NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, poses with Jeremy Lamb, of Connecticut, the No. 12 overall draft pick by the Houston Rockets in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June, 28, 2012, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
NORCROSS — The nickname of Jeremy Lamb’s future NBA team only seems appropriate.
The 6-foot-5 guard’s selection by the Houston Rockets with the 12th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft is pretty symbolic of his meteoric rise to prominence since his junior year at Norcross High School.
Lamb has progressed from being a reserve at Norcross — albeit an important one — to the Blue Devils’ leading scorer to an outstanding two-year college career at Connecticut, and now an NBA lottery pick, all in the course of four years.
Lamb, who was unavailable for comment following his selection, was the Huskies leading scorer, averaging 17.7 points per game, and earned honorable mention All-America honors this past season, and became just the sixth sophomore in UConn history to score 1,000 career points in just two seasons.
After averaging just over 9.4 points as a key player off the bench for the Blue Devils as a junior in high school, Lamb’s stock skyrocketed on the AAU circuit the following summer.
He followed up with a strong senior season in which he led the Blue Devils by averaging 20 points per game, along with six rebounds, to earn a scholarship from UConn, where he made an immediate impact as a freshman, averaging 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists to help the Huskies to the 2011 national championship.
The rapid rise is no less satisfying to Norcross coach Jesse McMillan, though he isn’t surprised given the work ethic he observed from Lamb while with the Blue Devils.
“I really didn’t know him until the first day of junior varsity tryouts (at the beginning of Lamb’s junior season),” McMillan recalled during a draft party for dozens of Lamb’s family and friends Thursday at The Father’s House Church in Norcross. “Jeremy just looked like a basketball player. Here we are four … years later going from an unknown kid in a junior varsity tryout that nobody knew his first name to being in the lottery.
“I’ve told numerous people, he’s one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had. He’s one of the most high-character kids we’ve ever had, and I’m just very proud of him because I know he’s going to be a great professional.”
Lamb’s selection also made him the fourth Norcross graduate to be selected in the NBA Draft since 2009, joining Jodie Meeks in 2009, plus Gani Lawal and fellow lottery pick Al-Farouq Aminu the following year.
“Every once in a while, you sit down and it dawns on you because there are so many good coaches and players and programs that never get the opportunity to have one player (taken),” McMillan said. “We’re very blessed and very lucky to be able to have a lot of high-character kids.”
Lamb joins a Rockets team that went 34-32, but missed the NBA playoffs.
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