Boston College men’s basketball hasn’t made the Sweet Sixteen since it had an ESPN 100 recruit on its roster. That was 12 years ago, when Craig Smith engineered a 28-8 campaign, including an 11-5 mark in the Eagles’ inaugural season in the ACC. On Thursday evening, the program finally pulled in another highly touted prospect of the same pedigree.
Cannon School four-star recruit Jairus Hamilton, who is ranked 55th by ESPN, 63rd by Scout, and 81st by Rivals, announced his commitment to BC via Twitter.
The 6-foot-8 small forward chose the Eagles over Maryland and Mississippi State, in addition to a host of ACC schools, including Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State, and Louisville. Other notable programs, such as Kansas, Florida, and Arizona, were also in the running, but the Concord, N.C. native decided to join Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson—fellow North Carolina natives—in Chestnut Hill.
Hamilton is a left-handed wing who has showcased the skill to attack the paint and body defenders in the post at will. When he’s not finishing at the rim, he’s launching shots from outside, both from mid-range and beyond the arc. Because of his size and aggressive playmaking ability, he often presents matchup problems for opposing defenses—and not just against any high school or AAU team.
On Dec. 21, Hamilton dropped a game-high 32 points against Oak Hill Academy, the former home of multiple NBA superstars like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. He went 10-of-18 from the field and drilled four of his seven long-range shots.
At BC, Jairus will team up with his older brother, Jared, who after one year at Jacksonville State and another at Georgia Southern, has decided to transfer to the Heights. The 6-foot-4 guard will enroll at BC in January and will be eligible to play at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Jairus fills a void at the small forward position. Ever since A.J. Turner and Mike Sagay transferred this offseason and Teddy Hawkins went down with a season-ending, non-contact knee injury against Nebraska in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, head coach Jim Christian has really only played one forward: Steffon Mitchell. Although the freshman has logged invaluable minutes and typically stuffed the stat sheet, he is averaging just 6.7 points per game.
Hamilton is the second player of the Class of 2018 to commit to BC. The first was combo guard Wynston Tabbs, who pledged to the Eagles back in August.
BC just suffered its worst loss of the year and it’s 11th-straight to North Carolina on Tuesday night. For the second season in a row the Eagles are 2-3 to start ACC play. But, for the first time in years, there is a sense of optimism surrounding the program.
Already, BC has upset a top-ranked Duke team, taken both No. 3 Virginia and No. 19 Clemson the distance, and eclipsed the 10-win mark—something the Eagles hadn’t done since the 2014-15 season. Thursday’s news was another tangible sign of progress.
Featured Image by Michael Dwyer / AP Photo