UCLA's Tyler Lamb takes on the hardwood
Tyler Lamb has met the hardwood harder and more often than any other UCLA Bruin. Although no official stat has been taken, Lamb is more prone to a hard collision with the floor than any of his teammates.
The majority of those collisions have come when Lamb is on the offensive side of the ball. Because of his aggressive nature, he attacks the basket with ferocity.
He’ll drive hard on a layup attempt and take a spill bouncing off of opposing big men like a kid on a moon bounce. The next time it might be a runner on the baseline and again Lamb is left to pick himself up off of the floor.
He can't help it, it's just in his nature.
“You get knocked down, you get right back up,” Lamb said. “I haven’t really fallen this much (in the past). Now (I’m) playing against huge big men on the other teams but just take it and go.”
“He’s been getting beat up a lot,” David Wear said. “He’s been in the training room a ton with the ice bags and stuff like that, but that’s just the type of player he is. He just wants to win. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win whether it’s diving on the floor, guarding the best player, (or) attacking the hoop.”
It’s the pounding that slowed Lamb earlier this season. Recently, as the pain has subsided, he has been a lot more nimble and spry after having fluid drained from his hip.
He developed a case of bursitis, coincidentally enough, for falling on it too much causing him to play in a great deal of pain earlier in the season.
Clearly, it hasn't changed his approach.
"I like to be aggressive on offense and go to the hole and bump into the big men, but it’s no concern,” said Lamb.
Howland looks at Lamb’s spills as “just part of the game.”
Wear, who was a high school teammate of Lamb’s at Mater Dei, has a different take. He’s seen this before.
“I’ve been seeing that for a while now,” Wear said. “He was definitely a physical player (in high school) and definitely would just play just to get to the basket (and) wouldn’t really care about his body. It’s good when you’re willing to sacrifice like that for the team.”
Since undergoing the procedure, Lamb has been a lot more productive for the Bruins. He’s twice set career highs in points. The first time was a 17-point effort against UC Irvine. He broke that mark with a 26-point performance in a loss at Cal.
Over the last eight games, since the procedure, he’s averaging 11.8 points, which is up from the 7.8 points he averaged in the Bruins first eight games of the season.
Fourteen of his 20 steals on the season have come in the Bruins last eight contests. He gives a huge assist to his health.
“I feel a lot better. I feel like I’m able to play at 100 percent. We get a little bangs and bruises but that’s all part of the game,” Lamb said.
Wear added: “Now that he’s healthy you can definitely see him moving a lot better and a lot more happy about being out there. He’s not so much in pain. He’s moving quicker and he’s stronger.”
And, so far, he’s continuing to win his battles with the hardwood.