With an NCAA Championship to his name, UConn wing Jeremy Lamb is getting greedy when it comes to the hardware. As one of 13 – soon to be 12 – members of USA Basketball’s U19 squad, Lamb has a chance to add a gold medal to his resumÃ© in the FIBA U19 World Championship Tournament, which runs from June 30 to July 10 in Latvia.
Training in Colorado Springs, Colo., Team USA scrimmaged against the Air Force Academy Monday and came away with a 101-87 victory during a five-period, 50-minute game. I caught up with Lamb on Tuesday afternoon to chat about his experience with the national team, the adjustment to international rules and what the Huskies’ national championship run means for him moving forward.
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Dime: How has the camp been, and what have you been up to the last few weeks?
Jeremy Lamb: It’s been real interesting. We’ve been having two-a-days, been playing real hard. I’ve been having to ice a little bit. It’s been a little different because of how much we work and how many times we go a day. I’ve been meeting new guys, so we’ve been going through it together and getting better together. So it’s a good experience right now.
Dime: How are you bonding with the guys and spending time when you’re not on the court?
JL: On the court we’re cool and off the court. When we go back to our dorms at night we all just sit around and talk and laugh and have fun. You know, I’m bonding with the guys real well, we all get along. That’s what it’s all about. It wouldn’t be as fun if everybody was against each other or didn’t like each other. We’re having fun, and we’re really learning how to play as a team right now.
Dime: How is that going, your chemistry on the court? Has it come together in the last couple weeks?
JL: We had a scrimmage yesterday. It was our first time out on the court together so we’re really getting used to it. We played good together, people really know their roles, we’re starting to execute our plays better. It’s going pretty good.
Dime: You guys are playing with international rules. Can you talk about the differences there and the biggest adjustments as far as just getting used to those?
JL: When you ball is on the rim you can hit it off. It’s just little stuff like that you got to remind yourself you can do … you have to remind yourself that (opponents) can do it. The three is a little bit longer so we’re all getting used to shoot it there. The ball is sometimes slippery, it’s a different texture. Everybody’s getting used to that.
Dime: Talking about you a little more, can you take me through last season as a freshman at UConn? As the year went on you got better, especially through the tournament.
JL: Just going through the season, it was tough getting used to Coach, tough getting used to college basketball in general. The Big East was a real physical league so I had to get used to that. As the season went on, Kemba (Walker) really was encouraging me, he really helped me through. Coach (Jim) Calhoun, he was on me. He was still encouraging me, he kept me in the lineup. So as the season went on, I got better, I knocked down shots. It just went on from there.
Dime: You won the national title your freshman year. What does that mean to you, and looking forward, how high does that set the bar?
JL: It meant a whole lot just to go through that with my brothers. We consider those guys our brothers. We’re great friends and great family off the court. Together, to accomplish that on the court, it meant a lot. It definitely sets high expectations, but next year, nothing is guaranteed but we can make a run. Anything can happen in basketball. We’re just going to work hard. We’re gonna lose Kemba and a couple other seniors. Everybody knows they have to step up and have new roles on the team next year so it’s going to be interesting.
Dime: You’re a year older. What does that mean for you and what do you think your role is? More leadership, maybe?
JL: I’m going to have to talk more, be a leader. And put the ball in the basket.
How good will Lamb be next year?
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