OK, it is that time you have all been waiting for. The KSR Blogger Contest is underway. The first round sees 25 finalists and we will cut the group to 20. The finalists were placed into five groups of five and each group was assigned an incoming UK Freshman to profile. They got the same player so that it would be easier to compare them head to head. Each was also assigned a judge and the group will be ranked 1-5. The person in 5th is out with some lovely parting gifts, including a Hunter Campbell signed picture. This is also the first post where we will utilize the “Click here for more” feature so that the post doesnt get so long you cant read it. So click the link, comment on how good (or bad) these writers are and let us know if you agree with our assessment. This round is JOE STONE, DUSTIN SMITH, NICOLE CARTIER, MATTHEW HAYS and RYAN , the player profiled is Doron Lamb and they get me as the judge. The post is way long and a good way to waste some time, so read it if you can and soon you will have a voice on who is the winner. Its time to blog it out….
Let me begin this profile of incoming freshman Doron Lamb by telling you what I already know upon receiving this assignment: I know he’ll be a freshman next year, which I assume means he was a high school senior at some point this year. (This is me. Directly below me, a limb). I know he’s a guard. I think he’s a shooting guard. I know if he isn’t a shooting guard now, he will be next year – for much the same reason Eric Bledsoe played the two spot last year. I know his first name will be pronounced twelve different ways by play-by-play guys throughout his career, possibly in multiple ways by the same announcer during a single game. I know at some point during his career, he’ll make a big shot. I know that if Vitale is calling that game, he’ll scream “I’m not a Lamb, I’m a lion baaabeee!” I know that when that happens, I will roll my eyes.
OK, wait here a minute while I make a quick trip to the Google. I’ll be right back.
Oh, you’re still here. Sorry. I got lost. Google returned “about 937,000” results for Doron Lamb and I read through like, literally four of them. Here’s what I found out:
Lamb is indeed a shooting guard (the 6th ranked SG in this class and 29th player overall by Scouts, Inc.). He grew up in New York (the NYC connections of Orlando Antigua and the recently reassigned Rod Strickland helped secure his recruitment), but he comes to Kentucky from basketball factory Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Recent Oak Hill products include Milwaukee Bucks G Brandon Jennings, former Duke G Nolan Smith, former Kentucky/Illinois/current (not holding my breath) Florida International G Alex Legion, and (more importantly) Alex Legion’s mom. Oak Hill has been very good to UK as it gave us guys like Rajon Rondo and Ron Mercer. Of course they also gave us Rashaad Carruth, so technically they still owe us.
My extensive YouTube research has led me to conclude that Doron Lamb is first and foremost a scorer. But then, they tend to not show a lot of defense or missed shots on YouTube. Also, guys who make mix tapes of high school basketball players don’t listen to much country music. He seems to get a lot of his points in the mid-range game, which is impressive for a young player. Most guys don’t develop that part of their game until they either lose a step or realize they can’t consistently knock down 3’s. With a go-to-the-basket point guard like Knight, Kentucky will undoubtedly see a lot of zone next year. A two guard with as good a mid-range pull-up jumper as Lamb’s will soften that up a bit. That isn’t to say that Lamb doesn’t attack the rim or shoot the 3 well, but the meat of his offense looks to be driving hard (usually left) and pulling up at 13-15 feet. Also, according to the above picture, he can palm a basketball. Which is nice.
My guess is that without a dominant Boogie-esque big man (holding off on Kanter for now), we’re likely to see a lot more of the dribble-drive this year. Lamb’s skills seem to be a good fit, though (and again, I’ve seen all of six minutes on him) he’ll definitely need to be able to hit catch-and-shoot spot-up 3’s to stretch out defenses. He reminds me a little of Bledsoe who was, at best, streaky when it came to knocking down open jumpers. Here’s hoping he (or somebody else, please) can do just that this year.
So welcome to Kentucky, Doron. I look forward to mispronouncing your name. I look forward to trying to not become too frustrated with your shot selection (no offense, you are a freshman shooting guard – it comes with the territory). I look forward to you breaking Chandler Parsons’ ankles. I look forward to yelling “No! No! Yes!” a hundred times this year when you actually make some of the previously mentioned ill-advised shots. Most of all, I just look forward to watching you and the rest of the team play this year. I’m just ready for this basketball season to start already.
