Javion declares

North Texas guard Javion Hamlet celebrates after North Texas defeated Purdue 78-69 in overtime of a first-round game in the NCAA tournament March 19 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Hamlet is declaring for the NBA draft

North Texas guard Javion Hamlet made his intentions known when it came to his path in basketball after his junior season at North Texas nearly a year ago.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Hamlet wrote on his Twitter account. “I’m getting drafted from North Texas.”

Hamlet announced on Monday that he is declaring for the NBA draft, his next step toward that goal in a journey that included a remarkable two-year run at UNT.

The Memphis native guided the Mean Green to Conference USA titles in back-to-back seasons and the first NCAA tournament in program history just days ago.

UNT won the regular season C-USA title last season, when Hamlet averaged 14.6 points per game. He was named the C-USA Player of the Year in addition to becoming the first UNT athlete to be named the conference’s Male Athlete of the Year.

A year ago, UNT was hoping to play in the NCAA tournament for its first time since 2010 but saw its opportunity end when the event was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamlet came back this season to average 15.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game as a senior. He led UNT on a four-game run to the C-USA tournament title and set a record with 28 assists in the event.

Hamlet hit a jumper with 13 seconds left in overtime to lift UNT past Western Kentucky in the title game and went on to shine in the NCAA tournament while averaging 24.5 points, 9 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game in two games. He scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in UNT’s 78-69 overtime win over Purdue in the first round.

Hamlet rushed to stands after the final buzzer and yelled.

“Don’t ever doubt me! Don’t ever doubt me! That’s what I told the Purdue fans,” Hamlet said after the game. “That’s what I’m telling the whole world. Don’t ever doubt Javion Hamlet.”

Hamlet could have returned for another season at UNT due to the NCAA granting athletes an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic, but he elected to move on to the pro ranks.

Hamlet has been an underdog throughout his career. He didn’t receive a Division I scholarship offer coming out of Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Tennessee, and played at two junior colleges with a short stop at Buffalo between before landing at UNT.

Hamlet took off from there and will now look to attract the attention of NBA teams after spending five years in college.

He’ll be an underdog yet again. Hamlet isn’t listed in NBADraft.net’s list of the top 100 prospects in the 2021 draft.

Hamlet has overcome a host of obstacles to reach his dreams of playing in the NCAA tournament, including a knee injury that forced him to sit out a season.

“He believes in himself,” UNT coach Grant McCasland said following the Mean Green’s win over Purdue. “He is the toughest dude on the floor.”

That toughness made Hamlet one of the best players in the history of UNT basketball. His time with the Mean Green ended Monday, when Hamlet announced he will take the step to the pro ranks he predicted nearly a year ago.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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