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One Last Shot: Jordan Hamilton sat out his entire senior season due to the CIF denying his appeal for a fifth season eligibility but the Dominguez standout and 2007-08 Division Nick Koza for Sentinel
Dominguez's Hamilton added to Collision XI rosterAll-Star game will be his first prep appearance in 13 monthsBy Evan BarnesSentinel Sports EditorThere have been a legion of stars that found their way to the Collision All-Star Game the past 11 years. Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Lisa Willis and Austin Daye are just of some of the great players who donned the Collision uniform for their final game.Stars even found their way to the stands as McDonald's All-Americans James Harden and Jasmine Dixon came to support their peers and lend credence to Collision being the mecca of Southern California hoops for one night.This year is no different, as Dominguez forward Jordan Hamilton will join the long list of great players to appear at Collision when he suits up for the Southern Section on April 25 at El Camino College. It will be his first high school game in California since March 15 when Dominguez was defeated by Oakland, McClymonds in the Division I state final.Hamilton, who has committed to play for Texas, sat out the entire season as he was denied a fifth year of eligibility by the CIF Southern Section and the CIF State office. But his spirit remained strong as he watched his teammates reach the Southern Section Division I-A semifinals and the Division I state regional quarterfinals.His career started at Dorsey High School where he was an All-City selection in his sophomore year. When he transferred to Dominguez before his junior year, he was known as a prodigious scorer with a hot temper.Under the guidance of coach Russell Otis, Hamilton continued his torrid scoring (27.6 points per game) but matured into a better teammate as he led Dominguez to their 10th Southern Section title and an appearance in the Division I state championship.Those who watched Dominguez were in awe as the lanky 6-7 forward found new ways to carry the Dons to wins over Santa Margarita, Fairfax, Mater Dei and Riverside King. Then-Dominguez head coach Russell Otis remarked that Hamilton could emerge as the best player he ever coached - a list that is currently topped by NBA veterans Tayshaun Prince and Tyson Chandler.He entered the year as a preseason All-American candidate, a Top-10 national recruit on several sites and optimistic about leading his team to another CIF title and perhaps a state title. But that dream never unfolded the way he thought.It has always been the tradition of Collision to honor seniors who play their final season. After much debate, however, it was hard to ignore Hamilton's body of work as well as his commitment in the classroom.Hamilton's selection to Collision comes on the heels of him being selected to the Jordan Brand Classic, where he will represent California along with Fairfax center Renardo Sidney.While his senior year didn't go the way he planned it, it still comes with a happy ending as he will finally get to play the game he loves one last time as a prep standout.He'll be joined by two standouts from Southern Section champion Riverside King in All-CIF guard Chris Harriel and Division I-AA tri-player of the year Kawhi Leonard.Leonard (San Diego State) and Harriel (Portland State) led King to an upset victory over Mater Dei in the Division I-AA championship, ending the Monarchs' undefeated season. They also led the Wolves to their second consecutive appearance in the Division I state regional final.Both players are familiar with Hamilton from last year's Div. I regional final as well as a meeting in January 2008. In that regional matchup, Hamilton finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds while Leonard had 23.They also give Collision two players who were named players of the year in arguably the CIF's toughest division (Division I-AA). With the full rosters for both girls and boys games expected to be announced next week, the excitement is continuing to build for the 11th annual showcase between the L.A. City Section and Southern Section. It's shaping up to be a fantastic event and with it being Southern California's last chance to see many of these players - including a final glimpse at Hamilton - it promises to once again live up to the hype.