Player Profile of Doron Lamb
“When I get to Kentucky I want ppl to call me D lamb.” So there you have it, the player formerly known as Doron Lamb will be called D Lamb when he plays for Kentucky, per his facebook status from earlier this week. So what more could you possibly want to know about Doron Lamb other than how to address him? Let’s start with the basics.
Doron Lamb: The Basics
Doron was born in Brooklyn, NY and attended Bishop Loughlin HS in Brooklyn, NY before transferring to Oak Hill Academy to finish off his High School Basketball career. Lamb is ranked #21 overall by rivals.com and the # 5 shooting guard by scout.com. Lamb received offers from many high-major programs, but in the end Doron narrowed his final list down to UK and Kansas. From there D Lamb chose to join college basketball’s elite, and leave Josh Shelby’s big ego by its lonesome in Kansas. UK lured Lamb by the great recruiting ties of Rod Strickland (Brooklyn native, Oak Hill Alum), Orlando Antigua (Brooklyn native) and John Calipari (recruiting extraordinaire). Lamb was a McDonalds All-American player and a key piece to UK’s top ranked recruiting class.
Comparing Doron Lamb
Everyone loves to compare up-and-coming athletes to current or old players. After all, how many times do we have to hear LeBron James (choke) and others compared to Michael Jordan? There will never be another player like Mike. It’s not fair to Jordan and it’s not fair to those being compared to him. Nevertheless, I will do my best to compare Doron Lamb to another player. I’ve heard comparisons of Lamb to both Gerald Fitch and Jodie Meeks, but I disagree with both of those comparisons. I disagree with any comparison of Lamb to a former UK player, so I had to go to the NBA. You will hear many comparisons of Lamb to Richard Rip Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons because they are both tagged with a “great mid-range game,” but please let that comparison and the plastic mask Rest in peace. The main part of Rip’s game comes from his off-the-ball play. If you watch the tapes they just don’t take the same approach to the game. Doron is just as good off of the dribble as he is the pass. The player that I would compare Doron Lamb to is the underrated Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs. Does this mean Lamb can take out a bat mid-flight in a basketball arena with one swat? Probably not. Does this mean UK can expect a Manu-like 2005 NBA championship season performance from Lamb? No. But it does mean that both players take the same approach to the game and play with a similar style. Both have a great mid-range game. Both have such well-rounded offensive games, that it is hard to label their style of play. Both are scrappy defenders. As the San Antonio Spurs crumbled when Manu got hit with injuries in recent years, expect the same from any team that Doron is on, if he were to fall to injury. Their versatility, balanced game, and will to win provide a unique set of skills that are hard to come by. Let’s just hope that D Lamb doesn’t make flopping such a vital part of his game like Manu does.
How will Lamb fit in?
I hope that during a game at Rupp this season I can look into the stands and see a large poster resembling a tube of Elmer’s glue. And on the poster will be written “Kentucky Glue” with a picture of a Lamb instead of a cow. I want to see that sign because it would best depict the role that Doron Lamb will play on this team. He will be the glue that keeps the bigger named freshman together. He will play the role of Emeril Lagasse, brilliantly blending together the different talents and flavors of the team with a BAM and a POW. Lamb does not have Knight’s speed, or Jones’ length, or Kanter’s Undertaker persona; however, he does not have their weaknesses either. Lamb may be the most well-rounded player of the group. He may not get the headlines, but he will get the team wins. With all of these great accolades that I am bestowing on Lamb, I am not saying that he is guaranteed a starting spot. There will be an intense battle this offseason for starting spots. I see the main competition being between Lamb and Liggins for the 2 spot. I loved Liggins’ improvement and hustle last year; however, Lamb’s consistency will prove to be too vital to sit for the start of games. Expect to see Doron Lamb starting next to Brandon Knight to form one of the nation’s best back courts.
