Doron Lamb toyed with the idea of leaving Kentucky after UK’s Final Four loss to Connecticut in his freshman season before deciding to stay in college.
“It helps a lot having him back. He was a big part of the run last year and we know he will come back and do the same thing or even more. We are happy to have him and T (Terrence) Jones back and know they will do a lot for us,” said Kentucky senior Darius Miller. “You don’t find many shooters like Doron.”
Lamb averaged 12.3 points per game last year and shot 48.6 percent (68-for-140) from 3-point range and 79 percent (79-for-100) at the foul line. He also had 75 rebounds, 62 assists and 22 steals, but he says the UConn loss still motivates him
“I think about that every day. We were right there to win the national championship, but things happen and we just have to keep moving on. I¿hope this year we can win the whole thing,” the sophomore guard said.
Kentucky coach John Calipari says Lamb could possibly play some point guard this year if needed, something he couldn’t do early last season when he tried.
“He has some things he has to get better at, but he's a terrific talent,” Calipari said. “Against Connecticut, he was the one guy who just played with no fear. This summer is important for all of our guys, but it’s really important for him to expand his game and add strength.”
The sophomore guard shared these thoughts on various subjects.
Question: How difficult was your decision to stay at Kentucky and not enter the NBA draft?
Lamb: “I wanted to come back because I thought my game was not ready yet (for the¿NBA). I just wanted to work on my game and get ready and try to win a national championship. Me and my parents thought about it for a long time, but we all decided it was best for me to stay.”
Question: What do you think of Calipari’s desire to have you reshape your body and gain weight and strength?
Lamb: “I have been working out since I got back (from break) in the weight room in the morning and running at night on the treadmill. I will keep doing that to get ready for the season.”
Question: Are you working harder now than you did last year?
Lamb: “A lot harder. Last year I didn’t go that hard really. I was just going through the motions a lot. Right now I am working harder to help us win a national championship.”
Question: Do you hope to work harder, win a national championship and then go to the NBA?
Lamb: “I don’t know. I like the sound of that though. I would take it.”
Question: Did the potential NBA lockout factor into your decision to come back to UK?
Lamb: “That did a little bit, but the main thing was to get my body ready and my game ready for the¿NBA. I need to work on my ballhandling a little bit and my strength. That’s about it.
“I was tempted to test the waters, but I decided just to chill out and get ready for next year.”
Question: What do you envision your role being next season?
Lamb: “I think it will change. I don’t know my role yet. I don’t know how all the new guys play.”
Question: Could you see yourself playing more point guard if needed?
Lamb: “If (freshman Marquis) Teague is not playing good at point guard, maybe. But I think Teague has the role of point guard right now.”
Question: Were you surprised Terrence Jones decided to come back also rather than go to the NBA?
Lamb: “I was surprised about that. I thought he would leave, but I¿am glad he didn’t. I would have if I was going in the lottery (in the draft). But he decided to stay and I¿am glad he did and he will make us better.”
Question: Do you guys think you can actually be a better team next year?
Lamb: “I hope so. You never know, but we just have to keep winning games.”
Question: How much does having Jones back enhance UK’s chances of winning a national championship?
Lamb: “That’s a big part of our team. He gives us a big post presence, blocks a lot of shots and gets a lot of rebounds. That’s what you need to win a championship.”
Question: Does it seem strange that you have gone from newcomer to veteran on the team in one year?
Lamb: “Coach has been telling me that I¿am a veteran.¿I¿know I am still young but I¿have to take this and go with it. I have to tell the young guys what to do and how to compete to win a national championship. I went to the Final Four, so I¿know what it takes to get there and I¿have to push them to get there.”
Question: Have you played with any of the incoming freshmen yet?
Lamb: “We played pickup one time. It was like one in the morning. Terrence did that. I don’t know why. The young kids are good. They are really talented. Anthony (Davis) dunks crazy and has some nice little moves. I like that.
“I know them very well. I had been talking to them throughout the season last year. We have a good friendship; everyone is cool, hanging out with each other. Hopefully we have a good season.”
Question: What can you tell them since you were a big-time prospect yourself who had to deal with the UK¿hype?
Lamb: “Be serious, even in the weight room.¿If you get in trouble and have to run, just do it and be serious because you need it to be in shape and get ready for the season.”
Question: How much does it hurt the team not having DeAndre Liggins back?
Lamb: “That hurts us a little bit. He was a good defender and scorer, too. We are going to miss him, but we have to move on. It didn’t surprise me he did leave. I thought he would leave and I¿just hope the best for him.”
Question: Does his departure put more pressure on you to be a defensive stopper now?
Lamb: “I think so. I think on this team we all play defense. In pickup games, everybody was locking up (on defense). I think this year we will have a lot of great defenders on this team.”
Question: Do you take any time off this summer?
Lamb: “I work out almost every day. I will take a couple of days off, but I want to work hard for this year.”
Question: How much does it help mentally to know what to expect this year after going through a full season at Kentucky?
Lamb: “This year I will know what is going to happen because I¿have been through it and that is big. I¿know I¿have to work hard. You have to listen to Coach and do what he says. If you listen you’ll have success like Brandon (Knight) and other past point guards.”
Question: Are you looking forward to being a team leader and a guy with an expanded role on the team?
Lamb: “I am looking forward to being a leader. We have a lot of new people and that puts the pressure on me really, but we’ll see what happens.”