|High School||Oak Hill Academy (VA)|
Joe Hampton has signed his letter of intent to Penn State, thus ending one of the more unusual recruitments in today's industry. As with nearly all prospects Pat Chambers recruits, the relationship between Hampton and Penn State started very early in the process. The Lions extended an offer over two years ago when he took his first unofficial visit to campus.
At the time, he was ranked a 4-star prospect that was firmly in top-100 lists entering his sophomore season at DeMatha Catholic. Hampton was DC Assault's top prospect for his class (the same AAU program that produced Hampton's lead recruiter, Dwayne Anderson), but as time passed by, he struggled to control his weight and questions arose about his position at the next level.
That was not a concern for Penn State, as Anderson and Chambers continued to pursue one of their top targets. At the end of the 2014 AAU season, Hampton tendered his verbal commitment to Penn State. He chose the Nittany Lions over offers from DePaul and Xavier, while he was still being recruited by the likes of Maryland and Georgetown.
Prior to his junior season, Hampton decided to leave DeMatha and transfer to Oak Hill Academy where he would unite with Josh Reaves. At the esteemed boarding school, both Penn State commits had important roles for Oak Hill's 47-1 team last season. Everything was just grand as PSU fans came to the reality that they possessed two future commits on the nation's #1 high school team.
But the negativity surrounding Penn State's lackluster 2015 season apparently caused Hampton to reconsider his pledge. He withdrew his commitment back in March, citing the need to ensure he was making the right decision. With his talents back on the market, Hampton picked up additional offers from Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Providence and Texas A&M.
Decommitments are considered divorces these days. Sometimes it's solely the player's decision, sometimes it's the coaches', and sometimes it's just mutually agreed upon by both parties. Regardless of who causes the breakup, however, it's considered an all-but-final decision. Little-to-no consideration is given to the possibility of both parties reuniting down the road. That clearly wasn't the case for Joe, however.
Penn State took no offense to Hampton's wish to pursue other schools and continued to aggressively recruit the combo forward. Their persistence paid off, as Hampton came to the realization that no one wanted him more than Chambers and Anderson. He recommitted just two months later.
Now that Joe's officially a Nittany Lion, we can look forward to what he will bring to the floor. He closely resembles current Nittany Lion, Brandon Taylor, as a tweener with a diverse offensive skillset. Taylor has put in great work in the weightroom to transform his body, and Hampton will have to do the same to reach his full potential. But the southpaw has a smooth stroke from three and will be expected to provide firepower in the frontcourt.
Unfortunately his chances at making an immediate impact took a hit when he tore his ACL last month. Joe's expected to miss his entire senior year at Oak Hill, but this is 2015 and ACLs do not end careers. BSD wishes Joe well in his rehab and look forward to him raining threes in the BJC soon.