Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Born on March,9th 1959 in Minneapolis.
In 1975 while in high school adopts a hard decision when his parents move back to Minneapolis (work reasons), staying in Kentucky to live with his uncle and aunt.
At the beginning of the 1976 season Lamp writes a letter to his high school coach, Richard Schmidt, apologising for not working harder the previous  season and not been able to have won the championship. In his final year at Ballard high school (1976-77) Lamp would lead the team to win the state championship for the first time in the school’s history. March 1977 (17th -20th) Jeff Lamp showed why he would later be named “Mr.Kentucky Basketball” that same year.The first two games against Taylor Co. And Bath were very easy with the starting five dominating from the beginning  and not seing much playing time in the second half due to the big margin they had gained. The scores were 94-57 (Lamp,23) and 96-53 (Lamp,24) respectively. In the semifinal game Lamp scored 29 points on road to a victory 66-54 over Owensboro. Sometimes it is been said “Leave the best for last” and in this case that is exactly what happened.
Jeff Lamp played one of those games for the ages scoring 49 points on 16/21  field goals and a perfect 11/11 from the line, grabbed 10 rebounds and stole the ball three times to lead his team 68-59 over Louis Valley Hs. Champions for the first time!! His 43 points are still today the third highest scoring mark in the tournament’s Final.
Obviously the star and main man was Jeff Lamp but in that high school team there were three other players who later would be selected in the nba draft, they were Lee Raker, Jerry Eaves and Norman Miller. Not bad.
When Lamp arrived at Charlottesville on the fall of 1977 to join Virginia University, the Cavaliers had reached the NCAA tournament only once since the program was founded in 1905. The year before his arrival, 1976, they went out the tournament in the first round after a defeat against DePaul (60-69).
His coach, Terry Holland, have found a gold mine recluiting in the state of Kentucky starting with Lamp’s teammate Lee Raker and also coach Schmidt (Ballard) who would become Holland’s assistant. Even thought Lamp was considering Indiana and Kentucky as the main possible destinations the fact that Raker and now his old coach at high school were at Virginia made the decision easy for him.
On his game debut, Lamp would go and score 24 points establishing a record for a rookie in Virginia which stood unbroken until 2008.
As a freshman Lamp led the ACC in scoring (17.3) reaching the NIT Tournament and winning the first postseason game of the program’s history when defeating NorthEast Louisiana (79-78). In 1979 with the arrival of a giant Ralph Sampson the Cavaliers despite not performing well during the year would end up winning the NIT Tournament. Ralph Sampson was selected MVP but this was Jeff Lamp's team and everybody knew it.
The 1980-81 season would be a remarkable one. The team had a streak of 22 consecutive victories since the start of the season and only lost to NotreDame (Kelly Tripucka, the late Orlando Woolridge) with three games remaining before the postseason started. On February 28th 1981 Jeff Lamp would play his final game at the University Hall (Cavaliers home ground) and just minutes after the final whistle of the game against the Terrapines his number 3 jersey was officially retired. Despite this emotive ceremony Lamp still had more games to play, first the ACC playoffs losing in the semifinal with Maryland and then after four consecutive wins also the Final Four. They where amongst the four best teams in the country, what a remarkable turnaround for the University of Virginia. Unfortunately they were not able to beat a very strong North Carolina team (Al Wood 39 points and 10 boards, also Sam Perkins and James Worthy). Lamp had a good game with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists but it wasn’t enough. A couple of days later on what would be Lamp’s last ever game at college, Virginia defeated Louisiana St (78-74) on the consolation final. The following year the NCAA decided to erase this game off their calendar, it was painful enough to lose a semifinal game let alone had to play for a third and fourth position. With his 25 points scored on his final game, Lamp had tallied the enormous amount of 2317 points in his four years at Virginia making him the most prolific scorer of all times. His record would then by broken by Bryan Stith in 1996 (2516 points). He averaged 34 minutes, 18.2 points and 4.2 boards during his four year tenure at the University of Virginia being the top scorer on each and every one of the four years. 
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the number 15 of the first round of the 1981 draft. Lamp would spend three years at Portland (1981-84) with a very marginal role averaging 11 minutes and 4.6 points per game. Just only one start and without any opportunities because Calvin Natt, the same who was later to be an All-star with the Nuggets, was developing into a very good player at the small forward. As a curiosity, after retirement Natt would become a minister and also owned a funeral home.
