University of Illinois makes it
official - Lincoln’s Jermaine Hamlin will wear the Orange and Blue
Send a link to a friend
[August 23, 2019]
Jermaine Hamlin is proof that good news travels fast. Social media
was buzzing last weekend about the 2019 graduate of Lincoln
Community High School becoming a member of the Fighting Illini Men’s
Basketball Team in Champaign-Urbana. This week the Illini made the
On Tuesday, Hamlin arrived on the University of Illinois campus and
was quickly photographed in a Fighting Illini jersey, palming a
basketball and wearing number 14 across his chest. It was a big
turnaround from his previous plans to attend Link Year Prep in
Branson, Missouri. Hamlin’s jump to the U of I transpired rather
quickly, in a matter of weeks, due much in part to his success this
summer playing basketball for Bradley Beal Elite in St. Louis.
Hamlin was widely-known for having an exciting Railer senior season
in the 2018-19 campaign. His rim-rattling dunks and monster blocks
will go down in Railer history as some of the best ever. He was
undoubtedly a fan favorite, not only getting Railer Nation fired up,
but often the opposing teams’ fans as well.
Hamlin improved his basketball skills immensely while wearing the
Railer uniform and Lincoln Head Basketball Coach Neil Alexander sees
a very bright future ahead for this young man.
“We’ve said all along that we think his skill level is really high
and it’s up to him to reach that,” said Alexander. “He’s getting an
opportunity to play in one of the best conferences in the country
against the best players in the country. I truly believe, give him
two, three or four more years he will be one of those best players
in the country. The improvement that he made over the four years
that he was here and played in our program was as much as I’ve ever
seen out of a player that I’ve had. It’s up to him now. We’ve got
him the opportunity and he’s earned the opportunity from his play
and it now becomes a whole different ballgame for him. He’s not
going to be playing against kids half his size. He’s going to be
playing guys who are looking him eye to eye. If he does everything
the way he should, I think he’ll be a very popular young man.”
Did Hamlin himself ever see this day coming?
“Well, the past few years, no,” the 6’10 Illini freshman said. “It
never came to my mind that something like this would happen but
obviously Coach Underwood appreciates and likes what he sees in me
so I am here for a reason and I’ll make the best of the
[to top of second column]
Hamlin has already spent a couple days this week getting acclimated
to the U of I campus and he says, “So far it’s been pretty good. I
like my teammates that I have met so far. They are good people and
good to be around. It’s a good environment here. The campus is large
and there are a lot of people. It’s a lot bigger than Lincoln,
Hamlin already has his schedule and classes set up. Monday is the
first day of classes. He will also begin weightlifting on Monday.
As most Railer fans know, there is an Alexander connection that runs
between Lincoln and Champaign-Urbana. Neil and Denise Alexander’s
son, Geoff Alexander, is the Assistant to Head Coach Brad Underwood
at the University of Illinois.
So what does that mean to Hamlin?
"It’s pretty exciting to still have the Alexander family watching
over me,” he said.
As far as that jersey number Hamlin was sporting in the press
release picture, well let’s just say Lincoln fans don’t be too quick
to bet he’s going to stay number 14. Hamlin said he was just given
the number 14 for the picture.
“I am pretty sure they are thinking about giving me number 34,” said
Hamlin. “My old high school number.”
Number 34 should also ring a bell with fans as the number that
another former Railer and Fighting Illini player wore ~ Brian Cook.
A nice coincidence that makes Hamlin feel “pretty historic.”
Finally Hamlin had a message for Railer Nation:
“I would like to say thank you to the community for supporting me
over the years. They’ve always been there watching me and they’ve
always had my back. Just the love that I’ve got from that crowd has
been really amazing. I am going to try as hard as I can to represent
the town and work hard and do what I need to do to be successful
And we have a message for Hamlin from LDN: "Congratulations
Jermaine, we are excited too, look forward to following your
successes, and wish you well!"
Illinois press release