Isaac Hamilton won't get NLI release

Updated: September 6, 2013, 6:01 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Former UTEP signee Isaac Hamilton was denied a waiver by the National Letter of Intent committee and cannot play this season, his father, Greg, told ESPN.com on Friday.

UTEP wouldn't release Hamilton from his NLI after he said he wanted to be closer to home to be with his ailing grandmother.

"We will challenge [the NLI]," Greg Hamilton said.

UTEP coach Tim Floyd said Hamilton was still welcome to attend the university.

"We still consider the University of Texas at El Paso to be his best option when you weigh risk versus reward," Floyd told ESPN.com on Friday. "Hopefully he will understand that he has until Tuesday to enroll, and he would be welcome here with open arms. We still believe he made his decision to come here for the right reasons."

UTEP signed the 6-foot-5 St. John Bosco (Calif.) guard in November, and Floyd told ESPN.com in July, "He potentially could be our best player."

"I'm sorry his grandmother is having health problems," Floyd said in July. "But what I'm doing, I'm doing for UTEP and for everyone else. The NLI is in place so you can field a team. Young people don't have to sign a national letter of intent. You can sign a scholarship paper. The policy is in place to protect the institutions after they've spent all this money in recruiting and built their schedule around and turned down other players."

Hamilton was ranked No. 32 in his class by ESPN's RecruitingNation.

Greg Hamilton said his son will pursue finding a school, preferably a Pac-12 school in the Los Angeles area. Hamilton said Isaac could get a scholarship and attend academically, but he wouldn't be able to play this season.

"We will get him in school and enroll him," said Greg Hamilton, who added that Isaac has been at home during this process. "We know he'll have several opportunities. We want it to be in the Pac-12 so his mother can see him play, since she is the primary caretaker for his grandmother."

Greg Hamilton said his son Daniel will honor his commitment and go to UConn in the fall of 2014, meaning Daniel and his older brother Isaac would be in the same class. They have an older brother Jordan, who played at Texas and then for the Denver Nuggets.

"Daniel and Isaac won't be at the same school, but they will start college basketball the same year," Greg Hamilton said. "Isaac had a 3.6 GPA at St. John Bosco. He's strong academically and graduated with honors. Even though he won't be able to play yet, he will start his college career academically.

"With UTEP, that's a wrap. We're done."

Hamilton said the NLI didn't offer a reason why the appeal was denied.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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