LONG BEACH, Calif. — If you are trying to figure out where you have heard the name Joe Hampton before, do not worry. Hampton was one of the stars of the final season of Netflix’s Last Chance U. In season five of Last Chance U, we saw Hampton show true prowess on the East Los Angeles Community College basketball court. We also saw him struggle to keep his emotions in check. It all worked out in the end, as he received a scholarship to play basketball for the Long Beach State University (LBSU) basketball team.
If you would have asked Hampton if he would be playing for a Division I mid-major basketball program in five years, he probably would have called you crazy. Hampton was once a very promising high school player who competed against three-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons. The Washington D.C. native signed on to play with the Penn State Nittany Lions out of high school.
Penn State had big expectations for Hampton, but it was not the right fit for him. Hampton said that, “It didn’t work out at Penn State. I was going through the worst part of my life.”
I realize the story sounds bad so far, but it is really a story of redemption. Hampton left after one year and moved to Los Angeles. He started playing basketball for Pasadena City Community College. He also started getting into some trouble with the law.
Hampton left Pasadena City Community College and was looking at facing jail time. Enter Coach John Mosley. Mosley is the head basketball coach at East Los Angeles Community College (ELAC). Mosley heard about Hampton’s situation and offered him a spot on his basketball team. He also spoke with the judge handling Hampton’s cases and helped him drop the charges.
Hampton only has the highest of praises for Coach Mosley. When I asked Hampton about the impact Mosley has had on his life, he shared just how deep and important the coach’s influence has been.
“Coach Mosley saved my life,” he said. “Without Coach Mosley, I wouldn’t be here.”
Hampton shined on the court in his one season at ELAC. In limited minutes, Hampton scored 11.4 points per game and grabbed 3.6 rebounds per game. As showcased in Last Chance U, Hampton also had trouble controlling his emotions. He played well enough to receive scholarship offers from colleges across the country during the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 season.
Hampton had opportunities to play at bigger programs than LBSU. One of the main reasons he chose to play in Long Beach was the coaching staff. They showed that they really cared about him as a basketball player and as a person.
“My coaching staff wanted me more than I wanted them,” said Hampton. He may have even higher praises for LBSU head basketball coach Dan Monson than Coach Mosley.
“Coach Monson really saved my life,” he said. When reflecting on his journey to LBSU, Hampton said he could have only made the decision to go to LBSU “with the maturity [he] gained in life.”
In Hampton’s first season at LBSU, he started 17 of 18 games as a forward. He was really impactful on the court, averaging 10.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Hampton also seems much more in control of his emotions now.
He will be entering his senior season this year and will be graduating with a degree in American Studies soon. He aspires to help his team make the March Madness basketball tournament this year. He has big plans for his life past Long Beach State. He will be entering his name in the 2022 NBA Draft with hopes that he can achieve his ultimate dreams of playing in the NBA. If the NBA does not work out, he may look into playing basketball overseas.
Whatever happens, big things are in Hampton’s future and I cannot wait to see what they are.
This is an unedited user writing submission. The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Best Version Media or its employees.