Posted on: November 18, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:32 pm
By Jeff Goodman
There will be no debate about No. 1.
No, I'm not talking about whether it's North Carolina or Kentucky for the top overall spot in the poll.
I'm talking about the discussion of who will be the top overall pick in the NBA Draft - as long as there is such a thing as the NBA Draft this June.
After speaking to a handful of NBA executives since Tuesday night, there's only one name that surfaces right now - and that's Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis.
True, he's only played a few games thus far - but it doesn't take a genius to see the potential.
He's a game-changer - on both ends of the floor.
He's got the length that NBA types drool over.
He plays hard - and has a feel for the game.
The lone drawback with the 6-foot-10 Davis is that he's not ready to come in - from a physical standpoint - to the NBA.
However, it's all about potential - and his ceiling is higher than any of the other candidates (i.e. Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, Jared Sullinger).
Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 3:37 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Everyone can talk all they want about Jeremy Lamb, how he's primed for a mammoth season in which some even have pegged him as a Preseason First Team All-American.
They can talk about the new guy, talented freshman Andre Drummond - who could well become a lottery pick after this season.
They can talk about veteran big man Alex Oriakhi and how if he becomes consistent, this UConn team could go back-to-back.
But none hold more to the Huskies success this season than Shabazz Napier.
And it's got nothing to do with the fact that backup point guard Ryan Boatright is still dealing with NCAA eligibility issues, either.
With or without Boatright in the fold, Napier is the most important man in Storrs, Conn., this season - and one of the most important in all of college hoops.
"Shabazz is the key to UConn," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun admitted to CBSSports.com.
Napier was the guy who played alongside Kemba Walker a year ago. He was a relentless defender who brought toughness to the table. Now he'll be asked to run the show.
Thus far, in two exhibition games, Napier has dished out 28 assists and committed just four turnovers.
"He was better running the team in the games than he's been in practice," Calhoun said.
Some question Napier's ability to shoot the ball - after he shot just 37 percent overall and 33 percent from long distance as a freshman.
"I'm not worried about that at all," Calhoun said.
Two things that Napier can do: Guard and shoot the ball.
Running the team will be the key for the Huskies, though.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 11:53 am
By Jeff Goodman
Lithuania blasted the US U-19 team by 33 points exactly one week earlier.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 2:59 pm
By Gary Parrish
Jeff Goodman and I spent Monday doing a 2012 NBA mock draft.
We alternated picks.
I took Harrison Barnes first.
Goodman took Anthony Davis second and said he would've taken him first.
(Note: Looks like I'm the smart one. Again.)
Then we knocked out the next 28 picks and among the players never selected was Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor, which led to a few emails that asked the following questions: "Are you an idiot? Did you forget about Jordan Taylor?"
Answer to Question No. 1: Maybe
Answer to Question No. 2: No
As everybody should know by now, being a great college player doesn't necessarily make somebody a great NBA prospect, and Taylor might be an example of that. I'm not ready to give up on his NBA prospects just yet because he could reasonably go late in the first round of any draft and then develop into a quality NBA point guard. I don't know. But the fact that Taylor is a tremendous college guard means nothing ... except for that he'll be a First Team Preseason All-American.
Speaking of, I decided to take a look at how some preseason All-American teams might look.
If I'm doing two teams, here's what I've got:
G: Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin)
G: Austin Rivers (Duke)
F: Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
F: Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
F: Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
G: Tu Holloway (Xavier)
G: John Jenkins (Vanderbilt)
F: Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut)
F: Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
F: Perry Jones (Baylor)
Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 3:10 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
UConn fans: hope in your heart of hearts that this Lamb kid sticks around three years like Kemba did (yes, I'm assuming there will be no fourth year). He may be amazed by watching his talented teammate, but the rest of us in Anaheim went away shaking our heads at the incredibly athletic play Lamb made to seal the game. He leapt in the air and snatched a seemingly safe D.J. Gay pass from the sky, then sprinted down the court to throw down the dunk on the other end. Spectacular.
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:14 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Tonight's 74-67 UConn win featured plenty of Kemba Walker, but it was Jeremy Lamb's athletic steal and runout dunk that put the game out of reach for the Aztecs and showed Connecticut fans what they can look forward to in future seasons. He talked about the play after the game was over.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 1:49 am
Posted by Matt Norlander
HARTFORD, Conn. — If Kemba can’t …
It’s a proposition most UConn fans didn’t want to even begin to maybe even think about possibly mulling within their minds. But the elephant in the room is unable to be tucked under the lampshade anymore.
Sometimes, Kemba can’t. Wednesday night, certainly, Kemba Walker couldn’t. It was such a disappointing performance in the eyes of his coach, Jim Calhoun, that the Hall-of-Famer didn’t want to talk about anyone on his team — except for this particular freshman that’s no longer a secret in the Big East.
“Individually, I have no comment about any of our players, except for Jeremy (Lamb),” Calhoun told the room filled to the brim with media in the bowels of the XL Center.
