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UConn’s Hamilton Headed to NBA

May 4, 1999

STORRS, Conn. (AP) _ All-American Richard Hamilton confirmed today that he will give up his senior year of eligibility at Connecticut and enter the NBA draft.

Hamilton was a key element of this year’s national championship team, averaging 19.7 points a game and was voted the outstanding player of the Final Four. He became the second-highest scorer in school history with 2,036 points.

Hamilton thanked his teammates, his coaches and his parents and said the decision had been extraordinarily difficult. But he said he had decided two days ago that the time was right to try the NBA.

Head coach Jim Calhoun _ who called Hamilton ``the best scorer I’ve ever coached″ _ said he supported the decision. But he quickly added that the 6-foot-6 swingman would be welcome back if he changed his mind.

UConn’s other star guard, Khalid El-Amin, announced in April that he would return to Storrs for his junior season.

The Huskies upset Duke 77-74 in March to win their first national championship. Hamilton was co-Player of the Year in the Big East Conference, joining Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin as the only two-time winners of that award.

Hamilton flirted with the idea of turning pro before his junior season, but was lured back to campus by the prospect of making a run at the national title.

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