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June 28, 2012
Hamilton ends up with Miami Heat
Justin Hamilton's much-questioned decision to give up his senior year at LSU to explore his professional basketball options turned out to be a correct one.
Hamilton will now have the opportunity to play with LeBron James and the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat next season.
Hamilton was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the NBA draft Thursday night. Then, he was traded to Miami for Mississippi State post player Arnett Moultrie, whom the Heat picked No. 27 in the first round. Miami will also receive a future first-round pick from the 76ers.
Philadelphia chose Hamilton with the 15th pick of the second round and the 45th overall in the draft. Hamilton was the first LSU player drafted since Marcus Thornton was picked by the Heat and traded to the New Orleans Hornets three years ago.
After playing two seasons at Iowa State, Hamilton transferred to LSU. Hamilton's intention was to become more of an offensive factor under coach Trent Johnson. After sitting out a season, Hamilton developed into the Tigers' best player during the 2011-12 season.
Hamilton led LSU in scoring (12.9) and rebounding (7.2). In Southeastern Conference games, Hamilton's numbers were higher - 13.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. He was a second-team All-SEC selection.
Hamilton made 49 percent of his field goal attempts - best on the Tigers team. He shot 78 percent from the free throw line. On defense, he contributed 43 blocked shots and 25 steals. In his sophomore season at Iowa State, Hamilton averaged just 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
The Tigers have produced a number of professional post players in recent years. Of LSU's last eight draft choices, six have been either centers or power forwards - Stromile Swift and Jabari Smith in 2000, Brandon Bass in 2005, Tyrus Thomas in 2006, Glen Davis in 2007 and Hamilton in 2012.
Hamilton was the only player picked up by Miami on draft night.