By Peter Fernandez
Anthony Lamb is by far the finest competitor to ever lace up basketball shoes for UVM, and he is enjoying the most expansive post-collegiate success of any Vermont college cager. From last October, the 6’6” small forward has been living the dream as a valuable substitute with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. In 50 games the Rochester, New York native averaged 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 20.1 mpg. Isn’t it about time a Green Mountain basketballer has made it in the NBA?
Other UVM stars to attempt NBA bids include 6’9” Taylor Coppenrath, 2001-2005, who played professionally for ten notable seasons in Greece, Italy, and Spain, averaging double figures in points and rebounds before retiring in 2015. Marques Blakely, 2006- 2010 and TJ Sorrentine, 2001-2005, also experienced respectable paid-to-play careers, but not in the NBA. Certainly, Kevin Roberson, 6’7”, 1988-92, the Catamounts’ all-time leading rebounder and shot-blocker, would have had an excellent NBA shot had he and his sister not been killed by a drunk driver in 1993. Ranked 21st in D1 All-Time Blocks, Roberson’s 409 blocks were only three short of LSU’S Shaquille O’Neal’s collegiate total.
After the March 5 loss to the Lakers, and with Lamb’s free agent contract up, Golden State Coach Steve Kerr remarked, “I’d like Lamb on the Roster. He plays an important role for us because he connects a lot of lineups with his ability to space the floor and shoot the three. He just plays the way we’ve always played…He’s been really helpful for us this year and we’d love to get him…” In that 113-105 loss, Lamb hit a pair of three-point shots and grabbed six rebounds in what could have been his final game. He concluded his “two-way contract” with the NBA and its official minor league system, the G. League. What does the G stand for? Gatorade. Two-way contracts? NBA teams may have up to two players under Two-Way Contracts who may be active for up to 50 games with their NBA team.
Number 40 was sent down to Golden State’s G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, where he nearly tripled his scoring output in three games. But A. Lamb was resigned by the world champions only days later and returned to the Chase Center on March 17, where he scored 8 points and grabbed 8 boards in a 127-1119 win over Atlanta. In his last 11 regular season games, Lamb’s scoring average dropped slightly to 6 PPG, but his carom totals doubled to 6 RPG.
The ultra-competitive NBA is the world’s ultimate and most celebrated professional basketball league, and for such reasons and more, it is a distant and unrealistic child-hood chimera for 98% of our planet’s aspiring high school to collegiate hoopsters. Yet the Incredible Mr. Lamb has made the dream a corporeal reality, and at press time, he will be helping the current champions defend their title Saturday, April 15 in a first-round best of five against cross-California rival, the Sacramento Kings.
The burly 227 lb. small forward is forged not unlike a chiseled NFL linebacker, and with such sinewy symmetry, Lamb agilely maneuvers beneath the basket in battle amongst a thick forest of hard-to-cut-down sequoias and other Charles Oak Trees. His hard-barked trunk with a low center of gravity makes this cat extremely difficult for bigger and heavier NBA opponents to push around.
The Rochester, New York product is giving breathers to three certain future NBA Hall-of- Famers, Draymond Green, and the lethal Splash Brothers, Stef Curry, and Clay Thompson. His aggressive un-Lamb-like defense and ability to space the floor as a lethal 3-point threat adds depth to Coach Kerr’s killer line-up.
Turning NBA heads, the undrafted Lamb has flourished under Coach Kerr’s 3 pt. floor-spacing management. He has managed to outplay a number of this season’s first-round draft picks, including 6’9” teammate, Patrick Baldwin. In a January 7 loss to Orlando, Lamb tallied 26 pts, grabbed 8 boards, and dished 4 assists. Three days later he went for 17 in a 122-119 loss to Detroit, and equaled that point total in the next game helping the Warriors beat Atlanta, 143-141 in double OT.
Averaging 18 ppg, 9 boards, and 4 dimes with the Rio Grande Vipers, Lamb was named theG-League’s Most Improved Player for the 2021-22 season. The journeyman has also spent time with the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets. Overlooked by major DI colleges, Lamb’s ascendancy beyond UVM, where hockey, skiing, and now soccer (ranked 4th nationally last season) seem to outrank basketball, his “sudden” success was probably of no surprise to the man-in-the-mirror.
For panting Vermont-based hoop hounds, who love to wag a feel-good underdog tale, Lamb’s beneath-the-radar success allows us woodchucks and other furry woodland creatures to live vicariously through his athletic odyssey. Who knows, maybe he’ll be a Boston Celtic next season. With his skills and insider intelligence of the Warriors’ game plans, Anthony Lamb could help us avenge last season’s title loss to Golden State.
Lamb has been accused of a 2019 rape in a new lawsuit against UVM, but he is not a defendant in the case. NBA Player Anthony Lamb Accused of Rape in Lawsuit Against Vermont – Rolling Stone
The author is a children’s book author and Vermont resident.