HOUSTON -- Quick, tell me if you think UConn wins a national championship on a night when Kemba Walker -- the team's shepherd all season long -- shoots 5-of-19 from the floor, misses all of his 3-point shots and scores just 16 points. Your answer would have to be no, right?
The shepherd appeared lost in the Houston night, but the Lamb knew where he was going. Jeremy Lamb, of course, because what's a post-mortem article without a horrible pun?
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Lamb's shooting was no joke (nor, technically, was anything I just wrote). The freshman from Georgia saw few opportunities, but he made every one of them count.
Consider the disparity between the overall shooting numbers for UConn and what Lamb was able to accomplish:
Team: 34.5 percent from the floor, and an absolutely astonishing 9.1 percent from behind the arc.
Lamb: 50 percent from the floor, and 50 percent from the 3-point line for a total of 12 points.
Granted, Lamb's 1-of-2 deep shooting mark was lemons from lemonade. His make was the one -- the only one -- that Connecticut could claim on an atrocious 1-of-11 night. But at least he had that one shining moment*. We have to find beauty in this game where we can.
Lamb actually showed a great deal of heart in this game, beyond his scoring. He was 3-of-4 from the line, grabbed six of his seven rebounds on the defensive end of the floor, and dished two assists to go with a defensive steal. Not a bad line at all for a freshman.
After the game, Lamb reflected on his maturation process, which took shape gradually over a long, 41-game season.
“Early in the season, I had to get adjusted to the speed and strength of other players,” he admitted. “I didn’t really set my man up to come off screens. Coach kept on me about going full speed and staying low. As I started to get better, Kemba started trusting me with the ball and started finding me, and I was able to knock down shots.”
Lamb’s performance in the final helped him earn a selection to the All-Tournament team, alongside VCU’s Jamie Skeen, Butler’s Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack, and his superstar teammate, Most Outstanding Player Kemba Walker.
We've talked a lot about how this championship team will look next season. Without Walker, as they most certainly will be next season, the Huskies are in good hands. Look for an excellent sophomore class next season in Storrs, with the long arms of Jeremy Lamb pointing the way.
*Lamb's sole highlight in the actual montage was a high-flying dunk. Call it poetic license.