Friday, April 20, 2012
Doron Lamb hopes to carry strong tourney
performance into first-round NBA draft pick
You would have to forgive Doron Lamb if he sometimes felt like the forgotten man.
The sophomore guard was the second leading scorer on UK’s national championship team at 13.7 points per game, scored 22 points in the title game and leaves UK with the highest career three-point field goal percentage of any player with at least 150 attempts in program history at 47.5 percent.
Still, of the five underclassmen who declared for the NBA draft Tuesday, Lamb is the last player projected to be selected in most mock drafts.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Lamb said of the projections. “I did what I had to do, played my best. I’ll see what happens from here. I have to go out there and prove myself. I’ll keep proving myself until the end.”
Lamb was considered a late first/early second round pick following his freshman season, but he returned to school with hopes of improving his game and winning a national championship.
After averaging 16.5 points per game during UK’s NCAA Tournament run and spending significant time as the Wildcats backup point guard, Lamb feels like he has nothing left to prove in college.
“I have had an awesome two years,” he said. “This year we won a national championship and you can’t do any better than that. That is why I am going to the NBA.”
UK head coach John Calipari said Lamb should benefit at the next level after proving he can play some point guard.
“He can play both positions,” Calipari said. “Made a great choice to come back to school. He had an opportunity to leave last year, came back, worked on his game, got stronger, got more confident, defended better. He did all the things you have to do to help himself on the next level.”
In his most recent mock draft, ESPN.com draft expert Chad Ford projected Lamb to be selected with the last pick in the first round. At that draft position, Ford writes that Lamb is competing with Vanderbilt guard John Jenkings to be selected by a team looking for a pure shooter.
His draft status may not change too drastically from the projection following his freshman season, but Lamb feels like he benefited from returning for a second season at UK.
“It helped me a lot getting my game and body right,” he said. “I got stronger and learned the game more from Coach Cal. We had a great coaching staff. I will never forget the moments I had here and I had a great time.”
Lamb has shown glimpses of his full ability, and Calipari said when he plays like he is capable he becomes a different player.
“With his motor running like you saw in the championship game, there is no better guard in the country.”