Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 6/29/12
MIAMI Yes, it really did happen. Justin Hamilton is now property of the Miami Heat. Im still kind of in shock, like its just slowly sinking in, Hamilton said Friday afternoon, a day after he was drafted by Philadelphia with the No. 45 pick in the second round and shipped to the NBA champion Heat. I think this morning when I woke up, I wasnt really sure the draft really happened. And then it was a great feeling. And I think its starting to settle in. But theres no guarantee Hamilton, a big man from Louisiana State, will be on Miamis roster next season. Heat president Pat Riley said after Thursdays draft he could end up playing overseas. Hamilton doesnt doubt that could end up happening. Because his mother is from the country, he did recently apply for Croatian citizenship in case the NBA didnt immediately work out. For now, though, Hamilton wants to show his stuff for the Heat in next months summer league in Las Vegas. The Heats just indicated they just drafted me and they liked how I played, and now its just a matter of playing summer league and just doing whatever I can to see if I can help the team, Hamilton said. If I can help them out, then Ill be here. If I still need more improvement, Im not sure. The 7-foot Hamilton, 22, averaged 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in his one season for LSU. He left college with one year of eligibility remaining after having played two years at Iowa State and then transferring. The Heat entered Thursdays draft with the No. 27 pick in the first round. However, they agreed to trade that selection to Philadelphia for the No. 45 pick and a future first-round selection. The Heat then drafted big man Arnett Moultrie at No. 27 for the 76ers. Hamiltons father, Larry, was a defensive tackle on Brigham Youngs 1984 national championship football team. His mother, Tami, starred in volleyball at BYU. Its really competitive, Hamilton, who played at Lone Peak High School in Highland, Utah, said of growing up in that sports environment. Hamilton, considered a project, wasn't projected by some outlets to even be drafted. But he said he's been overlooked before. "Ever since i was starting to play basketball, that's how it's been,'' said Hamilton, who is listed at 260 pounds and said he wants this summer to add strength. "Everybody has kind of written me off. It doesn't really affect me, just because I know what I have to do . I just took (draft projections) as what other people thought and just continued to work hard.'' It paid off for Hamilton by being drafted Thursday. And he eventually figured out Friday it really did happen. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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