Returning for his sophomore campaign, Jermaine Hamlin finds himself looking to play in the same role that he did last year — serving as a second line to the Illini frontcourt, coming in behind Kofi Cockburn and the Illini’s other bigs, whoever they turn out to be, in the post.
Hamlin only saw limited playing time last season, playing in 16 games with 15 points and 13 rebounds on the season (all of which came during non-conference play). By the latter half of the conference season, Hamlin was seeing the court when foul trouble necessitated it, and that was about it.
During conference play, he appeared in only eight games for a total of just over 16 minutes.
What to Expect
Hamlin will largely be playing in that same role again this year, and we’ll likely see even less of him with a reduced non-conference schedule that has many primetime matchups. Combine that with some added size on the roster with the addition of Coleman Hawkins and Brandon Lieb, Brad Underwood will have even more bodies to rotate around the post, and utilize if foul trouble gets rough for any one individual.
When Hamlin does get on the court though, there’s only upside for what we can see. With limited minutes and experience so far with the Illini, and another season of practice under his belt, we might see him play more of a role on the boards and in the post in the minutes he does get; though I’d still expect him to be utilized as a later option off the bench for an Illini program that will be dependent on high-level frontcourt play to maintain their expectations this season.