Tyler Lamb

UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb a difference-maker in his Long Beach State debut

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After winning its season opener against Hawaii Pacific, Long Beach State lost nine straight games in a variety of ways. There were blowouts, and there were also close defeats like their one-point loss to Loyola Marymount on November 14. Dan Monson’s team has traditionally played a brutal non-conference schedule, with the goal being to enter Big West play tested and ready to make a run at the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

But that can be a tough road to travel when doing so with a roster loaded with newcomers, and that’s been the case for the 49ers. The process of building chemistry is an ongoing one, and it certainly hasn’t come easy for Long Beach State. On Thursday night the 49ers welcomed UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb to the rotation, and the once highly-regarded Mater Dei product was expected to provide Long Beach State with some needed perimeter scoring help alongside junior point guard Mike Caffey.

And in his debut Lamb gave the 49ers a much-needed boost in the first half, scoring 18 of his 20 points to help Long Beach State build a 50-36 lead at the break. Long Beach State went cold in the second half as USC came back to take the lead, but a Mike Caffey driving layup with just over 16 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Long Beach State’s 72-71 victory. Caffey scored a game-high 22 points to go along with four assists and big man Dan Jennings added ten points and eight assists as the 49ers snapped their nine-game skid.

In two-plus seasons at UCLA Lamb averaged 5.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, and his open-court style didn’t exactly mesh with what then-head coach Ben Howland wanted to do. As a result he made the decision to transfer to Long Beach State, and after sitting out for more than a year (he played just one game at UCLA last season) Lamb hit the ground running offensively. Against USC he also accounted for four rebounds, three steals and two assists, using his skill and athletic ability to impact the game in multiple areas.

Given how much Long Beach State struggled in the nine Division I games prior to Thursday, it wouldn’t be wise to state that Lamb’s arrival means that everything’s “fixed.” Against USC the 49ers went more than six minutes in the second half without scoring a point, watching their lead dwindle from 13 points down to two with 6:28 to go, and they shot 5-for-21 from three. So there’s still plenty of room for growth as Lamb and the five junior college transfers (they’ve been eligible since the start of the season) continue to mesh with Caffey and the other key returnees.

But there’s no doubt that Lamb will be an impact player for Long Beach State as they look to win another Big West regular season title, especially when considering how he played in his debut.

Former UCLA guard Tyler Lamb will transfer to Long Beach State

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During the fall semester, Ben Howland and his UCLA program saw two players transfer. In a span of 10 days, each of those players have found new homes.

Last Wednesday, junior center Josh Smith announced he will join Georgetown for his final season of eligibility. Friday evening, junior guard Tyler Lamb made his decision and will transfer to Long Beach State. Lamb posted his decision on his Twitter account just after 5 p.m.

He picked the 49ers over San Diego State. The 6-foot-5 Lamb elected to transfer back in November.

“I would like to thank the University, Coach Howland and his staff for the unparalleled opportunity to have been a part of UCLA’s program,” Lamb said in a release on Nov. 25. “However, I believe that it is in my best interest to find a new destination where I can continue to grow, both as a person and as a basketball player. I am eternally grateful to my coaches and teammates for everything they have given me, and I wish them the best going forward. I plan on enrolling in a new educational institution by next semester, and I have not yet determined my schools of interest.”

As a sophomore Lamb averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Lamb underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in October, which sidelined him for six weeks.

He only appeared the Bruins’ season opener this season, scoring four points with three rebounds and a pair of assists in 14 minutes of action in a 86-59 win over Indiana State.

Lamb played only one game this season, so it will be interesting to see if he and Long Beach State try to get that year back. If Lamb cannot, he will have a year and a half of eligibility remaining and can play for the 49ers as early as the second semester of the 2013-2014 season (late December).

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Junior guard Tyler Lamb will transfer from UCLA

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UCLA junior guard Tyler Lamb will transfer from the program and continue his collegiate career at another institution, the school announced Sunday afternoon.

“We are very sad to see Tyler leave our program,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “He is a great kid, and we have really enjoyed having him play for UCLA. We fully support his decision, and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Lamb underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in early October has not played since UCLA’s first game of the season against Indiana State when he scored four points in 14 minutes of action. After the Indiana State game, he sat out the next two games with swelling in his knee and did not play in the team’s recent trip to Brooklyn.

He is a native of Santa Ana, Calif., who averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game last season. With the youth that has come to the Bruins’ front court and wing spots, includes Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad, and Jordan Adams, Lamb was expected to be able to provide leadership and experience.

He will instead transfer at the end of the fall quarter. There was no indication in the school’s release as to where Lamb might transfer.

“I would like to thank the University, Coach Howland and his staff for the unparalleled opportunity to have been a part of UCLA’s program,” Lamb said in a release. “However, I believe that it is in my best interest to find a new destination where I can continue to grow, both as a person and as a basketball player. I am eternally grateful to my coaches and teammates for everything they have given me, and I wish them the best going forward. I plan on enrolling in a new educational institution by next semester, and I have not yet determined my schools of interest.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Knee surgery successful for UCLA’s Tyler Lamb

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UCLA announced Monday that guard Tyler Lamb would be undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday and the school has now confirmed that the procedure was a success.

Following the operation, Lamb will now miss four to six weeks, putting his return some time in mid- to late November. With the Bruins’ opener set for Nov. 9, he could possibly miss the beginning of the season, depending on his rehab.

