Scouting & Video: Jackson Lamb vs. Saline


I made the short trip down Ann Arbor-Saline road to Saline High School tonight to watch one of the area’s best young players — Jackson Lamb, a 6-foot-7 2013 recruit out of Bedford High School. Bedford won the game and Lamb had 26 points, here are some highlights:

You can find a full scouting report and video interview of Lamb discussing his recruitment after the jump.

Strengths: Lamb’s game is very developed for a 2013 prospect. He was strong under the basket with the ball. Good but not great on the offensive glass and very good on the defensive glass. He showed off some versatility, attacking the rim from the perimeter and also hitting a long jumper. But it was clear his home was in the lane. He looked very comfortable, executing some nice spin moves and great touch around the basket. He is very quick for his size and his drop-step looked polished. His length is great and he does a good job of using it to his advantage and keeping the ball high in the post.

Needs to improve: Lamb wasn’t great from the free throw line which is a problem given how often he’s fouled in the post. I think he could be better rebounding the ball on the offensive end. He did grab a few in this game but it seemed like he could dominate. He didn’t have a hook shot from what I can tell but there’s plenty of time to refine his post game. He also wasn’t playing against very strong competition.

Final thoughts: I was very impressed with nearly everything I saw from Jackson Lamb tonight. He is very athletic, quick and coordinated. He’ll only get better, but he’s really good right now. His touch in the post is great and his versatility was surprising — he even showed off some handle at times. His motor was great as well. This is clearly a kid with a ton of potential and it’s easy to see why so many Big Ten schools are after him early.

  • Sam

    While Joe was watching Jackson Lamb at Saline last night me and a few of my friends made the trip to Detroit to watch the Detroit Pershing Doughboys and 2012 prospect Sherron Dorsey-Walker take on the Detroit Southeastern Jungaleers and Brandan Kearney (MSU) and Percy Gibson (Dayton) at Southeastern High. I paid most of my attention to SDW, as he was the only high-major prospect yet to commit in the game and he is receiving a lot of interest from Michigan.

    First off, SDW is a legit 6-4 with very long arms but still awfully skinny. To start the game, he was matched up on Kearney, but picked up a couple quick fouls and defended Kearney only sparingly after that. His final stat line was 13 points on about 2-14 shooting from the field (0-4 3pt., 9-10 FT), five rebounds, four assists, and six turnovers. While he did have an admittedly poor shooting night, take these numbers with a grain of salt. This was a classic PSL matchup, and I imagine it was no different than most of them in that it was extremely physical with absolutely stifling defense. The refs were very lenient and it really took a lot to draw a foul, but both teams were still easily in the bonus fairly early on in both halves, if that gives you a sense of how physical this game was. I also feel that because SDW is still so skinny, the physical nature of the game really affects his statline negatively.

    Strengths: SDW is clearly a great ballhandler, using a variety of nice dribbling moves to get past hounding defenders constantly, as he was Pershing’s primary ballhandler. He is also an absolutely terrific passer, doing a good job of finding an open man while being doubled. While he only had four assists, a couple easy looks weren’t finished off by his teammates. A couple of the turnovers could also be attributed to some poor handling of his passes and a couple more simply because he would be hacked and no foul would be called. Southeastern was clearly keying in on Dorsey-Walker the whole game and did a good job of double teaming him every time he drove to the paint. SDW also does a great job driving through traffic and getting to the bucket, but he has a tendency to miss some wild shots around the hoop instead of passing the ball out to an open man. He knows how to draw contact, but, once again the refs just weren’t calling much. SDW also has a very smooth looking jump shot, but as I said before, he just wasn’t hitting them last night. His long arms also allow him to play pretty solid defense and he did a good job staying with his man. He also did very well from the charity stripe.

    Weaknesses: SDW, like most high school super stars, needs to work on shot selection. While the game was never a runaway, SE seemed to have a comfortable 8-10 point cushion throughout, and Pershing could never seem to get a few straight buckets to get right back in the game. In the fourth quarter, SDW started to try to take over the game by himself by jacking up some questionable long shots and not hitting any of them. He was also fairly weak on the glass, easily getting pushed out of the lane by the stronger and more physical players on the court. A couple times SDW also simply lost the ball off his foot or got it stripped right out of his hands. Unlike Kearney, SDW was never able to take the game over by going on a little run of his own and failed to get Pershing back in the game.

    Final Thoughts: If Dorsey-Walker had been hitting his shots last night, it could have been a completely different game. He clearly has a good stroke, he was simply unable to get it to go down in the rowdy environment. He does a great job getting to the rack and drawing contact and is a wonderful passer, but has a ways to go on his strength and shot selection. He still has a year and a half of high school ball and a summer of AAU to work on his game. I fully expect him to be a contributor on the high major level after a couple years of work with a good staff of coaches and strength and conditioning workouts.

    Quickly: Brandan Kearney was clearly the better player tonight. I didn’t keep incredibly close tabs on him but he finished with 18-20 points and was really making some nice shots in the flow of the game. He probably had about a half inch on SDW, but was much more physically mature and able to grind a little harder with his strength. I’m almost certain he hit over half his shots, and the vast majority of the time they were from the outside. He only got to the line a couple times, however, and only drove the ball on rare occasions, converting maybe one or two layups.