After the mass exodus to the NBA from last year’s freshman, this year’s freshman class will be subject to countless opinions and questions on whether they will be a one-and-done player. While Big Blue Nation will hope to get multiple years at UK from Doron, the following quote from the Epoch Times should make you err on the side of caution, said Doron, “I am looking forward to next year, (Calipari) helping me with my guard skills and hopefully I can make my dream come true.” Doron’s dreams may not be the same as P Pat’s (wanting to graduate), but no matter how many years we get to watch D Lamb wear a UK jersey, it’s going to be a lot of fun watching him grow from a lamb to a lion wildcat!
Shooting Guard Doron Lamb, Oak Hill Academy:
Well, it looks as though Calipari did it again. He managed to not only get the best recruiting class for the 2010 season, but again, he picked the players with the best names in which to make witty and funny signs for games. Knight? Poole? Lamb?! I will totally be on the lookout for some signs next season. Don’t disappoint me Lexington! I mean nothing compares to one sign I saw during a game last season, “Kentucky fans love their Cousins!” Awesome, just awesome. We all know that figuratively, it’s very true– we do love our DeMarcus Cousins. But literally…? Well to each his own; I’m not here to judge. Anyway, I’m just here to write about one particular UK incoming Freshman, Doron Lamb.
I’m going to save all of the clichÃ©s regarding his rather distinctive surname until later and just go straight to the facts. He’s a 6’5 shooting guard out of the coveted Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia who lit up the PrimeTime Shootout for 49 points. Oak Hill and 49 points in the same sentence? ‘Nuff said.
Looking at his highlights on youtube.com, Kentucky fans will be very impressed with his pull-up jumper, a beautifully arched stroke and follow-through no matter how much pressure is in front of him; his ability to score in transition, he very much resembles John Wall in that he can swerve and cut his way down the lane; and his ability to knock off defenders and completely embarrass them as they try to defend him on his way to adding points to his stat line. Watch as Lamb chops….his defender’s ankles by cutting and veering to create his own shot, or just watch as he swishes with the defender’s hand in his face. Either way, he’s a scoring machine. Did I mention the 49 points?
I’ve read people comparing him to Eric Bledsoe in the sense that he’s a versatile 2-guard. But in reality, I personally think the tandem of Brandon Knight at point and Lamb at the two– which is his natural position–the back court will see many more treys taken with certainty rather than hesitancy and just hoping it goes in, i.e. West Virginia in the Elite 8. (still a sore subject, I know) He’s not Eric Bledsoe, he’s a Jodie Meeks. And Lamb’s shot is far from being meek. (This name game is kind of fun)
Lamb chose Kentucky over Kansas and rightfully so. He said the he loves the coaching staff and loves the fact that he, along with Knight, Poole, Kanter, Jones, etc, will be able to make an impressive impact much like the previous freshman class. And Calipari’s recruits haven’t let us down yet. What is the saying? March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb? Well I’m pretty sure that come March Madness time, Lamb and Co. will be roaring straight to the Final Four.
Enjoy the Highlights:
In like a Lamb
This may be a first. The leading scorer of one of the top high school basketball factories in the nation is the fourth most anticipated player in his college recruiting class. The guy who could step in and fill the most pressing void for a team with the highest of expectations is being lost in the shuffle of its recent annals of recruiting coups. But that’s exactly the position that Doron Lamb currently finds himself in as he prepares to join the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team in summer workouts.
Rivals.com ranks Lamb, or D Lamb as he’s requested to be called on facebook, as the 21st best prospect in the 2010 recruiting class and considers him to be a five-star player but he’s taking a back seat to his more highly touted teammates: Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones who are ranked 3rd, 6th and 13th, respectively.
Let’s play with the numbers. There are 347 schools that are currently playing Division I basketball. Of those schools only 13, including Kentucky, signed a player that was ranked higher than Lamb; that means that at 334 Division I schools, Lamb would have been the headliner of the 2010 recruiting class. I’m not talking about Chicago State or Wofford either. Lamb would have also been the most celebrated signing of the recruiting classes at traditional basketball powers like UCLA, Connecticut or Georgetown.