After being cut by the Blazers he wouldn’t be back at the nba until October 1985 when he signed as a free agent with the Bucks. He played 44 games with them averaging 16 minutes and 6.3 points before being cut in February. He then managed to sign a few 10-day contracts with the San Antonio Spurs and finishing the 1986 season with them. 30 games with the Spurs with a bit more playing time (20 minutes a game) where he gave us a glimpse of what we had seen in Virginia scoring 11 points per game in those limited minutes.
Unfortunately without any convincing offers Lamp travelled to Europe to join the Italian club Hamby Rimini which just had the best season of their history and were looking to established themselves as a new alternative to the Italian championship. His American teammate was Olden Polynice, fresh out Virginia  who later would have a 15 year nba career (1058 games), and Lamp showed he hadn’t lost it. In 28 games, just in case you don’t know the European domestic leagues would not normally go over 30 games in their regular season, he had 27.3 ppg, 4.8 rebounds while shooting 57% FG and 85% FT. The only thing is that any of that translated into wins and after a horrible season (only 4 wins out of 28 games) the team was relegated to the A-2 division, the second tier of Italian basketball. Also in that team was Mike Silvester (Dayton) who had an enormous and very long career in Italy, principally in Milan.
Jeff Lamp would returned home to sign for the LA Lakers  and would be a part of their roster the next two seasons (1987-89) playing only 40 games with very limited time (4.5 minutes and 1.5 points). I guess he can say as a consolation he was part of an NBA Final when in 1989 he played the four games of the Pistons swept over the Lakers.
In summer of 1989 Lamp decided to emigrate and play overseas, he wanted to feel important as a basketball player. Italy was once again his destination. On this occasion he joined the Hitachi Venezia (A-2) averaging 24.3 ppg, 6.6 boards, 58% FG and 85% FT. Also Ratko Radovanovic (22 ppg) was part of the squad. He decided to continue playing for Venezia the 1990-91 season and despite his tremendous numbers (25.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 61% FG and 90% FT) the team doesn’t reach the goal of promoting to the A-1 (the top level of Italian basketball). The Spanish fans would like to know Ricky Brown (Mississippi St)(25 points and 11 rebounds a game) was the other American on the team.

And finally, he lands in Spain to play in the ACB League with Oximesa Granada where playing 36 games becomes one of the only few selected players to reach the 1.000 points scored in a season (1046 points). Maybe for someone who doesn’t know about the Spanish League this achievement might sound a bit easy, i mean, it is only 1000 points but to put in American point of view think like an Nba player scoring 3.000 in a season. Lamp’s efforts (29 ppg) don’t reflect on the team and they were sent to the playoffs to elude relegation. My hometown team, Caixa Ourense, led by an incredible performance of Sasha Radunovic beat them 3-0 and once again Lamp’s team was relegated to a lower division. To be fair though, Jeff Lamp had just got injured and didn’t play a single minute of this series.
December 21st 1991 he establishes a record nearly impossible to beat in the future when he scores an astonishing 29/30 in free throws on his way to 45 points. I think the nba record is on 28 (Wilt Chamberlain), unbelievable.
In his second and final season in Spain (1992-93) he played for TDK Manresa averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds. Rembember Granger Hall (Temple)? He was the other American on that team (17 ppg, 11 rpg). He then retired from basketball and returned to USA.
After returning to the States he was based in San Diego where he started to work for an non profitable organisation called "San Diego High Five" which helped the youth.
He has since then participated in more than 200 basketball clinics, conferences and basketball events.
Later he would joined the NBPA helping players after retirement and pointed them in the right direction, apparently when he stopped playing he had a rough time because he felt like there was noting else after basketball, he didn't know what to do with himself. He has used this traumatic experience to start his own business and create a company specialized in this sort of thing.
A few years ago with the Nba lockout he was very involved due to his affiliation with the NBPA and we could see him in the media once again.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Jeff Lamp and that remarkable year at Virginia and the 1981 Final Four game. My daughter is there now, and I am hoping she sees them also go the Final Four. I hope Jeff is happy and fulfilled in his non basketball playing life!