|Shaw's high-scoring Amir Hinton looks to impress with NBA auditions|
|CIAA's top player led Division II in points per game|
|Published Saturday, June 15, 2019 9:27 pm|
|Shaw guard Amir Hinton, who led Division II in scoring at 29.4 points per game, has worked out with several NBA teams in advance of the June 20 draft, including the Hornets.|
Amir Hinton could be the next chapter in CIAA players selected in the NBA Draft.
Hinton, who played at Shaw, did enough during his single season in Raleigh after transferring from Lock Haven to generate national attention. While he worked out with multiple NBA franchises ahead of Thursday night’s draft—so many that he stopped counting—his chances of selection are uncertain.
“I’m staying positive,” Hinton said following his June 13 workout with the Hornets. “I know I’ve put a lot of work in. I’ve been flying all over the country, just trying to really show teams what I’m capable of doing—just give them insight, a deeper look into my game. I think it will go well. I’m just putting it in God’s hands. That’s all I can do right now, and just do my part.”
Said Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak: “Obviously we know him, being a local player. It’s not like we’ve identified 10 players for the draft. He’s one of probably close to 100 players we’ve brought in, but we know almost every player who plays DI, DII basketball. Our scouts are really, really good…a lot of the players are on our radar. Whether or not we draft them, or they’re available for summer league or training camp, that remains to be seen.”
Hinton, the CIAA Player of the Year and Division II All-America, is aware of the moment before him. He led the nation in scoring, averaging 29.4 points per game. At Lock Haven, he averaged 23.4 points per game as a sophomore and 23.8 as a freshman.
“I’m blessed,” Hinton said. “I’m doing something from a DII school.”
Hinton’s first workout took him to Houston, which allowed him to feel out the process.
“I was trying to see how things were,” Hinton said. “It was my first time. I wasn’t nervous, but I was just trying to feel it out. Once I got used to the atmosphere, how the system works, I started doing well.”
Ronald “Flip” Murray was the last Shaw player taken in the draft when Milwaukee selected him in the second round in 2002. Murray earned Division II National Player of the Year as a senior, and would eventually play for the former Charlotte Bobcats (2009-10). His college coach, Joel Hopkins, was instrumental in Hinton’s move from his home state of Pennsylvania to North Carolina.
“I saw them play in a tournament in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania,” Hinton said. “I liked the style of play, I loved the coach. He was real in-tune to the game. He was on the players. There was something about the coach and the team—the style of play—that drew me to it. Once my season [at Lock Haven] had passed, and I figured I wanted to leave, I told somebody to get in contact with them. They started recruiting me. I met with the coach.”
Hopkins offered Hinton a scholarship, and the rest is history.
“I know there are a lot of different teams around here—Duke, UNC, a lot of different teams,” Hinton said. “I said, ‘why not play in a state where there is so much basketball going on?’”
Hinton knew North Carolina as a basketball state, but his knowledge of the CIAA was limited.
“I knew very little about the CIAA,” Hinton said. “I actually told myself growing up that I wouldn’t go to an HBCU. For me to come here, I kind of surprised myself, but I enjoyed everything about the CIAA. It was more than I expected, actually. From the fans to the competition, to how everybody is so in-tuned with basketball during the games, it was fun.”
Hinton’s experience put the negative stereotypes he grew up hearing about HBCUs to rest.
“I didn’t hear good things about HBCUs when I was real young,” Hinton said. “You don’t know until you go try it for yourself. I’m glad I made that decision.”
His journey with the Bears proved a history lesson.
“As the year went by, and as I started playing and hearing stuff, I realized there were actually a lot of good players who played in the CI and played for HBCUs,” Hinton said. “For me to be one of those guys who is representing and trying to keep it going is an honor.”
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