April 2, 2011
HOUSTON (AP) - When Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun called to recruit Jeremy Lamb he was shocked by who answered the phone.
The voice on the phone was Lamb's father, Rolando, who hit a last-second shot for Virginia Commonwealth to eliminate a Calhoun-led Northeastern team 70-69 in the first round of the 1984 NCAA tournament.
After he made sure it was that Rolando Lamb, he made him a deal.
"I said: 'I don't hate you at all, I just kind of dislike you and that was working its way down to like," Calhoun said. "But you can do me a big favor and we can wipe it all out, have your son come and play for me, because he's going to be terrific."'
Jeremy Lamb thinks his work this season might have helped Calhoun forget about the shot that gave VCU the win. The 6-foot-5 freshman has started 38 of 39 games this season for the Huskies and is averaging 11.1 points and 4.3 rebounds a game.
"I think he has (forgotten)," Lamb said. "Every now and then he would say something about it, but he doesn't bring it up anymore."
Lamb said his father talked about that game when he was growing up, but that he didn't know many details about it.
"Before coach Calhoun was recruiting me, he just told me about the shot," Lamb said of his father. "I didn't even know who he hit it against. Then when I got recruited by coach, after a while of recruiting me, they figured out that that was my dad. They were like: 'Oh, guess who his dad is?"
Calhoun said when he first saw Jeremy Lamb, he reminded him of Richard Hamilton or Reggie Lewis, two of his former standout players.
"Strong with the basketball even though their weight doesn't say that," Calhoun said. "Their body doesn't look like they could lift up the basket, never mind be secure and strong with the ball (but) he's turned into a terrific, terrific freshman."
Lamb credits hours of practice with his father for jump-starting his basketball career.
"My dad didn't push us to play, but he would say: 'If you want to play, this is what you've got to do to be good," Lamb said. "I used to play one-on-one with him all the time. He would tell me that it would help your offensive skills. I would play one-on-one with him all day."
KUDOS FOR KEMBA: Connecticut's Kemba Walker won the Bob Cousy Award on Thursday as the nation's top point guard.
The award, named for the Hall of Fame former Boston Celtics guard, is voted on by a 20-person committee.
Walker has averaged 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in leading the Huskies to the Final Four.
He beat out Cleveland State's Norris Cole, Jimmer Fredette of BYU, Duke's Nolan Smith and Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin for the honor.