Lamont Hamilton shot a glance over to the seats behind the St. John’s bench before the opening tip of Saturday’s game.
Sitting in that area were school legacy honorees Lou Carnesecca, Dick McGuire, Chris Mullin, and Mark Jackson, four men who have left an indelible mark on the St. John’s men’s basketball program.
One thing popped into Hamilton’s mind as his eyes passed over those legends.
“I just thought that hopefully one day that could be me,” said Hamilton after his team’s 55-50 win at Madison Square Garden.
If he continues to have performances like he did against Pittsburgh, his dream just might come true.
Hamilton had a career high-tying 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. But it wasn’t just the nice stats that made his game stand out.
With 41.8 seconds left and the Red Storm up only 49-48, junior guard Daryll Hill fed Hamilton in the post in and the forward caught it, turned to his right and layed it in.
“I just made sure I posted up big,” said Hamilton, who is now averaging 12.5 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Hamilton, who is shooting only 57.5 percent from the free throw line, was then fouled with 12.2 seconds left.
He proceeded to knock down both free throws to give St. John’s a crucial 53-50 lead.
The 6-foot-10 junior has struggled at points this season and his scoring average (13.3) and field goal percentage (50.4 percent to 45.3 percent) are down from last season.
Said coach Norm Roberts: “I think Monty is one of the best big guys in the league.”