When East Hall graduate J.C. Hampton announced publicly that he was transferring from Lipscomb University this spring ahead of his final year of eligibility, his high school coach suddenly got very popular.
“The first day, my phone blew up,” said Vikings coach Joe Dix. “Twenty to 30 Division-I schools asking me about him. But if anyone can handle (being a graduate transfer), you bet he can.”
Hampton, who will be suiting up for Texas A&M this coming season, said he found his second round of recruiting to be ‘humbling.’ Initially, the East Hall talent had received only interest from a few big-name schools coming out of high school, but devoted himself to improving his craft in Tennessee.
Since graduating this spring, Hampton will begin a Master’s program at Texas A&M, where he intends on studying business management. Following his basketball career, Hampton said he intends on staying in the “sports world,” including the possibility of getting into coaching.
Hampton said he had schools from the Big 12, Big 10, Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Pac-12 get in touch with him throughout his second recruitment period.
“Out of high school, I didn’t have the pick of a lot of schools,” said Hampton. “Everyone was telling me I was too small, not athletic enough. I never had the thought of having Power Five schools call me. It was definitely different.”
Dix said he expects Hampton, who averaged 15.9 points per game for the Bisons in the Atlantic Sun Conference, to be a starting point guard for the Aggies this fall. Hampton has put on 20-25 pounds of muscle since his freshman year at Lipscomb, according to Dix.
During his time at Lipscomb, Hampton made 92 starts in 96 games. In a press release, Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said Hampton brought “experience and versatility” to the program.
“In addition to being outstanding at the free throw line,” said the fifth-year coach Kennedy, “he gives us another solid scorer who has the ability to make plays for himself and his teammates.”
Hampton will be leaving for College Station, Texas, in two weeks to officially move in and start getting to spend time with his new teammates. Once he gets settled in, Hampton will take part in team workouts and get ready for preseason ahead of the Aggies’ first game.
Prior to his decision, Hampton was also pondering opportunities at Alabama, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and East Carolina.
The East Hall High graduate said he was impressed by the friendliness of the people on campus at Texas A&M, and believed it was a strong fit for both sides.
“Academic-wise, it’s one of the top schools in the SEC,” he said. “Meeting everyone I came in contact, it showed they really care for you. Coach told me ‘You’re here for a year now, but you’re family.’ That was big, really huge for me.”
Dix said he was excited for his former student, who he once taught in elementary school. The coach said he would likely try to make it to College Station to see Hampton at a practice or game.
“He was looking for something like them and they were looking for someone like him,” said Dix. “With his skill level, it’ll translate into success. I think he’ll do real well.”