Lamb anything but a bench player


Terrence Jones laughs with Doron Lamb after the second half of UK’s win over ETSU at Rupp Arena on Friday Nov. 12 , 2010. Photo by Britney McIntosh

Technically speaking, Doron Lamb is a bench player, in the sense that he begins the game with his warmups on as five other UK players step on the floor for tipoff.

But there’s nothing about his game that says he’s a benchwarmer.

Lamb, who set the UK freshman record with 32 points Wednesday in a win against Winthrop, is averaging 14.2 points in 28.1 minutes.

And he’s become the master of coming off the bench.

“Doron’s got it mastered,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He’s loving it. (There’s) no pressure, ‘when I come in I’m lighting this thing up.’ He says let me keep coming off the bench, I like this.”

Lamb said he was “comfortable” coming off the bench for the Cats.

“I’m getting starter minutes, though, so it doesn’t really matter,” Lamb said before the Winthrop game. “As long as I’m out there playing and helping my teammates win.”

Lamb was known as a shooter coming out of high school. He’s proving why, making 55 percent of his 3-point attempts, including 8 of 9 against Winthrop.

“I just know that Doron can put it in the basket,” backcourt mate Brandon Knight said. “That’s what he does. He’s a shooter. When you give him an open shot he can knock it down”

And he’s got confidence, no doubt about it.

“Everytime I shoot I think it’s going in,” Lamb said after UK played North Carolina, a game in which Lamb led the team with 24 points.

UK is riding the line between being a good-shooting team and a team that relies on good shooting. About a third of their shot attempts are from behind the three-point line, and the Cats are making 41.6 percent of those. Lamb’s accuracy has been a big reason UK has been able to thrive with this style.

While he came in less heralded than fellow freshmen Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight — he was ranked No. 29 in the Class of 2010, which by Calipari’s recent standards doesn’t seem all that impressive — Lamb has completed a trio that Calipari is excited to have.

“I’ve got three really good freshmen. Three really, really good freshmen,” Calipari said. “There are maybe a handful of guys out there that are with these guys. But I’ve got three really good freshmen.”

Lamb, Knight and Jones are the three top Cats in terms of possession percentage, which calculates a player’s usage while on the floor.

“We have three freshmen that are slowly coming through,” Calipari said. “You may say they are playing a lot more, yeah. They deserve to be.”