Off the Court: Introducing the Freshmen ‘Fab Five’



When Maco Hamilton was hired as a new coach at George Fox, his mission was to rebuild the program and construct a winning culture from the ground up. This isn’t uncommon in college basketball– a team that is fading gets a new coach to bring in new talent and a new way to play the game. That’s exactly what Maco has done by bringing in five stellar freshmen recruits.

There is Brendin Quinn from Springfield, Ore. He certainly doesn’t lack for confidence and has an explosive pace of play that backs up his big personality. Thomas Rico from Glendora, Calif., is better known to his teammates as “Rico Suave.” He’s smart, plays fast and has quickly emerged as a leader on the team. Andrew Smith from Eugene, Ore., was one of the first freshmen to get big minutes during the season. He seems quiet at first, but his teammates shake their head laughing and say getting him to talk is not a problem. Johnathan Doutt from Keizer, Ore., has one of the cleanest shots you’ll ever see. And he’s always hungry or forgetting something important (like his wallet at the airport). And last is the guy with the biggest smile and a story for every situation, Steven Stone from Lacey, Wash. He’s the gentle giant of the group at 6’6″ and obviously loved by his teammates.

In between talk of long weeks (often 30-plus-hours-a-week spent doing basketball-related activities) and grueling conditioning, they mention some of the things that stand out about their first year of college basketball. Steven and John have loved getting to see so much playing time. Andrew can’t believe how much candy one team can consume and confides that Trolli Eggs are a new favorite. Thomas and Brendin, who are also roommates, say one of the most fun parts of the season is all of the traveling they’ve been able to do.

These five provide a promising future for Bruin basketball, building the foundation set forth by Maco. On the court, each plays a considerable amount of minutes, something not typical for first-year players. “My favorite moment this season was when we played Linfield in our first conference game with all five of us together on the court,” said Thomas. That probably won’t be the last time we see these five play together, either. Each is averaging double-digit minutes a game this season.

Maco pushes his team to be successful across all walks of life, and the players know what they’re in for: a full student-athlete experience. This group of freshmen, his first batch of recruits, will be the first to get the full exposure of this new culture, which is paving the way for future success. The term “student-athlete” is often put on college players like this freshman class, making sure that school comes before sports, ensuring they aren’t just at school to compete but to learn as well. What isn’t covered in that term is the evolution of self: the growth that occurs through sports that builds life skills transcending the court to future careers, relationships and beyond – accountability, hard work, grit, teamwork.

Hamilton has ingrained these traits in this newly touted “Fab Five.” “Maco always says ‘Basketball doesn’t define us.’ Obviously it plays a big role in our lives and we train hard and put in the hours, but a loss doesn’t define who we are,” Steven noted. This provided an overarching theme to this group of guys: the journey is just as sweet as the destination. And seeing as how good the journey has been for the freshmen this far, it’s exciting to think about the great future in store for this team.