By SETH STRINGER
NICEVILLE – Javion Hamlet wears his journeyman label with pride.
He's been to Motlow State, where Steve DeMeo first noticed the 6-foot-3 guard and his 16 points and eight assists a night. He had a brief stint in Buffalo, "which really just wasn't a great fit."
Now, NWF State marking his third collegiate stop, the Memphis native is hardened. He's humbled. He's dialed in like never before.
And he's not afraid to voice his intentions.
"We gonna win that national championship," Hamlet said with no apology.
But this is not bravado. NWF State is ranked No. 1 in the country, 9-0 and outscoring foes 104-81.
Hamlet, Juco's version of Kyrie Irving, is at the center of it all.
For starters, no one on the Raiders – maybe even the country – scores as efficiently as the sophomore point guard, who's averaging 18.7 points per game.
He shoots 68.2 percent from the floor. He's 10 of 15 from beyond the arc. He buries 86 percent of his foul shots.
With the collection of talent around Hamlet, his ability to create separation and draw multiple defenders in the post creates open looks for a roster laden with shooters.
The 7.3 assists a night reflect that, only expect the average to climb considering he's dished out 38 dimes in NWF State's last three wins.
That includes a 25-point, 15-assists outburst in Saturday's 117-102 win over Miami Dade at Pensacola State College.
"I'm a playmaker," said Hamlet, who averages a team-best 29.3 minutes per game. "Give me the ball and I'll create my shot and create for others.
"It's really about trusting my teammates to knock down shots. All the credit goes to them. They keep me going. I stay consistent for them."
When DeMeo and his staff were recruiting Hamlet, they heard he struggled with his outside shot. A workout allayed any of those fears.
Hamlet sees the same in DeMeo, who he trusts based on the proven track record of conference, regional and national championships and helping players achieve their Division I dreams.
"DeMeo didn't promise me anything when he brought me in," Hamlet said. "He told me to come in and work hard and we'd have fun. I came here because DeMeo's built a tradition of winning and sending players to high D-I programs.
"I came here to win championships and go to the next level."
Book it, said DeMeo.
"He's going to be a great, high-level Division I basketball player," DeMeo said. "He's a great student, a great human being and all those things help us win. They'd help any team win at any level."
My grandma Katherine, my mom Demetria and my dad Louis. I'm big on family. My grandma passed away on NBA draft night in 2014. She was 99. She was always babysitting me when I was young.
If you could roadtrip across the country with any one person, who would you take with you and where would you go?
I'd take my mom. We're really close.
If you could go one-on-one with anyone, who'd it be?
Kyrie Irving. We'd go at it. I'd attack him the same way I attack everyone else.
What are your top five favorite Christmas movies?
Who's your favorite team?
The Boston Celtics. Again, Kyrie is my favorite player.
What's your favorite meal ever and who makes it?
My grandma (Delors) makes me greens, candied yams, grilled chicken, cornbread. My mom's a great cook too.