Lamb on playing in New York

Doron Lamb is not exactly how sure many family members and friends he'll have present when Kentucky plays Kansas Tuesday night in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Doron Lamb is not exactly sure how many family members and friends he'll have present when Kentucky plays Kansas Tuesday night in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

"My mom is dealing with that. I am not dealing with that, so I really don't know about who wants tickets or how many," said the Kentucky sophomore, who is a New York native. "I will have a lot of family and friends there. I am excited to play in front of family and friends in New ?York against one of the top teams in the country.

"I?have looked forward to it for a long time, but I?am not going to think about it that much. When you think about it, that's when you play bad. I am just going to play my regular game and compete. I?played at the Garden once in the Jordan Classic (after his high school senior season).

"The Garden will be crazy on Tuesday night. It will be sold out. We have to be prepared for that just like teams do when they come into Rupp Arena. But it's wonderful to be going home. I haven't been home since the summer, so it'll be great to see my family and friends. It's an honor to play in New York City just like it is an honor to play in Rupp Arena."

His father, Calvin Lamb, is glad to see him coming home to play, too.

"I am excited for him so family and friends can see him," Calvin Lamb said. "I would think it's really going to be special for him being back home. This is where you are from. From what I?hear, there will be a huge crowd in the Garden."

Doron Lamb often goes back to the Lower East Side to visit youngsters when he does make a trip home, something he likely won't have trouble to do even though UK?won't return home until after playing games in Connecticut Saturday and Sunday.

"That's just him. It's just how he is. It's a good thing," Lamb's father said.

Family friend Eddie Rivera says Doron Lamb has the ideal basketball parents in Calvin Lamb and Brigitte Grant.

"They took him everywhere to play basketball as a kid," Rivera, who will also be at Tuesday night's game, said. "They didn't miss a tournament he was in. They are very supportive of Doron in every aspect of his life from school to basketball. But Doron is still a kid. He lives in Queens now, but that is not where he's from. His heart and soul is on the Lower East Side. That's why he goes back there. He wants those kids to know they can be successful.

"But Doron had the ideal basketball parents. Calvin has a basketball head. He knows the game. Brigitte is the same way. She knows the game. She does a great job going over the game. She wants him to get playing time and do well, but she is good about assessing things. That's why they chose Kentucky. She felt that program and whole chemistry was good for him. There were times when we all felt Doron maybe should and could do more, but they are very supportive parents and he gets his game from his parents.

"It's easier for a dad to talk basketball, but Brigitte talks, too. She really knows her stuff. You will hear his mom say something like, ‘Go the side, pull up and hit a jump shot.' She has great basketball sense just like Calvin does."

Calvin Lamb did not get to Lexington for UK's win over Marist or two exhibition games. Still, he's seen the improvement in his son.

"From last year to now he has changed tremendously. He understands that he has to," Calvin Lamb said. "Last year he was just going through the motions at times. This year he has to be one of the leaders and set the example for the new guys. He understands that because he's always been like that.

"From what I?have seen, he is a lot better overall player this year. Now he's mixing his game up more. Going to the basket more. That definitely helps.

Doron Lamb has been careful not to let comments about his improved play change his demeanor. Neither has talk about him playing his way into a high NBA draft pick if he has another successful season.

"He has always been humble like that. When he does something really good or people praise him, he takes it like he is supposed to, which is a good thing,"?Lamb's father said.

Doron Lamb briefly debated leaving UK?for the NBA last year, before coming back to Kentucky. That decision looks even better with the current NBA lockout.

"When you look at the lockout, coming back does work out even better," Calvin Lamb said. "But I've always told him there is nothing wrong with going to college for four years. When you are a high profile player, a McDonald's All-American, top 25 player, then everyone expects you to be a one-and-done or two-and-done player. That's unfair to kids.

"Doron talked about staying all the time. He loves it at Kentucky. He really does. That's why I?tell him, ‘Just enjoy it.' That's all I can say because that's the place he wants to play and I?know he'll want to show all the New York folks what his team can do in this game. It's a big deal to him."


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