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Draft night drama

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: theday.com

Published June 28. 2012 10:00PM   Updated June 28. 2012 10:35PM

So it didn't exactly go as expected for former UConn standouts Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb.

But they still ended up being lottery picks, the 12th and 13th in the UConn basketball program history.

Detroit selected Drummond at No. 9 and Houston picked Lamb at No. 12.

They were thrilled to shake NBA commissioner David Stern's hand and start their professional careers.

Here's a rundown from draft night at the Prudential Center in Newark:

--- Drummond's mom, Christine, held his hand throughout the whole draft, telling him to be patient.

Drummond thought he'd go somewhere from No. 2 to No. 7. When Toronto passed on him at No. 8, he got even more nervous.

He worked out for Detroit earlier this week.

"Hearing my name being called is the greatest thing in the world," Drummond said.

-- Lamb struggled through his pre-draft workouts due to an ankle injury. He met with Houston Wednesday in New York, so he had a hint that the Rockets may take him.

"It's a really good program and a good coach, and they seem like they are really in order. It's a great honor," Lamb said.

-- Of the two former Huskies, Lamb has the best chance to make an immediate impact.

Earlier this week, UConn coach Jim Calhoun called Lamb the best shooter in the draft.

"I can stretch the floor," Lamb said. "I can add scoring, and also on the defensive end, rebound, get deflections and get on the break."

-- Drummond realizes he's going to need time to make an impact. He's willing to work hard to try to speed up his developmental process.

"I'm not going to take to force anything too fast," Drummond said. "Just do whatever Coach tells me to do. ... I'm going to work my hardest and give it my all every single day."

-- Drummond on playing for the Pistons: "I know we'll build a great team chemistry right away. It's a great organization and the fans are great up there. I just can't wait to be part of the team."

-- Lamb on his UConn experience: "Coach Calhoun was a tough coach to play for, but a great coach to play for. I was struggling, and Coach always believed in me. 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. ... My whole time at UConn was a huge learning experience and a time for me to get tougher."

-- Former UConn assistant Patrick Sellers, now an assistant at Hofstra, was in the crowd at the Prudential Center. He's a big NBA fan.

Detroit called him on Sunday night about Drummond. They wanted to know his opinion on the 18-year-old center.

Sellers believes Drummond will fit in well there.

"It's a good spot for him," Sellers said.

 

 

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