The 2012 NBA Draft was Thursday night and for the two former Huskies involved, Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, things went pretty much as expected. Both players were lottery picks and both went in the top-15. Drummond was taken ninth overall by the Pistons, and Lamb went to the Rockets three picks later.
Minutes after finding out his NBA fate, Drummond was asked about his work ethic, a topic that came up often in the weeks leading up to the draft. "Detroit's going to see that I'm a hard worker." He then added: "I love my family, I love my teammates, Connecticut is a great state but Detroit, here I come."
He addressed those concerns again Thursday night. Details via ASAP Sports (by way of the Hartford Courant).
“With the help of my teammates, lift the organization and the family out there; all the talk about my not playing hard is going to be put to rest immediately. I’ll have my teammates who are my brothers now to push me and I’ll put that to rest and the rest of the game is going to be great because they have a great coaching staff out there, as well?? he’s going to help me rebound; rebound, box out. … I think I’m not going to try to force anything too fast. Just do whatever Coach tells me to do and wherever he puts me is where I’m going to play and I’m going to work my hardest and I’m going to give it my all every single day.”
Pistons president Joe Dumars was shocked that Drummond was available when Detroit went on the clock. "I didn't think we had a chance," he said Thursday night according to the Detroit Free-Press, "but I didn't think we had a chance the last two years."
And unlike the Darko Milicic fiasco in 2003, when the organization admittedly didn't do its due diligence and was subsequently burned, Dumars had nearly a dozen background sources offering evaluations of Drummond. And that doesn't include a personal, Tuesday-night workout at a clandestine New York City gym. Obviously, the Pistons liked what they saw. "We've waited a long time to get specifically this kind of big man," Dumars said.
Lamb, meanwhile, is headed to Houston, which also selected Royce White of Iowa State (16th) and Terrance Jones of Kentucky (18th). The Rockets had wanted to move up in the first round to land a franchise star. Their inability to do so left owner Leslie Alexanders "disappointed," but he was also "thrilled" with the team's draft haul, calling all three players steals.
“It’s a disappointment," he said according to the Houston Chronicle. "You want to move up. But you’re happy you got three great guys. They’re big. Lamb is a real big two. Royce, all our guys love him. They think he will be a real star in this league. (Jones) is huge and he’s young. We stole them. We had Lamb as the fifth-best player. We got him. Everybody wanted Royce. I thought at 18, we might not get somebody that terrific, but we did.”
Lamb, like Drummond, faced his own pre-draft criticisms, namely that his laid-back style might not translate well to the NBA game. Given who he played for in college, that shouldn't be a problem.
“Coach [Jim] Calhoun was a tough coach to play for, but a great coach to play for," Drummond said Thursday via the Courant. "I was struggling, and Coach always believed in me. You know, he was always in my head. He got me mentally tough. He pushed me to the limit. When I thought I was working hard, he showed me that I wasn’t. He always told me that I wasn’t.
My freshman year, got to play with Kemba Walker, great point guard, and I learned a lot from him. So my whole time at UConn was a huge learning experience and a time for me to get tougher.”