Jones, Lamb Return With a Purpose

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Jones, Lamb Return With a Purpose

Post  Carolina Kat on Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:50 am

Updated: 7:27 AM ET Sun, Oct. 02, 2011

UK basketball notebook: Jones, Lamb return with a purpose
Calipari: drive to compete is key

Jerry Tipton / Herald-Leader Staff Writer

A case can be made that Kentucky's biggest rival isn't Louisville or North Carolina or Florida. It's the NBA, which plucks off the best players each year, leaving UK as college basketball's Sisyphus pushing that one-and-done rock back up the hill every season.

So it came as a pleasant surprise last spring when Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb chose to return to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons.

As UK Coach John Calipari explained, the decisions had as much to do with improving their NBA stock as furthering the Cats' basketball interests.

"Terrence set a goal," Calipari said late this summer. "He wanted to be a top-10 draft pick, and it wasn't going to happen."

The legwork UK did suggested Jones would be taken somewhere in the middle of the first round, while Lamb was no sure first-rounder, Calipari said. So each player decided to come back in hopes of being more highly coveted in 2012.

"I think both of them were smart," Calipari said. "... Now you've got to take advantage of it."

Instead of assuming they are the big men on UK's campus this coming season, Jones and Lamb need to work diligently to turn NBA heads.

"I am going to compete every day and (against) everyone I go against," the UK coach said of the attitude he'd like to see. "I'm not here just to play, now. I came back for a reason."

Calipari noted that not every player wants to put in the work necessary to be a standout. Some players might shy from the pressure that comes with being perceived as one of the best.

Or as the UK coach put it, "See the girls, go out to the clubs (and) play a little bit."

But Calpari suggested Jones understands the difference between being a good player and being an All-American.
"He's on that path right now," Calipari said. "I'm loving it because I'm seeing him physically grow. I'm seeing him mature as a person ... . I'm really proud of what he's doing."

As for Lamb, he's been prodded for more effort by Calipari since the exhibition tour of Canada in August of 2010. UK fans may recall Calipari chastising Lamb for insufficient effort in the pre-game warmup before the first exhibition.
The prodding continues. "If he's in great condition and he has a sense of urgency, he's our best basketball player," Calipari said.

The UK coach suggested that Lamb might not be the team's fastest runner or best ball handler or, perhaps, even the best shooter.

"But as far as knowing the game, having a feel for the game of basketball, he'll have it," Calipari said. "He may be one of the top five in the country.

"Now, will he have the sense of urgency? ... That's why we keep challenging: Do you want to be the best? You have the ability to be the best. Go do it."

When asked why Lamb has not shown a zeal for the game, Calipari noted how some players can be productive without a noticeable passion.

"If something has come easy for you, you've never had to fight," the UK coach said. "Why would you fight?"

Point guard depth

At this early stage of preparation for the 2011-12 season, John Calipari identified backup point guard as an apparent void to be fill.

Ryan Harrow, the transfer from N.C. State, will be the backup point guard in practice. He gives presumed starter Marquis Teague a challenge each day but, Harrow must sit out this season.

So if Teague gets in foul trouble or sprains an ankle, UK's point guard is ... ?

"We've got to figure that out," Calipari said.

The UK coach mentioned Doron Lamb as a possible candidate for backup point guard duty. He also spoke of Darius Miller, who he said could get time at any of the five positions depending on the opposition.

Transfer Twany Beckham and Jarrod Polson are candidates, too.

"I'm not going to give it to somebody," Calipari said before adding a cryptic, "If they're not good enough, we'll look elsewhere."

Hood in 2011-12?

Junior guard Jon Hood tore an anterior cruciate ligament this summer. He remains hopeful of joining the UK team as an active player this coming season.

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Carolina Kat

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Re: Jones, Lamb Return With a Purpose

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:12 am

I think Lamb is going to be tough this year.

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