    Percy Gibson is simply a big body. He is listed at 6’8 and is probably around 260-270 pounds. He showed a fairly nice array of quick post moves and converted a few times around the basket, but despite being by far the biggest man out there, he didn’t have a very significant impact. He probably finished with around 10 points or so and was maybe around 40-50% from the field. He didn’t show any sign of an outside game, with all his touches coming deep in the paint and struggled a little bit from the FT stripe with a couple Dayton coaches watching from the stands. He also just missed throwing down an alley oop from BK on a fast break that would have sent the building in a frenzy on a crazy play in which Pershing got a fastbreak layup blocked, the ball was sent up to Kearney on the break, Gibson failed to convert, and then SDW had a three-pointer that would have closed the gap to 4 just rim in-and-out.

  • Dirtgrain

    The highlights illustrate your observations on Lamb well. I don’t think I saw him dunk (I was eating a “Skinny” Cow ice cream sandwich, so . . .), and I wonder if he just doesn’t dunk much, doesn’t have the explosive leaping ability, or doesn’t have enough strength at his age yet. I did cringe at some of the junk he threw up–those close-to-the-basket, off balance and leaning, throw-up-the-ball lay-up attempts. He got to the line on those, though.

    His footwork was impressive, and he does the up-and-under move well. Every coach teaches it, but few players do it well, so that is impressive for Lamb.

  • Tweeter

    Honestly I was not that impressed with Lamb. He certainly has some skill for a 6’7 kid, but a lot of that video just looks like a bigger kid throwing his body into smaller kids. He had a couple of nice finishes but I am not sure much of what he did in that video translates to the next level that well. Honestly, I did not think he looked very athletic either. Obviously this is only one game and maybe the guys on Saline were all 6’8 beasts but I want to see a lot more before I would want Michigan to go after this guy.

    The plus side is that he is only a sophomore so still room to grow and improve. Currently, I do not see where he would fit in at the next level. He didnt look good enough shooting or in the ballhandling department to play guard, he didnt look athletic enough or quick enough to play wing and he isnt big enough or athletic enough to play down low. Maybe I am just in a negative mood since it has been a long day; hopefully we get to see another highlight package to better judge.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      I think you might be a little harsh. Big guys are notorious for developing late and Lamb already has some nice skills at his size. He has a lot of the things that you look for in young big men: he’s long, athletic, active, and moves very well for a big guy. If he grows a couple more inches over the next three years he has the look of a quality HM big man.

      • Tweeter

        I figured I was probably being too harsh. He has a lot of time and if he grows more then fine. He is skilled enough for a big man, but I wouldnt say, based on that one video, that he jumped off the screen at me. Again, hopefully I will get to see more video to more accurately judge him and hopefully he continues to develope.

      • Sam

        I think you mean they develop early…and I have to agree with Tweeter here, Lamb just was not that impressive in the game video, but I am going to watch him in a couple weeks and we’ll see how he looks in person.

        • Dylan Burkhardt

          Ahhh, develop late. Sorry for the typo.

        • Jeff

          Unfortunately Tweeter and Sam I’m not sure you watch a whole lot of High School basketball if your impression isn’t at least positive (I don’t care if you loved his game). I only needed to watch a few mins of this video to be impressed by this sophomore… 15-16 years old?? A 6’7″ kid who can dribble… and make a move while dribbling… and dribble in traffic… is impressive enough to know that this kid is heading in the right direction. Before you start hammering on a kid like this you should go check out more sophomores at 6’5″ + and tell me what you see. I’ve spent a lot of time in the summer camp circuit and I’d be more than happy with this kids skills at this time.

          • Sam

            And Jeff, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a kid off one game either way. I just said I didn’t think this particular video looked that impressive, he didn’t ever step out and shoot (which probably would be required before Beilein offers) and he just seemed taller and more athletic than everyone on the opposing team, which will not be the case in college. Now I’m not bashing him by saying this. I told you I am going to take a look at him myself in a couple weeks and I’ll reserve my judgment til then.

        • Sam

          Hahaha, I was correcting you and I still got it wrong…unbelievable.

  • Brian W
  • Beast1530

    Jackson Lamb is a good HS player but I’m not sure if he projects well in college level as a 3 and 4 man. Showed good skills and footwork, but I’m not real crazy about his athleticism. He may have trouble getting the shots off that he wanted and isn’t a particularly explosive player.

  • CJD

    As mentioned above it is hard to accurately evaluate big men this far in advance. He is young but aggressive going to the hoop which I really like; enough of 6-8 and taller guys bombing 3’s. On the other hand a guy with his height and length should be able to finish more often; especially as close to the rim he was getting.

    All said he is a prospect at this point and worthy of watching. He could certainly grow a little more and get a lot stronger.

    Keep in mind that coach has done a pretty good job of signing younger players with a lot of upside. I am just hoping he can eventually land more studs that need less grooming.

  • Marco

    Man, you guys are tough. He is a Sophmore in HS! I have seen him play and will say this. He is extremely good for a HS Sophmore, who is almost 6’8″ tall. He is not a wing and will never be one. He is a post player, playing against admittedly half rate competition. The video showed him against a below average HS basketball team.

    The key will be if he grows more and can develop into a Big Ten power forward or Center. Obviously, if he has physically piqued and this is what he will be as a HS Sr., Big Ten probably won’t be where he lands. This is why projecting 15yr old kids is a dicey proposition. So much has to occur in terms of growth and development for kids at that age for them to reach lofty heights. Best of luck Jackson.