So, now, a question must be posed: Is Lamb’s production, in the here and now, a good thing? That’s certainly up for debate. Sure it’s fantastic to see others around Walker playing well … but at Walker’s expense? Consider, after mentally and physically relying on Walker for 17 games, the Huskies have watched Lamb blossom into something more than just a No. 3 option, even if he’s not quite a No. 2. (After the stats average out in the wake of the loss to Syracuse, Lamb and Alex Oriakhi will be in a dead heat for second-leading scorer on the team behind Walker.)
Lamb has spent the last four games — wherein the Huskies went 2-2 — stepping up for his junior teammate, who’s averaged a bad-for-him 14.5 points in those games, dovetailing with a season-low eight points Wednesday night against Syracuse.
Lamb’s average in that four-game span: 20.8 points. It’s clear he is already mature and comfortable enough to be the No. 1 option, if it comes to that, for this team.
“Yeah, I think we can definitely still win games like that,” Lamb said when asked if him playing the alpha is ultimately good for UConn.
Of course he’s got the confidence right now — can you blame him? Down the stretch Wednesday night, the offense wasn’t going through the potential player of the year (though that’s a star that’s beginning to dwindle). All the expectation was on the rail-thin freshman who’s got the fledgling form of a real offensive threat.
“Jeremy’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” Oriakhi said. “For the games he’s having, I’m definitely not surprised. … I think we were looking for Lamb a little bit more. He was the hot hand, so, you know, whoevers hot on the team, that’s who we’re going to give it to.”
The somewhat-worrisome news for Huskies fans can be found in this quote:
“We were still running plays for Kemba, but it was misunderstandings sometimes,” Lamb said. “Sometimes I was supposed to get the second option and stuff like that. Sometimes the pick wouldn’t come, we were forgetting plays, so … I was ready to knock down shots.”
Lamb followed that up by saying, “If I’m the No. 1 scorer, I think it’s going to make teams harder to guard us, because they can’t key in on two people.”
True, but as of late, that’s not been needed against UConn. The pressure of making up for lost production from Walker, Oriakhi and fellow frosh Shabazz Napier? Lamb has a lion’s pride in that respect.
“No pressure,” Lamb said. “I don’t even think about it.”
Lamb already has the respect of not only his teammates, but his opponents and the coaches who scheme against him in the Big East.
Perhaps the strongest of commentaries on the Walker/Lamb dynamic came from Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who admitted he didn’t scheme too differently from what he’d done against UConn (read: Walker) a year ago. He praised his team’s collective defensive effort, then went to discussing Lamb jumping off the tape in the games he’d watched while preparing for Wednesday night’s critical matchup.
“He’s (Lamb) been playing good,” Boeheim said. “The two guys I was worried about, him — (Roscoe) Smith has games where he’s made threes; tonight he didn’t. But that’s what you get when you rely on freshmen. ... Lamb is very good against zones. He’s smart, he can shoot — he’s got that in-between shot — he’s a very, very good offensive player.”
You’re not going to convince many people that UConn can be scary in any way if Walker’s held in check for the better part of 40 minutes. After the game, Walker was soft-spoken, leveled, and in an interesting position during interview session. He took questions from a small group of reporters, while three TV cameras and another seven print reporters huddled around Lamb.
Places had been traded on both the floor and in the interview room. Walker remained leveled and unemotional.
“We have nine more games left,” Walker said. “It’s not the end of the world. We’ve lost four games. We’re way ahead of where people thought we would be.”
He makes a solid point: the team is still ahead of expectations. Even if this two-game slide brings on a mild state of panic in amongst Connecticut fans, many still believe the team was playing with house money for a large portion of the year.
“He’s still a great player,” Lamb said of his teammate. “I just think tonight he let referees get in his head. Once he didn’t get certain calls, he got a little frustrated. … Right now I’m hitting, and Kemba’s having some tough nights. But it’s not like I’m the only one who’s doing something.”
It seemed like that down the stretch Wednesday night. This is a mini-crisis for UConn. Now, will it become an identity crisis? The Huskies, for as much as they need Lamb’s production, can’t have questions on who’s running the show if they stand a chance to make a run down for the remainder of this season and in the NCAA tournament.
“A month from now, I think we’re really going to forget about this,” Oriakhi said. “Kemba’s going to get out of this slump.”
Lamb finished up by saying, going forward, the offensive philosophy will probably adjust in scope.
“I think the team will definitely be looking for me more, but at the same time, Kemba’s still going to get buckets,” Lamb said. “Like I said, he had a tough time tonight and a tough last game, but great players bounce back. He still going to do what he do.”
The sooner Walker gets back to doing what he do, the better UConn — and Lamb, strange as it may seem — will be. It’s not yet time for Lamb.
Next year, the show will be his. And then he’ll really be able to know what pressure’s like.Photo: AP