After officially signing with Tianjin for the remainder of the season two days ago in replacement of Lee Benson, Vernon Hamilton led the Golden Lions to a huge 111-104 upset last night over second place DongGuan last night in Tianjin.
The former All-ACC Defensive standout at Clemson, who holds school records for single season and career steals, immediately lived up to his reputation as a pesky ball-hawker, accumulating a total of five steals while limiting DongGuan’s sharpshooting guard, Josh Akognon, to just 5-19 from the field. Akognon had entered the game as the league’s eighth leading scorer, averaging an even 26 points per contest. Tianjin’s Zhang Nan led all scorers with 27 and Herve Laminzana delivered a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Lions and puts their overall record at 4-16, while DongGuan drops to 17-4.
Hamilton, who comes into the team after playing part of this season in the D-League with the Dakota Wizards and Austin Toros, is being counted on by Coach Bob MacKinnon to bring stability to a point-guard position that has caused trouble for Tianjin all season. Hamilton played under MacKinnon in the D-League in 2008-09 for the Colorado 14ers, who went on to win the championship that year. Shortly after, the team announced they would be relocating to Frisco, Texas to resume play in 2010-11 as the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ affiliate team, and the team broke up.
Given MacKinnon and Hamilton’s experience and familiarity with each other and the fact that Tianjin desperately needed a solid point-guard who could control tempo, the move seems like an ideal fit for all player, coach and team. If his debut was no fluke, Hamilton and Tianjin may no longer be an easy win for opponents.
While in the D-League this year, Hamilton played 12 games for the Wizards, averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists, and 4 games for the Toros, averaging 13.5-3.5-3.8. Last year, he played abroad in Europe in Ukraine and Switzerland.
In other player movement news, Liaoning has announced that they have signed forward Anthony Myles for the rest of the season. He will replace Chris Richard.
This is not Myles’ first stint in China. Nor it is even is second. Myles played in both 2006-2007 with DongGuan where led the league in scoring with 32.1 points per game, before playing the following season alongside current Shanghai Sharks forward, Mike Harris. Myles comes over to China from playing in Greece.
Myles will make his first start tonight against Bayi.