Lamb averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game for UCLA last season, with a season high 26 points in a loss to California in late December.

Expectations are high for coach Ben Howland and the Bruins in 2012-13, having brought in arguably the best recruiting class in the country to Westwood.

UCLA is still waiting on the initial eligibility ruling of Shabazz Muhammad, who is being investigated by the NCAA for possibly taking impermissible benefits during his recruitment.

The Bruins also bring in freshmen Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker, and Jordan Adams. Anderson and Adams both found success on the team’s trip to China in August, where the Bruins were undefeated in three exhibition contests.

The newly renovated Pauley Pavilion opens on Nov. 9 for the season opener against Indiana State.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

15 freshmen to love, this year and next

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Don’t go falling in love with freshmen like Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Baylor’s Perry Jones. They head the list of this season’s one-and-done players.

Also included: Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Kansas’ Josh Selby, N.C. State’s C.J. Leslie, Memphis’ Will Barton, Syracuse’s Fab Melo and Kentucky’s trio of Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter and Terrence Jones, among others.

If any of those guys return for their sophomore seasons, consider it a pleasant surprise for hoopheads.

Robin Scholz / AP

Who’s that leave? Fifteen talented guys you can watch this season and next.

Vander Blue, Marquette
The 6-3 guard was the Wisconsin player of the year and backed out of playing for Bo Ryan so he could suit up for Buzz Williams. Jimmy Butler will be the Eagles’ go-to guy, which means Blue can focus on doing what he does best – attacking the basket and playing multiple guard spots. You’ll spot Blue by the ink on his arms.

Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
Think Wayne Ellington, only taller. The 6-6 guard could start for the Heels, who need someone to stretch defenses with a reliable outside shot. The rest of his game needs work, which will be the only thing keeping him in school past his freshman season.

Joe Jackson, Memphis
Forget one or two seasons. Tigers fans are hoping the Memphis native sticks around four years. The 5-11 point guard is lightning quick, savvy and bound to make life easier for his young, talented teammates. Or he’ll just do it himself. There’s a little bit of Allen Iverson in Jackson.

Tobias Harris, Tennessee
This may be a stretch, but I can hope, right? The 6-8 forward is adept in the pain or on the perimeter and rarely slacks off. That’s perfect for Bruce Pearl’s Vols, who thrive with versatile, athletic players. Harris will overmatch nearly every defender he faces, which means he’s not long for the college game. But two seasons? That’s possible.

Ray McCallum, Detroit and Trey Ziegler, Central Michigan
What are a five-star prospect and a four-star prospect doing playing at mid-majors schools? They’re playing for their dads. If that’s not worth cheering, I don’t know what is. McCallum’s heady point guard, while Ziegler’s a shooting guard who could lead the MAC in scoring.

Ian Miller, Florida State
The latest in a series of top-flight talent in Tallahassee, Miller should vie for ACC freshman of the year honors. The 6-3 guard is a solid finisher and aggressive getting to the rim, a godsend for a ‘Noles team that struggles getting the ball in the basket.

Tyler Lamb, UCLA
The 6-4 Lamb is just what the Bruins were missing last season – an athletic guard who can hit from outside or get to the rim. He’ll play, too. UCLA coach Ben Howland’s been impressed by Lamb’s defensive effort.

Adreian Payne, Michigan State
A 6-10 center who thrives on defense, can block shots and rebound? Sounds like a Tom Izzo player to me. Payne figures to spell Spartans post players Delvon Roe and Derrick Nix this season, then step into a more prominent role the next few seasons as his offense develops.  

Phil Pressey, Missouri
The Tigers’ system is built around guards who can push the pace and pressure defenders. That’s perfect for Pressey, a 5-10 blur who also isn’t afraid of challenging taller foes at the rim. He and his brother, Matt, could be Missouri’s backcourt for years to come.

Jereme Richmond and Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Richmond, a 6-7 wing, and Leonard, a 6-10 center, are the gems of Illinois’ 2010 class and could step into prominent roles once Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale graduate this spring. If the freshmen pair can match the consistency and productivity of Davis and Tisdale, the Illini are set.

Terrence Ross, Washington
The early favorite for Pac-10 freshman of the year. The 6-5 guard should thrive thanks to Huskies point guard Isaiah Thomas, who excels at driving the lane and dishing to open teammates around the arc. That’s perfect for Ross, whose best asset is his sweet stroke.

J.T. Terrell, Wake Forest
Here’s all you need to know about the 6-4 guard, courtesy of Dave Telep: “Somebody told me he was shooting it from one step past half court off a ball screen,” Wake assistant Jeff Battle said. “Who would shoot that? They said he makes them, too. I don’t know if coach will let him shoot 50-footers, but he can do it.”

Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Someone’s going to have to pick up the scoring slack with Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins gone. That falls to Kris Joseph and Waiters, a tremendous talent who can step into Rautins’ role as the perimeter threat. Added bonus: Unlike Rautins, Waiters can get to the rim.

Patric Young, Florida
The solution to the Gators’ frontcourt issues. The 6-8 Young grabs rebounds, blocks shots and intimates foes with his imposing build. He’s not polished offensively, but that’s the main reason he’ll be in Gainesville more than one year. Guys with his athleticism are usually NBA bound ASAP.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.