Former Georgia State basketball standout Rodney Hamilton, the Panthers' all-time leading scorer, has been named Georgia State's Colonial Athletic Association Legend for 2008.
Each year, the Colonial Athletic Association honors a former men’s basketball standout from each conference school as a CAA Legend. The 12 Legends will attend the CAA Championship and be recognized at the pre-tournament banquet.
Hamilton, who is currently in his first season as an assistant basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State University, returned to his alma mater to be honored at last night's game, a 64-58 victory over Drexel.
"This is a tremendous honor," Hamilton said last night. "When they called to ask me [to be this year's Legend], they didn't even have to finish the sentence before I said, 'I'll be there!'"
So Hamilton, whose Southeast MIssouri squad had a thrilling, triple-overtime victory over Austin Peay Tuesday night, made his way to Atlanta Wednesday. He had numerous friends and family in attendance to see him honored, including many of his former Georgia State teammates.
"I'm very honored to have many of my teammates here," said Hamilton. "It feels good that we still have that bond and that chemistry."
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Hamilton lettered four years for the Panthers from 1994 through 1998, becoming the only player in school history to start more than 100 games.
He scored 1,515 points, handed out 535 assists and grabbed 212 steals in his career, all Georgia State records that still stand today. He is also the most accurate free throw shooter in school history at 83.8 percent.
"I check the media guide every year to make sure I'm still there," he laughed.
Hamilton was twice named All-Atlantic Sun Conference, earning first-team honors in 1998 and second-team accolades in 1997. He was also named Academic All-Atlantic Sun Conference those two years, as well as Atlantic Sun All-Tournament in 1998.
He was the first Georgia State player to have his jersey retired.
Hamilton still speaks fondly of his days at Georgia State, and he is proud that he and his teammates were able to lay a foundation for the Panthers' run to the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
"Even though we were struggling my first few years, it was such as overall great experience, to play college basketball at Georgia State and in the city of Atlanta, and to receive such a tremendous education," said Hamilton. "Then to have some success my senior year was very satisfying."
After earning his degree from Georgia State in 1998, Hamilton played professional basketball for three seasons in Sweden, Switzerland and Hungary before beginning his coaching career, first in the high school ranks and now at the collegiate level.
Hamilton looks forward to attending next month's CAA Banquet and Championship in Richmond, Va., where he will get a chance to see his former coach, Lefty Driesell, who will serve as James Madison's 2008 Legend.
"I'm still a Panther at heart," said Hamilton.