Tyler Lamb led Mater Dei to the CIF Division 1AA championship in his second year at the school.

Mater Dei's Lamb is 2009-10 boys basketball player of the year


He is surprised by the comparison, but should not be.

"Miles Simon?" Lamb said. "Wow. He was such a great player ... NCAA Tournament MVP."

Lamb might be Mater Dei's best all-around player since Simon played for the Monarchs before going on to Arizona, where he helped the Wildcats win a national championship and he was named the NCAA tourney's most outstanding player in 1997.

Lamb led his team to a championship this year, as Mater Dei won the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA championship. Clearly the best player on the county's best team, Lamb is the Orange County boys basketball player of the year for the 2009-10 season.

Lamb, a 6-foot-5 senior guard, was consistently spectacular, and spectacularly consistent. He led the Monarchs with 18.5 points a game, was second in rebounding at 6.8 rebounds a game and tied for the team lead in assists at 3.6 a game. Lamb scored a team-high 22 points in Mater Dei's 68-65 victory over Etiwanda in the CIF-SS 1AA final at Honda Center, and scored a season-high 32 points Saturday when the Monarchs lost to Westchester of Los Angeles, 71-63, in the CIF Southern California Regionals Division 1 championship game at USC's Galen Center.

While his teammates made only 9 of 41 shots against Westchester, Lamb was 13 for 22 from the floor. He was 3 for 7 on 3-point shots, while his teammates were 2 for 22. Mater Dei was No. 1 in the state rankings, and Westchester was No. 2.

That was in many ways a typical game for Lamb, as he often was Mater Dei's best player against the Monarchs' better opponents. He scored a team-high 21 points in the Regionals semifinals against Taft of Woodland Hills, which was No. 2 in the state rankings.

Lamb led Mater Dei with 26 points in a triumph over Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in the Nike Extravaganza, scored 24 and 19 points in the Monarchs' two Trinity League victories over Orange Lutheran, and had team highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds in a nationally televised victory over De Matha of Maryland.

He finished his senior year with plenty of memories.

"What I'll always remember most is winning the CIF championship," Lamb said. "I'll also remember last year's team, my junior year, playing with the twins (David and Travis Wear, now at North Carolina) and Andy Brown (now at Stanford) and Gary Franklin. And I'll always remember the Westchester game."

Lamb will get more one more opportunity per season to play at Galen Center, site of that loss to Westchester. He signed with UCLA, in November, having committed to the Bruins at end of his sophomore year when Lamb was at Colony High of Ontario.

He transferred to Mater Dei between his sophomore and junior years.

"I wasn't doing too well academically at Colony," Lamb said. "At Mater Dei, the academic standards are high for the whole student body. Being around kids at Mater Dei, where so many kids go on to college, helped change my grades around."

Lamb carries a 3.0 grade-point average. He wants to major in communications at UCLA.

Lamb's father Terry was a standout player at Bishop Amat of La Puente. In the 1987-88 season, Amat beat Mater Dei twice in Angelus League games to win the league championship, the most recent time Mater Dei has not won a league title.

The son led Mater Dei to another league championship this year, plus a CIF championship, too. Miles Simon led Mater Dei to league and CIF championships. Maybe the Lamb-Simon comparisons will be favorable when Lamb gets to UCLA.

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