Lamb Looking To Add Gold Medal To National Championship Hardware
Jeremy Lamb reached the pinnacle of college basketball in his very first season at the University of Connecticut. As a freshman he helped lead the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA National Championship. Now, though, he has his sights on a world championship at the 2011 FIBA U19 Championship For Men.
On Sunday, Lamb was one of 13 young athletes to be selected a finalist for the USA Menís U19 National Team roster at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The roster will be cut down to its official 12-man number over the next couple of days, and if part of the dozen, Lamb will compete for a gold medal in Latvia from June 30-July 10.
Lamb, a 6-5, 185-pound guard from Norcross, Georgia, was a member of the Big East Conference All-Rookie Team in 2011, in addition to the 2011 Big East Tournament Team, NCAA Final Four All-Tournament and NCAA West Region All-Tournament teams, and was named Big East Rookie of the Week twice. As a freshman, he aided the Huskies to a 32-9 record, a Big East Tournament title and the 2011 NCAA National Championship. He appeared in all 41 games, starting 40, and averaged 11.1 ppg. and 4.5 rpg. While his rookie campaign was very strong, Lamb stepped it up when it counted most. He averaged 16.2 ppg. and 4.8 rpg., while shooting 58 percent from the field in UConnís six NCAA Tournament games.
At Norcross High School, Lamb was a captain his senior year, averaging 22.2 ppg., 6.0 rpg. and 2.3 apg. as his squad advanced to the regional championship.
In between practices and working to make the official 12-man USA U19 roster, Jeremy took time out to speak with USABasketball.com.
What was said in the closed-door meeting when they announced the finalists roster?
They told us that everybody is good enough to play for this team, but unfortunately we have to make some cuts. Thank God I was one of those people that was selected.
Talk about what the training camp has been like up to this point, and how you feel like youíve performed?
The practices have been hard work, but itís been good. I felt confident. At the beginning, like the first three or four workouts, I was knocking down shots and playing my game, so I felt pretty confident. At the end, I started missing shots and wasnít really in a flow, so thatís what brought me down a little bit. I felt good though.
What were your emotions like when you were told you were selected as a finalist?
I was relieved. It was just a good feeling because itís a huge accomplishment for me. Now me and my teammates are going to go do our thing.
You come from a family with basketball expertise. What was that like growing up? (Lambís father, Rolando, played collegiately for Virginia Commonwealth and one of his older brothers, Zach, plays at Miami-Dade Junior College)
I liked basketball more than any other sport, so it was easy to get into it. The privilege was just having my dad be able to work out with me growing up, and I always had help from him. It was good to come from a basketball home.
During your senior season of high school, your team went 27-3 and advanced to the Elite Eight. Last year at UConn, you won the National Championship. It seems like success follows you wherever you go:</p>
I guess Iím part of that, but a lot of it is just being on good teams and usually I have a good point guard and a good big man so I can score. Thatís where that success comes from.
You were named to the Big East Conference All-Rookie Team, in addition to several other honors this past year as a freshman. Talk about the type of first season you had as a college player:
Coach Calhoun kept pushing me, my teammates kept pushing me, Kemba Walker kept pushing me. I just kept working and kept working. I was in the gym every night and it paid off.
Then obviously, talk about winning the 2011 NCAA National Championship. What does that mean to you?
It means a whole lot for me to be able to do that with my brothers. We went through a whole lot that season, but to end it off like that, with a huge run like that, itís a great feeling.
Going into your sophomore season and losing some of the key components from your NCAA National Championship team, what do you and the team have to do to get back on top?
Just keep working hard and pushing ourselves. We know how to play the game, and we know we have the talent and heart to do it. Itís just a matter of us keep getting better and working together to make it happen.
Youíve felt the emotions of winning an NCAA National Championship. How do you think winning a gold medal would compare?
I donít know. I donít even know. If we win it, Iíll see how it feels, but right now, all I know is how winning a National Championship feels.
What is something that not many people know about you?
Iím not really a quiet person. Everyone thinks Iím quiet because of my demeanor and because Iím laid back, but Iím actually a talkative person. I like to make people laugh and have fun.
For someone who hasnít seen you play, how would you describe your game?
I can make plays, knock down shots and handle the ball.