real confident guy,'' Isaac said of his little brother. ''He wants his own success, his own story. Being in the shadows of his brothers can be overbearing or overwhelming at times. I think he made the right decision going over there and playing with the right coach.''
Daniel first became interested in UConn when as a seventh grader he accompanied Jordan on recruiting visit and met Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie.
Ollie, who also is from Crenshaw, said Hamilton came to the school with a great basketball IQ and a bit more maturity than most incoming freshmen.
''Daniel's been fortunate, because he's seen the great things that his brothers have done, but he's also seen the mistakes that they've done and kind of learned from those,'' Ollie said. ''When you're the youngest, sometimes they treat you like that, but at least you can observe both the good and bad situations in their life and see how they respond.''
The brothers say they talk about playing against each other again on the next level. Ollie said UConn and UCLA have talked about making that happen sooner, but have been running into scheduling problems.