By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — There’s no denying the success that Mike Anderson and his Arkansas Razorbacks have had recruiting and developing junior college guards, and the latest juco backcourt prospect in their sights is 2019 point guard Javion Hamlet (6-3, 190, third-year sophomore at Northwest Florida State College by way of Memphis Whitehaven).
“Coach T.J. (Cleveland),” Hamlet answered when asked who his lead recruiter is at Arkansas, adding that Hog coaches are making plans to come watch him play. “They’re coming, him and Coach (Mike) Anderson, really soon.”
Hamlet, who played at Motlow State juco in 2016-17 before redshirting in ’17-18 and ultimately transferring to Northwest Florida for the current season, is rated the number No. 19 junior college prospect by JucoRecruiting.com. A lefty, Hamlet has helped the Raiders to an 18-2 record and is averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds while shooting a blistering 61.4% field goals, including 47.4% from 3, and 84.9% free throws. As a freshman at Motlow State two years ago, Hamlet averaged 15.6 points, 8.4 assists, and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 55.5% field goals, including 34.5% from 3, and 78.3% free throws.
Hamlet, whose backcourt mate at Northwest Florida is No. 1 juco prospect and Oregon-signed shooting guard Chris Duarte, will have two years to play two at the NCAA Division 1 level.
“Just a great fit for me,” Hamlet said of Arkansas’s style of play. “I like to get up and down, and that’s how Arkansas plays. (I’m) a playmaker that can create and make plays for myself and others.”
With a reported list of suitors that includes Gonzaga, SMU, Temple, and Loyola-Chicago, Hamlet said he’s “wide open to everyone.” Just prior to his redshirt season at Motlow State in ’17-18, Hamlet was briefly committed to Buffalo. He indicated that he’ll look to take visits “at the end of March.”
Hamlet said he’s aware of former Motlow State guard Jaylen Barford’s success playing at the high-major level at Arkansas, where he earned All SEC first-team honors in ’17-18 after helping lead the program to back-to-back NCAA tournaments.
“That’s like my big brother,” Hamlet said of Barford, who was rated the No. 1 juco prospect in the nation as a sophomore at Motlow State in ’15-16 after playing his high school basketball in Jackson, TN.
In addition to Barford, Anderson and the Hogs have enjoyed a nice run of getting big returns from the juco guards in their program. Daryl Macon (6-3 combo guard, Holmes Community College in Mississippi by way of Little Rock Parkview) was also named All SEC first-team in ’17-18 and has already seen NBA action this season as an undrafted free-agent, two-way-contract player with the Dallas Mavericks and their G-League affiliate Texas Legends. In his two seasons at Arkansas, juco-transfer Jabril Durham (6-1 point guard, Seminole State College by way of DeSoto, TX) was a key reserve as a junior on the Razorbacks’ nationally ranked, 27-win, SEC second-place-finishing ’14-15 team, and as a senior in ’15-16 he was one of the assist leaders in the SEC while also serving as Arkansas’s best backcourt defender.
Mason Jones, a 6-5 sophomore wing at Arkansas who transferred from Connors State juco in Oklahoma by way of DeSoto, TX, is off to a solid start in his first season as a Razorback, averaging 14.4 points (third on the team), 4.9 rebounds (second on the team), and 3.2 assists (second on the team).
Linked below is a highlight reel of Javion Hamlet from the ’16-17 season when he was a freshman at Motlow State juco …