Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hampton to Play College Ball at St. Lawrence

Today we recognize one of the top basketball players to come out of NH's upper valley in a long time - David Hampton from Lebanon High. Hampton was a four-year varsity player, a first team all-state player and a 1,000 point scorer. He led the Raiders to the playoffs all four years, and to the Division II semi-finals his senior year.

The 5-foot-11 Hampton is a talented combo-guard, a hard worker who is quick and can handle the basketball and shoot it. He is a leader on and off the court, and further developed his skills with the GS Raiders AAU program. He will continue his career at the college level, by attending and playing at St. Lawrence University.

"Coaches really began recruiting me after I had a few strong games at the AAU Nationals in Florida" said Hampton. "Following that tournament I started to talk to a few schools including Endicott College and Norwich Academy. I also gained some recruitment after attending the Hoop Group Academic Elite camp at Albright College. I then began speaking with Elmira College, Bard College, and eventually St. Lawrence. Coach Miller at the time was a coach at Susquehanna University, but then was hired as an assistant at St. Lawrence. It wasn't until a few games into the regular season that they began to show a strong interest in me. I visited a lot of schools and in the end it was a tough decision because I had built strong relationships with a few of the coaches. I couldn't have gone wrong with any of the schools that I picked, but I am proud to be heading to SLU this fall."


St. Lawrence is located in New York, and competes in the Division III Liberty League. Head coach Chris Downs has led St. Lawrence to 12 postseason appearances. In his 15 years at the helm of the Saints, Downs has guided St. Lawrence to an NCAA Elite Eight, an NCAA Sweet 16, an ECAC Championship, two ECAC finals, and numerous conference championships.

"I really liked the feel of the campus at St. Lawrence, and the strong academics they offer" said Hampton, who plans on majoring in business. "Both Coach Downs and Coach Miller have been more than welcoming since day 1. I'm going to be open minded and accepting of any role I am given, but at the same time I want to help the team as much as I think I can. If I go up there and I'm out of the loop and not getting many minutes, I'm not going to sit back and be accepting of that. Instead, I will work hard in practice because that's where any minutes that I do get will be earned."

Very few players in the NHIAA's Class of 2013 had high school careers as good as Hampton's.

"Coaching David has been a privilege the last 4 years" said Kieth Matte, who was Hampton's head coach at Lebanon High. "David not only is talented he is also a very intelligent player, hard worker and humble. Basketball is a game of reading and reacting and as coaches we are generally doing the reading and telling the players how to react. Dave can read the game like a coach. If he is being denied he knows how to get open, or use himself to create space for a teammate. If someone is open he gets them the ball, where they need it to score. Since Dave was the best player and the hardest worker, he could tell other players what to do, and they would do it. I was able push Dave and he could take it, and if your best player can take it the others could be pushed as well. We really believe in brutal honesty, and since David could take criticism all were willing to take it. David came to me as a skilled player, but he was not a physical player. Over time, with a lot of hard work, David became more physical, stronger and that in turn improved his skill set. David has always worked at his shot and over the 4 years he became progressively better."

Hampton has clearly worked very hard on his game over the years. He has had some good coaching though along the way.

"Frank Alosa and Dave Segal helped me more than I could begin to explain" said Hampton. "The Raiders program gave me all the tools and knowledge that I have used to become a better player. I have made life long friends with a lot of those guys and I will forever be a Raider. Coach Matte played a vital role in my high school career obviously. He got me involved with the Granite State Saiders, and always held me to a high standard when performing different drills."

Hampton scored 1,000 points, hit a ton of threes and started nearly every game in his last 3 years. But his contributions to the Lebanon basketball program go far beyond the stats.

"David has been an instrumental part of our success at Lebanon High School" said Coach Matte. "The obvious is the winning of games, the big shots, the points etc. But Davids true meaning is how he has handled the difficult situations, led his team mates off the court, set a high bar for work ethic in and out of season, been a role model student, athlete, son and teammate. Dave will be missed, but the effects he has had on the program will carry on. All the student/ athletes that has come in contact with David will continue to benefit from the work ethic that he set. David has made it so it is not unusual for our players to get to the gym at 6 AM anymore to work on their games. Also David has brought back the bow tie and the sweater vest to Lebanon High School."

Hampton has set a legacy at Lebanon High for other future athletes to follow, just like he followed in the steps of an older player when he was first coming up through the ranks.

"My proudest accomplishment on the basketball court was running onto the court at UNH with my team" Hampton concluded. "I think any accomplishment as a team trumps all personal achievements. It had been a long time since a Lebanon boys team had made it that far, and I am proud to be able to look back and say me and my fellow seniors helped to inspire a new generation of basketball players in the Lebanon area. I know when I was growing up I looked up to Scott Faucher for how hard he worked and how talented he was. With all that said, he was also a nice guy and I really found myself trying to be that same type of role model."

On the court and off, Hampton is a winner. Best of luck to him in his future at St. Lawrence University.

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