Lamb Talks at Press Conference

Tyler Lamb talks about dealing with bursitis, the status of the rivalry with USC, and where he thinks Josh Smith is in terms of getting back in shape...

Q: How does that happen, where you need to get fluid drained from your hip?

A: Well, it started in Maui. I started feeling a little pain in my hip, and it kept getting…I don't want to say getting worse, but it definitely wasn't getting better. I mean, I was just sitting back to see if I was injured or if I was hurt. Because I'll play hurt, but if you're injured, you cannot play. I just realized that it was something, it just didn't feel right, I knew something wasn't right inside. And that's when I talked to the trainer, and we got the procedure done right away.

Q: Any idea what caused it?

A: I think just falling on it. I developed a little bursitis in there and I fell on it like three games in a row after that, and then I think I fell on it twice in practice, and that just made it get bigger and bigger.

Q: Given that you went through that, the next time you feel pain, are you going to alert the doctors quicker?

A: It's definitely a learning experience, but that's just who I am. I'm not going to say anything until I feel like it's hurting my team and I can't go anymore. I've played basketball a long time, you kind of know when you sprain your ankle or something, you can play on that. I guess it depends on how bad it is.

Q: Do you remember in particular any USC-UCLA games that you were at or watched?

A: That's funny, last night me and Josh Smith were watching a clip of USC and UCLA. UCLA had their black uniforms on. The black uniforms were nice. I liked those. It was Jason Kapono, Earl Watson, Dan Gadzuric, it was their team. And they were actually losing to USC. We didn't watch it too long though.

Q: Are you going to push for black uniforms?

A: I wouldn't mind black uniforms at all.

Q: Is the rivalry a big deal still?

A: Yes. I think the rivalry is still a big deal. This game is not just for us, it's for us as well as the alumni and you know USC is playing for themselves as well as their alumni. UCLA and USC has been a huge rivalry, and that's part of the reason why I came here.

Q: You talked about the bursitis kind of building up because you fell on it so much. That seems to be part of your game, you probably take the most spills on the team. Is that a concern for you?

A: It's not really a concern to me. You get knocked down and you get back up. I'd like to be aggressive on offense and get to the hole and dump it to the big men. So that's not really a concern.

Q: Has that always been your game?

A: Yeah, you know, I haven't ever really fallen this much. But now playing against big, huge big men on other teams, you just take it.

Q: Has the game started to slow down for you now?

A: Yeah, it definitely has. Last year, I was a freshman and sort of lost confidence at one point. I was just kind of playing like a robot. I just really couldn't find where I fit in last year. But this year, coach Howland's put a lot of trust in me. I've been given a lot of room to make mistakes and play through them, and I think that's helped a lot.

Q: Do you see Norman Powell going through a little of what you did last year?

A: I talk to Norman a lot. We're very close, because when I came to UCLA, Malcolm Lee did the same thing with me, took me under his wing. And I think that helps a player a lot, just having someone reassuring your confidence. And Norman's learning a lot this year. I think it's going to help him a lot with his future here.

Q: How are you guys going to be able to maintain the edge in practice that you had this past week?

A: I think it's just going to come from within. We all know what's at stake, and we all know where we want to be at the end of the season. We're going to have to take that and be focused in practice every day.

Q: When Josh Smith plays like he does on Saturday, what does that do to the team?

A: We get easy baskets, that's first and foremost. And Josh is a good passer, so when he demands that type of attention, he's able to kick the ball out for open shots, and that gets the whole offense going.

Q: What's the most underappreciated part of Josh's game?

A: I think his shape. A lot of people question his shape, but Josh is really continuing to lose weight. He's working at it. And I think it's all downhill now.

Q: How much do you guys get on him about not dunking?

A: We get on him a lot. But we can't get on him too much. I'm not a 6'10 big man, and I don't know what it's like down there. When he gets the opportunity, he dunks it, as we've seen last week.

Q: Are you guys going to talk to him about going home and staying in shape over summer?

A: No, not really. We're friends, so we'll keep in touch. I know he's going to work on his game and continue to work on his game. He started off the season pretty slow, but he's really been trying and he's really been picking it up for us.

Q: So you're saying you never gave him a hard time when he came back, called him fat or anything?

A: No. He is 6'10. I'm not making Josh mad.

Q: Are you surprised the front court hasn't been as dominant as expected this year?

A: I think we all were a little bit surprised. I haven't given up on them. I think Josh is going to be fine. And as of lately he's shown that. Josh is going to be all right. I don't think he's come close to his ceiling yet, in terms of potential. You see signs of it. When he gets it all together it's going to be bad for whoever's guarding him.


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