MIAMI (AP) - It's a hectic time for Justin Hamilton.
The 7-footer just graduated from LSU with a sociology degree. He's getting married later this summer. And he's going to spend the next couple weeks trying to impress the Miami Heat.
Hamilton will be one of the hopefuls in camp with the Heat starting this weekend, as the team puts together a roster to compete later this month at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas. Miami's summer roster will play five games from July 15 through July 21.
"It's great to be chosen by the world champions," said Hamilton, who was the 45th pick in this year's NBA draft. "It's a great organization and when I went down there and worked out for them, I really enjoyed it. And so I'm just really excited and happy to be a part of it. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Miami's summer roster will play five games from July 15 through July 21. At least three players from the roster that won the NBA title - Dexter Pittman, Norris Cole and Terrel Harris - are expected to be on the team that plays for the Heat in Las Vegas as well.
Being a second-round pick would suggest that Hamilton is a significant long shot to join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat for their championship defense next season.
The way Hamilton sees it, he's been doubted throughout his basketball career - so why should this time around be any different? When he declared his intention to forgo his final season of eligibility at LSU, some draft experts did not even list him among the top 100 prospects for the draft.
"Ever since I started playing basketball in high school, that's how it's been, everybody has kind of written me off," Hamilton said. "It doesn't really affect me just because I know what I have to do. It's about what the NBA guys thought I was. It's not what everybody else thought."
Hamilton grew up in a highly athletic, highly competitive household. His father Larry Hamilton played for BYU's 1984 national championship football team. His mother Tami Hamilton was a two-time all-conference volleyball player at BYU and set an NCAA record for assists in a season.
And as Hamilton grew, his game grew quickly with him. Hamilton's breakout summer came just before his senior year of high school, helping him earn a chance to play at Iowa State. After two years there, he transferred to LSU. Another two years later, and he's about to start working on the practice court where James, Wade and Bosh play.
Heat President Pat Riley said the team was impressed by Hamilton's pre-draft workout, and that he could be a target to further hone his game overseas this coming season.
"He's got quick feet, big, takes up a lot of space," said Riley, who compared Hamilton to Michael Doleac, a backup center on the Miami team that won the 2006 NBA title.
Hamilton was a second-team All-SEC player this past season at LSU, after averaging 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He shot 49 percent from the floor, 78 percent from the line and has shown good touch when he steps away from the basket.
Now comes his opportunity for another breakthrough.
"I'm still kind of in a shock," Hamilton said. "It's slowly sinking in. ... It's great, and I can't wait to be a part of this."
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