Jeremy Lamb was one of two members of UConn's 2011-12 basketball team not in attendance during pickup games last week that featured an improved Shabazz Napier and a first look at the new freshman, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels. But Lamb had a good excuse: he was part of the Under-19 US Team competing in Latvia from June 30-July 10.
And much like the second half of his freshman season with the Huskies, Lamb isn't just along for the ride. He's a big reason the US went 3-0 in the preliminary round of the tournament. According to the New Haven Register's David Borges, Lamb averaged 13.3 points per game, second only to Joe Jackson's 14.3.
Here's Lamb talking to the media after the June 30 win over Egypt:
The U.S. faced Canada Monday in the second round, and made easy work of their North American neighbors, 83-54. Lamb added nine points, and all 12 players on the squad scored.
“I thought Canada played very well at the start, they gave us a lot of problems and then Jahii came in and got our running game going and we got going in transition and got some easy baskets and that opened the game for us,” USA head coach Paul Hewitt said.
One of Hewitt's concerns heading into the tournament was his defense. Against Canada, the U.S. was stifling, limiting Canada to just 30 percent from the field. “One thing I’ve noticed as this tournament has gone on, we’ve become a little bit more cohesive defensively. Guys can now take more chances because they know their teammate is going to be there to help them if something doesn’t go right. So I like the fact that we’re playing together better defensively as the tournament has gone on,” said Hewitt.
The United States next faces tourney favorite Lithuania. The teams met a week ago in an exhibition and the U.S. lost 108-75.