A few years ago signing Lamb would have been a cause for a ticker tape parade in the Commonwealth too. From the 2002-2009 the Wildcats signed only four players ranked in the top 25, and three of them – Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford and Rajon Rondo – were inked in the heralded yet ultimately disappointing class of 2004. However, in the past two years eight top 25 players, including Lamb, have agreed to suit up for the Big Blue Nation. Of those eight it seems that Lamb comes in with the least hoops hoopla surrounding him. The recruiting juggernaut that is John Calipari has made the commitment of one of the top shooting guards in the country seem almost… mundane.
The sad fact of the situation is that Lamb has been lost in the hype of his new colleagues. He’s like the Ringo Starr of the 2010 recruiting class. Yeah he’s in the band, and yeah, he’s great, but John Lennon is the Shakespeare reciting, straight A getting heir apparent to the point guard throne, George Harrison left us on the edge of our seats for a month before signing on as the poster boy for the DDMO and Paul McCartney is coming in as the most NBA ready prospect in the college game while also being an avid disciple of the choke slam. The other five-star recruits all have their own, unique angle. Now it’s time for Lamb to put down the drumsticks and get his.
He grew up in Queens and spent his first two years of high school at Bishop Loughlin, 12 miles away from his house. Bishop Loughlin has a strong basketball tradition and lists Mark Jackson, known for his Hall of Fame career and current broadcasting job, and Lance Stephenson, unknown for his mediocrity at Cincinnati, as notable alums. After averaging 22 points a game for the Lions as a sophomore Lamb decided that he needed to expand his game against tougher competition and subsequently enrolled at Oak Hill Academy for his junior and senior seasons.
Oak Hill is better known for its basketball alumni than Bishop Loughlin. It’s a prep school in Mouth of Wilson, Va. that is perennially listed as having one of the top basketball teams in the country. Accomplished players like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo and many others spent some part of their high school career at Oak Hill.
Lamb looks to continue the Academy’s legacy of success in Lexington next season. He’s a complete player both on offense, with his game revolving around a silky smooth mid-range jump shot, and defense, where he is able to absolutely shut down an opposing player. In a game against Columbus, Ohio-based Northland High School earlier this season, Lamb took the primary defensive duty on Ohio State commit, Jared Sullinger, the 5th ranked player in the class of 2010. Despite a significant size difference – Sullinger is 6’8 and about 265 lbs. while Lamb is closer to 6’4 and a generous 190 lbs. – he held the big man to only three points. It’s this hardnosed approach to the less glamorous aspect of the game that is sure to net him ample playing time next year. He’ll be like a rich man’s Gerald Fitch without the rebounding, so still pretty rich but not like flaunting it, you know?
I’m not really one for bold predictions but don’t be surprised to see Lamb in the starting lineup at some point next season. He could come in and make a significant impact on a team looking for its identity. He’s tough, he plays defense and he’ll take and, hopefully, hit shots when he’s open. His game is like if John Calipari had access to some kind of Weird Science technology and he wanted to make the ideal basketball player for his system instead of a really hot chick.
So that’s Lamb’s new angle. He’s a robot Ringo Starr from New York with all the tools to be a fan favorite at UK. He may not be getting as much attention as the rest of the band but he’ll provide the steady beat of reliable defense with a mid-range game that could ultimately make a good band – or team – great. Plus, who says that the drummer can’t be the star of the show?
Oak Hill Academy is like the LaGrange, GA of basketball for the CATS. When I think about Doron Lamb’s recruitment, and how easily the commitment boomed through the halls of the Garden, I harken back to 1995.
Back in the day Ricky 3 stacks, formerly known as Rick Pitino, was the man. If he was in your neighborhood, women were swooning, fellas were drinking, and general goodness was abound. Also back in the day, Ron Mercer’s name was wetting beaks around God’s country (aka Frankfort), and Oak Hill Academy, Ron Mercer in tow, was coming to the Nitty (aka Frankfort) to take on the Panthers (aka Frankfort High School). You see, Rick Pitino made Oak Hill come to Frankfort just to play my alma mater so he didn’t have to travel to recruit Ron Mercer – now THAT is game…
As the Panthers warmed up and Ricky settled into his seat at FD Wilkinson Gym, I actually believed we could win. Don’t pay attention to our 3-9 record, or our tallest player being 6’2, or that all 5 of the Oak Hill starters went D-1. This was South Frankfort and we weren’t backing down from any lowdown snitches from east of the Appalachias.
