Doron Lamb was already billed as the hometown favorite Friday night. The Queens resident was the only New York City native on either team’s roster in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Game at Harlem’s Rucker Park.
But when the inclement weather would not allow for an outdoor venue, organizers needed a new location. They chose Gauchos Gym in the Bronx – the place Lamb has played basketball since third grade.
“My eyes opened up,” the rising senior at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy said when he found out where the game would be played. “I knew I was gonna be home and the fans were gonna be on my side.”
Lamb also knew he had to perform for those fans. After getting the loudest ovation during introductions, the blue-chip talent poured in 23 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists to lead the Skip to My Lou team to a 133-120 win against The Goat team. He and Long Island native Tobias Harris shared most valuable player honors.
With Gauchos director Mo Hicks and program alums like Kemba Walker (UConn) and Chris Fouch (Drexel) watching, not to mention many friends and family members, Lamb put on a show worthy of his Class of 2010 national ranking by Rivals (21).
“There was a lot of pressure on me,” he said with a sheepish smile.
He wasn’t the only one smiling. Hicks was wearing an ear-to-ear grin at times also, reveling in a Gauchos player getting to play on his home court in an all-American game.
“I think it’s beautiful, it’s extraordinary,” the Rice High coach said. “When they asked to move the game here, I was like, wow, what a great opportunity for a guy like Doron, because he grew up in this gym.”
Lamb certainly didn’t disappoint. He scored in every way possible, including shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Lamb also made some highlight reel passes, especially a pair of alley-oop feeds.
“I had to do what I had to do out there,” he said. “My last [high-school] game in New York, I just wanted to go out there and play hard.”
Lamb left Bishop Loughlin after his sophomore season to expand his game at one of the top basketball institutions in the country. He averaged 22 points per game to lead the Lions to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional semifinals in 2007-08.
He’ll head back to Mouth of Wilson, Va., on Sept. 6 and has three college visits planned for the fall: Kansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma. Lamb said he is also considering Connecticut, Marquette and Arizona, noting that another former Gauchos star, Lamont (Momo) Jones, recently signed with the Wildcats. He said he has no favorite right now, though.
Lamb wasn’t really thinking about his recruitment Friday night. He was too busy taking countless pictures and fulfilling interview requests after an MVP performance – on his home court, no less.
Could it have gotten any better?
“[It’s] something I dreamed for,” Lamb said. “It’s a dream come true.”