Texas: Time to take a break in the relationship

UA's Williams, UT's Hamilton are friends, but become foes today
2011-03-20T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:16:23Z Texas: Time to take a break in the relationshipPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 20, 2011 12:00 am  • 

TULSA, Okla. - Jordan Hamilton's house was the hang-out spot.

On weekend nights, or the evening before the AAU Team Odom squad boarded a flight at Los Angeles International Airport to some gymnasium around the country, Hamilton's house became the second home of a high school-aged Derrick Williams.

The AAU teammates played video games - Williams never could beat Hamilton's little brother, Daniel - and basketball in Hamilton's paved backyard.

"Of course," Williams needled, "he took the most shots."

When the two friends meet today, Hamilton in Texas burnt orange and Williams in Arizona Wildcats' navy, they'll be playing for more than a Sweet 16 berth.

The winner advances to Anaheim, Calif., a short-but-smoggy freeway ride from their childhood homes.

"You're playing to go home," the UA forward said. "Normally it's the opposite."

The Wildcats won't make it to Honda Center without stopping Hamilton.

The Compton (Calif.) Dominguez product scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to defeat Oakland on Friday.

He averages 18.7 points per game and 7.7 rebounds, Williams 19.2 and 8.2.

Though, as Williams adds, Hamilton has taken 217 more shots than his next-closest teammate.

"I think Derrick will tell you Jordan was the focal point growing up, and Derrick was kinda the understudy," UA coach Sean Miller said. "So from that perspective, it's interesting that now both are marquee players at their respective schools."

Hamilton and Williams, who met in the ninth grade, talk and text message each other often. Hamilton even predicted to Williams before the bracket was even unveiled that the two could end up playing each other.

"But there are no friends out there on the court," Hamilton said.

They were escorted to a CBS interview Saturday to discuss their friendship, but then planned to go silent. They did not talk Friday night, after Williams scored 22 points to lead the Wildcats past Memphis to advance to face Texas.

"I told him, 'As of right now, we're not friends,'" the 6-foot-7-inch, 220-pound Hamilton said.

"We laughed and giggled about it, but I really meant it."

Growing up, Hamilton was the can't-miss star, Williams the 6-foot high school freshman. Hamilton said Saturday that, during AAU timeouts, Williams had to ice his knees, which ached because he was growing so fast.

"Believe it or not, he wasn't athletic at all," Hamilton said. "Then he got that growth spurt. Now he's jumping out of the gym."

When Hamilton was recruited to Texas, he tried to tip assistant coaches to Williams, but they were more interested in current UA forward Solomon Hill.

Hamilton said that, this week, he teased recruiter Russell Springmann for not trusting his evaluation.

"I gave him something about it," he said.

Williams conceded that "at one point we were thinking about going to the same school, but that didn't work out."

The two - who haven't played against each other since their junior year of high school - teamed up to develop their games.

This past summer, Hamilton and Williams trained at Hangar Athletic Xchange in Los Angeles.

Alongside pros James Harden and Brandon Jennings, they attempted 500 shots per day, six days per week, and worked on quick moves to set up their jump shot.

They will see the result of the work today.

And then, as sappy as it may sound, go back to their relationship.

"After the game, we'll get in that line and handshake," Williams said. "Win or lose, we're always going to be friends forever."

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


AP Top 25


Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...