June 30, 2011

Play Hard Play Smart is SacTown royalty

Kevin McCarthy

After starring at McClatchy High in Sacramento, Brian Hamilton eventually made his way to BYU, playing for Steve Cleveland in the mid-1990s. In his Cougar profile at the time, he was asked to complete this open-ended statement: "In 20 years, I will..." Hamilton responded with "be spending time with my family and maybe coaching." Well, remove the ‘maybe’ on the coaching part because the founder of the Play Hard Play Smart (PHPS) club basketball team has his best squad yet, one that is repping Sacramento and northern California to great effect.

photo of Kyiron Thomas
Kyiron Thomas

Just how well is PHPS doing in 2011?

Try 30-1.

According to Hamilton, "We went 4-0 at the Gerry Freitas SoCal Hoop Review in Los Angeles first, then we won the Pangos Sweet 16 in April. We went undefeated in the Super 60 Spring League, we lost at the buzzer in the city championship at San Francisco City College and we won the Magic Memorial Dal Festival in Los Angeles."

He has a simple mission statement of sorts about his team: "We're from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-6 but we play hardnosed pressure D." Someone else has described the PHPS display on the court as 40 minutes of hell, Nolan Richardson’s probable patent on such a phrase notwithstanding.

PHPS is loaded with transition talents, meaning rip down a rebound or cop a steal and it's off to the races.

As for the makeup of the team, here's Hamilton's descriptions in quotes:

"We had three players -- Dakarai Allen, D'Erryl Williams II, and Michael Bryson -- attend the Pangos All American Camp which features most of the top players in the country," Hamilton said.