About 90 seconds or so into the game, there were clear indicators that my bravado was ill-conceived. Ron Mercer both crammed on my good friend Erin Sweasy, and then broke Nick Barton’s ankles badly…very badly, on that stop and pop shot from the elbow that he perfected in Lexington. In the end Ricky was gone by halftime, and all that is left is a good story of a great beatdown. It made for great Woodland and Euclid glory tales when Mercer was cutting nets down for us the following year.
So what does Ron Mercer dunking on my boys have to do with Doron Lamb, you may confusedly ask? Well, I told you that to tell you this – Doron Lamb represents now what Ron Mercer did in 95 – UK dominance, and the beginning of a dynasty.
We’ve all seen the You Tube videos, the Jordan game, and heard the hype…the kid can ball. He’s going to fit in nicely with who we have coming and who’s coming back. He could be a two or three year guy, which would be a beautiful surprise. He can hit the three and bring mid range help. But Doron Lamb is more than all those things independently. To me Doron Lamb is a metaphor for CATS greatness. He’s a foreshadow to a championship (or several). He’s the embodiment of my anticipation for next year. When the CATS yawn and sign guys of this caliber, the Gods are looking fondly upon us.
While Boogie and John Wall are instant program changers, it is the bedrock of guys like Doron Lamb that leads to long term success. Will Doron Lamb be our new Ron Mercer, showering us with back to back to back title appearances? Will Doron Lamb be the catalyst that sends me back to Woodland and Euclid, telling my old Ron Mercer dunk stories and recapturing my college years? You bet your ass he will be all these things and more – Doron Lamb will be the glue guy, the link, the enigma that makes this Carolina transplant come back home to toast a title.
Thank you Doron Lamb – you’ve just increased my heart rate and made me pull out a 2011 calendar getting hyped about Houston next year
MATT JONES’s TAKE:
Overall this group gave a decent showing of itself. Everyone is just getting their feet and people will be better as the contest goes along. Going through the entries, I am a fan of Joe Stone’s effort, although I think it could have been executed a bit better. I like the “I dont know anything but will look it up” tone, although one has to be careful or else you will expose yourself as being knowledgable about nothing…a la BTI. The jokes about mispronunciations, bad puns and Chandler Parsons all scored, so I thought you did a good job on a first effort. Maybe more research next time, but that is just a quibble. Dustin Smith gave a good effort but suffered from what we often see in this contest, which is “finding your voice” issues. It is sort of serious and sort of not, and in your case, the serious stuff is better than the funny stuff. Having a consistent voice is hard, but at times it reads like two different people wrote your same article. Nicole Cartier’s entry is full of such puns, but it is just corny enough that it actually made me laugh. I wish it had been a bit meatier in either jokes or information, but it was a solid start…probably needs a bit more time put into it in the future in order to be very good. Matthew Hays entry was stellar. Full of information, reads like a journalist wrote it (which makes sense since you are in journalism school) and a person could read that and actually learn something about Lamb…which is always nice. Ryan Greer‘s entry was only so-so. While I like the idea of telling a story from the past, taking shots at your friends and connecting it to the topic, it didnt really work for me. There was almost nothing in it about Lamb, the Mercer story really only had the Oak Hill connection and it just didnt really flow well. I think you could do much better, but it didnt hit this time.
So in ranking the entries, I go:
1. Matthew Hays
2. Joe Stone
3. Nicole Cartier
4. Dustin Smith
5. Ryan Greer
Thus Greer is eliminated and Dustin survives to fight another day. Matthew looks to be an early favorite in the contest and is now ready for Round 2. The next 5 come tomorrow, with Tomlin as the judge. Stay tuned….