The mention of the storied St. Vincent St. Mary (STVM) high school basketball program immediately brings back the glorious memories of its most famous alum LeBron James.
After all it was LeBron who brought STVM into the national spotlight leading the Akron Catholic school to three Ohio State championships in 2000, 2001 and 2003 the year of its only National Championship in basketball.
However, STVM has not exactly been chopped liver since LeBron has went on to fame and fortune, winning three NBA Championships, four MVPs and three Finals MVPs.
In fact the STVM continues to be the standard for excellence when it comes to high school basketball in the state of Ohio.
The Fighting Irish has won just as many state crowns since LeBron left as it did with him, capturing the title in 2009 and most recently back to back in 2017-2018.
One of the reasons for the Fighting Irish most recent success is 5’11 cerebral point guard Christopher Hamilton-Painter.
Hamilton-Painter is currently starring for the Fighting Irish in the annual Terry Rozier Fun Games Summer League being played each Monday and Wednesday at Warrensville Heights High School and The Word Church Metro Plex, respectively.
During summer league play at Warrensville Heights recently, Hamilton-Painter demonstrated why he is a bonafide Division 1 prospect.
As the Fighting Irish was demolishing Beachwood High School, Hamilton-Painter took off for a fast break and then finished with a thunderous right handed power dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
Then on Wednesday against Shaw High School, he crossed over a defender and pulled up for an all net three pointer in another blowout victory.
He only averaged 8 points a game for the Fighting Irish during the regular season because of their depth and talent, but his uncanny poise and court awareness are sure to attract more than just Ashland University.
As I sat next to a Division 3 assistant coach, he also marveled at the play of Hamilton-Painter.
The coach says he comes to watch STVM play and ask the coach what players he has at the end of the bench because he is sure that players such as Hamilton-Painter is out of orbit for his program.
“If he’s not a D-1 point guard I don’t know what is,” the coach said.
The soon the be senior prospect is not sure where he will be attending college after the 2018-19 season, but he is wide open to any Division 1 school that would offer him a scholarship.
“Over time I have just watched previous players like John Williams, he was a big leader to me and I look up to him a lot and I just feel that he’s taught me a lot of things,” Hamilton-Painter told the Call & Post.
He stated that 15 years later LeBron James is still a big influence.
“It’s a big influence because every where we go people know who we are because of LeBron and he put us on the map and now we are just living up to the name,” he continued.
It’s not coincidental that Hamilton-Painter patterns his game after one of LeBron’s close friends.
“I like Chris Paul because he knows how to run a team and knows when to score and when to pass the ball and just how to lead his team.”
Which is exactly what Christopher Hamilton-Painter is doing for St. Vincent St. Mary and will continue to do so for next season and if any Division 1 college program is wise enough for that school as well.