Basketball alumnus retires from pros


Nowshin Chowdhury

Men’s basketball alum Reggie Hamilton (far left) was voted onto Oakland’s All Half-Century Team in January.

Men’s basketball alumnus Reggie Hamilton has announced his retirement from overseas professional basketball. Hamilton played for Oakland from 2010-2012 after transferring from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

During his final year at Oakland, Hamilton led the nation in scoring, averaging 24.6 points per game. He also broke the single-season school record with 942 points and led the Golden Grizzlies to the 2011 NCAA tournament. In 2012, Hamilton, who stands at 5’11, won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which honors shorter-than-average basketball players who excel on the court. Hamilton was also selected to Oakland’s All Half-Century Team on Jan. 28.

“Reggie was not only just a great basketball player, he was a great ambassador for the program,” said head coach Greg Kampe. “He represented Oakland University with class and never on the court did he make gestures or bring attention to himself. He was a really good player and a team player, and he was a young man that the fans loved to watch, but they also liked to talk to him and be around him. He’s just a really good kid.”

After going undrafted for the NBA in 2012, Hamilton travelled overseas and signed on to play for the FMC Ferentino in Italy.

“The style of play is different and the pace is extremely different,” Hamilton said. “In America, I think it’s much faster, but in Europe, they make rules where they take away from America’s athleticism [to] slow the game down a little bit.”

While playing overseas, Hamilton faced many challenges. He was viewed differently in Europe.

“Over there, they really expect Americans to be superhuman at times,” he said. “Sometimes, they don’t see you as a human being, they just think of you as this really, really good basketball player. It can add unwanted pressure to you.”

Despite the pressure, Hamilton said he still enjoyed himself. Seeing how people in a different country live was a new experience for him.

“It was definitely an experience I never expected to encounter growing up,” Hamilton said. “Seeing different cultures, different ways of life, it was amazing. I’m truly thankful for it.”

Hamilton said he most enjoyed being able to bring his family to other countries during holidays.

“I know a lot of people always want to visit Italy,” Hamilton said. “Being able to be the reason why my family could see another part of the world, I’m thankful I was blessed to make that a reality for the people who helped me get there in the first place.”

The Idaho Stampede, an NBA Development League team, signed Hamilton to play for them in the 2013-2014 season. During his time with the Stampede, Hamilton played with Justin Harper of the Philadelphia 76ers and Justin Holiday of the New York Knicks. Harper and Holiday helped Hamilton with his transition to the D-League team.

“Those two guys they were really good people,” he said. “They took me under their wings when I joined the team. Just good role models and good examples of  people to be around.”

During his years in the pros, Hamilton played for the Stabill Jezioro Tarnobrzeg of Poland and the Proger Chieti in Italy and the Niigata Albirex of Japan’s B-League. The final team he played for was Al Shamal Doha in Qatar.

“My last stop was in Qatar,” Hamilton said. “I met some really good people up there, played some great basketball. My last game, I finished with 35 points and shot 9-for-11 from the 3-point line. I would definitely remember that game as far as going out as my last game of my career.”

Now that Hamilton has retired, he has not figured out what his next step will be.

“I’ve just been taking it one day at a time,” Hamilton said. “Preferably, I’ll still have a role somewhere on this earth in basketball, since I’m so passionate about [it]. You know that’s what I love to do. I’d love to be around, I’d love to be a part of teams. Things like that. So, preferably, that’s what God has in the plans for me.”

Hamilton feels confident and optimistic about the future.

“I’m ready to see what’s next,” he said. “I feel like, whatever it is, if I can stay disciplined and dedicate my time and efforts just like I did in basketball, there’s no limit to what I’ll be able to accomplish.”