Even the most casual observer of Sioux Falls Skyforce basketball this season would easily identify the big man who wears the face mask when he plays. 

That fellow is Justin Hamilton, a 7-foot tall center that currently leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

(Dan Peters/KSOO)

Hamilton to the more seasoned fan would also be the most improved of any of the Skyforce players from the start of the season.  As a part of the Miami Heat organization, the Utah native was in training camp with the two-time defending NBA champions.  During the course of the preseason, an on-court collision necessitated the use of the face mask.  Obviously, there needed to be a learning curve with the usage and comfort level.  It took a few games for the orientation, but since a breakout performance in the season’s fourth game where he scored 26 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, Hamilton has been the team’s best and most consistent player.

Seemingly, Hamilton would be the next in line to get a Gatorade call-up to the NBA.  Just in the past couple of weeks, notable centers at the D-League level have gotten their shot.  The list includes Jarvis Varnado who was also in the Miami Heat preseason camp as well before also being allocated to Sioux Falls then traded to Iowa.  Varnado got a 10-day contract with Chicago.  Arinze Onuaku (Canton), Hilton Armstrong (Santa Cruz) and Dexter Pittman (Austin) are all big men who got called up this past weekend.  That leaves Hamilton as the highest ranked center available on the NBADL Prospect Watch.

Will that translate to a trip to the next level?  Let’s put it this way, the next NBA team that needs a 7-foot guy who can run the floor, pass out of a double team, post up, shoot from the outside and block shots; there’s somebody you should meet.