First and foremost Henson, Lamb are winners
Success has followed Bucks draft choices
A big part of a basketball coach's job is to detect a player's habits.
Once the coach finds them, he and his staff typically undertake the challenge of breaking them.
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles was quick to take note of a habit shared by John Henson and Doron Lamb, but Skiles hopes it is one that never gets broken.
"When you have guys who have a habit of winning, it tends to have an effect on your team, as opposed to a habit of losing. These guys are accustomed to going out on a nightly basis and playing on a big stage and winning big games. That's always appealing."
Henson, whom the Bucks selected with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2012 National Basketball Association Draft on Thursday, played three seasons at the University of North Carolina. During that span, the Tar Heels went 61-14 (an .833 winning percentage), won two consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championships and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament following the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
Lamb, chosen by Milwaukee with the 42nd selection in the draft, played two years for the University of Kentucky, where he helped the Wildcats go 67-11 (.859), reach the past two Final Fours and run the table in the Southeastern Conference at 16-0 on their way to the 2012 national championship.
To put the winning habits Henson and Lamb developed in perspective, the Miami Heat, who won the NBA championship June 22, finished the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 62-27, which shakes out to a winning percentage of .696.
When Henson and Lamb were introduced to the Milwaukee media two days after the draft, both expressed their intentions to do whatever they possibly can to help the team win.
Few players have made their entrance into the NBA without such good intentions, but these two draftees' resumes reflect that they weren't simply blowing smoke at their first pro press conference.
Though Henson won't turn 22 years old until Dec. 28, he has already carved out an accomplished career by backing up what he has to say.
At the age of 8, Henson proclaimed that his goal was to play for the University of North Carolina, and he realized it.
Along the way, Henson learned all about transition, having to move from New Jersey to Tennessee to Michigan, to Texas and then finally to Florida with his family as his father, Matt, changed job locations.
Henson played his first three seasons of prep basketball at Round Rock (Texas) High School. He grew from 6 feet, 4 inches to 6-10 from the start of his sophomore season to the completion of his junior campaign, then relocated with his family to Tampa (Fla.), where he averaged 17.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 6.1 blocks per game in 2008-09 for Sickles High School.
He blocked 10 or more shots five times that season in leading Sickles to a 10-0 league record and a 24-5 overall mark and was named first-team all-state and Tampa Bay Coaches Association Player of the Year. He competed in the 2009 McDonald's All-American Game in Coral Gables, Fla., hitting seven of 10 shots from the field, scoring 14 points and blocking two shots in just 16 minutes.
Henson also participated in the Nike Hoop Summit and became a first-team Parade Magazine All-American before fulfilling his goal and becoming a North Carolina Tar Heel.
Henson, who carried just 185 pounds on his 6-11 frame when he arrived in Chapel Hill, averaged just 15.8 minutes per game as a freshman, but his body and his game grew tremendously over the next two seasons, during which he nearly doubled his frosh playing time.
He averaged 11.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and led the ACC with 3.2 blocks per game as a sophomore and achieved nine consecutive double-doubles and 18 for the season. UNC reached the NCAA Tournament's East Regional final before falling to – coincidentally enough – a Kentucky team that included Doron Lamb.
In Henson's third and final season at UNC, he averaged 13.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocks and was named Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-ACC for the second consecutive year. He led the conference in rebounds and blocks and became the Tar Heels' all-time leading shot blocker with 2.56 per game for his career, which left him 12th in ACC history.
UNC once again made it to the NCAA's Elite Eight before falling to Kansas, the eventual national runner-up, and wound up 32-6.
Few players in the United States contributed to victories with the frequency that Henson did over his final two seasons of college basketball.
One of those who did was Doron Lamb, who joined Henson at the aforementioned introductory press conference of Milwaukee Bucks draft choices Saturday.
Lamb, 20, was born in Queens, N.Y. and developed into a top collegiate prospect during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn. Then he followed the lead of Brandon Jennings, his new Bucks teammate, and transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, where his national prominence soared.
Lamb, as a junior, helped Oak Hill go 40-1 to earn the country's top prep ranking in 2008-09, then averaged 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists his senior season as the Warriors went 29-4. He achieved McDonald's All-America and Jordan Brand Classic All-America honors, scoring 12 points to help the West win the McDonald's All-American Game 107-104 and totaling 11 points to help the West win the Jordan Brand Classic All-American Game 129-125.
Lamb was rated as the third best shooting guard and No. 21 overall prospect of 2010 by Rivals.com and the No. 29 overall prospect by ESPNU.
During Lamb's freshman season at Kentucky, he scored 20 points in his collegiate debut against East Tennessee State and went on to make 14 starts and average 12.3 points in 28.1 minutes per game.
The individual highlight of Lamb's frosh campaign came when he set a then-UK freshman
record with 32 points, hitting 11-of-12 shots from the field and 7-of-8 from behind the arc against Winthrop. He also scored 24 points in a road game against Henson at North Carolina and sank three treys in five tries and scored 13 points in Kentucky's 56-55 national semifinal loss to eventual champion Connecticut.
As a sophomore, the 6-4, 2010 guard ranked second on Kentucky's national championship squad in scoring at 13.7 points per outing in 31.2 minutes a game. He shot .466 percent from 3-point range and .826 from the free-throw line.
Lamb stepped up his numbers to 16.5 ppg and .556 percent from long distance during the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament run and scored a team-high 22 points in Kentucky's 76-69 triumph over Kansas. He was named to the East Region and Final Four all-tournament teams.
Lamb left Lexington with the highest 3-point shooting percentage in the storied history of the Kentucky program, .475, and finished his UK career with 1,018 points in two seasons.
The basketball careers of John Henson and Doron Lamb have taken them all over the United States, but they have consistently arrived at a common destination: the win column.
Now that their careers have reached an intersection in Milwaukee, Bucks fans ought to be excited at the prospect of them carrying on business as usual as they begin their professional lives together.