Eric Hamilton will spend a year at Sunrise Christian Academy with plans to return to Wichita State for his college basketball career.
Hamilton, a freshman forward from Duluth, Ga., said he signed with WSU in November understanding coaches might ask him to take a season at a prep school. When WSU landed center Rauno Nurger, also from Sunrise, in June, it put the program one scholarship over the NCAA limit of 13. Hamilton’s move to Sunrise, located in Bel Aire, solves coach Gregg Marshall’s numbers crunch.
Hamilton (6-foot-8, 200 pounds) practiced with the Shockers this summer. With experienced players in front of him, Hamilton sees the wisdom in a year of prep school to learn the skills required to play small forward. He said he plans to sign with WSU again in November and return as a freshman for the 2015-16 season.
“I’m not going to take minutes from Tekele (Cotton) or DC (Darius Carter) right now,” he said. “This is the best option for me instead of sitting on the bench. I still have to develop as far as ball-handling and playing perimeter defense.”
Hamilton averaged 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds as a senior and Marshall described him as athletically gifted while in need of seasoning and experience.
“I can play with these guys,” Hamilton said. “The only thing I feel as though I need to work on is defending and learning the game. I’m a little bit behind the learning curve.”
Hamilton said he remains committed to WSU as his future home.
“(Assistant coach) Greg Heiar is like a second father to me,” Hamilton said. “I’ve seriously got love for that dude. He tells me things openly and honestly. I don’t see myself going anywhere else. This is the school for me to fully achieve my dreams of playing the game the rest of my life.”
Hamilton’s move to Sunrise increases the connections between the school and the Shocker program. Sunrise has an academy team allowing it to recruit as well as take players placed there by colleges. It is not a member of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. It started a prep school team, for players wanting a post-graduate program, often for academic reasons or athletic development, a year ago.
WSU freshman Zach Brown played for Sunrise’s post-graduate team last season after committing to WSU in May 2013. Nurger originally committed to Mississippi before a coaching change caused him to look for another school.