LEXINGTON¿— Doron Lamb has been putting in the extra time to get better and its showing.
“He is coming a half hour or 45 minutes before (practice) and getting extra conditioning and work,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monday. “Have you seen the results? But, that is hard. So if you do what he does then you will have (the same results). ‘Well, I don’t want to do that, I just want the results.’ It doesn’t happen. You have to put in time.”
Lamb has done just that. The sophomore guard has scored double figures in seven of Kentucky’s nine games this season and scored 24 points in the Cats’ last outing, an 87-62 rout of Chattanooga last weekend. Lamb also had 19 in a 73-72 loss at Indiana two weeks ago and has been giving the team a big lift during the first half of the season.
He hopes to continue the surge when the third-ranked Wildcats take on Samford tonight in the first-ever meeting between the two schools at Rupp¿Arena. The contest is the second of five consecutive home games to close out the current calendar year. Kentucky takes on Loyola of Maryland at 1 p.m. Thursday before taking a brief Christmas break.
The noted improvement has been part of Lamb’s maturity and growth during the past year. He also understands the importance of hard work behind the scenes and is willing to whatever it takes to get better as a player.
“I’ve been working out before practice and after practice, putting shots up, trying to get sweaty before practice and getting ready for practices between games,” Lamb said. “It starts at practice. You do it in practice and it goes to the games.”
So far, Lamb’s practice habits have indeed carried onto the court this season and most of his contributions have been in the form of 3-pointers. Lamb connected on four of the team’s 12 shots from ling range against the Mocs. Lamb displayed the same early-season trend during his freshman campaign last season. It was nearly a year ago when he scored a career-high 32 points three days before Christmas in the Cats’ blowout over Winthrop at Rupp¿Arena.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Lamb has been “terrific” so far in his second tour of duty with the Wildcats, but the Kentucky coach added that would like to see “just more of a consistent effort,” and expects Lamb to become more vocal as the season progresses.
“This team doesn’t talk enough and it starts with him,” Calipari said. “When you don’t talk, you’re into your own self. You must talk on offense and you must talk on defense. That’s what we’re trying to get him to do.”
Lamb has gotten the message from his coach.
“(He wants me to) run the floor, really, make all the shots, and always add to the motor,” Lamb said. “(Coach Calipari) wants me to talk more on defense and talk in general and in practice really.”