November 2, 2012
San Antonio – Gathered with his family at home as they watched the NBA Development League draft Friday night, former St. Mary’s point guard Lamb Autrey swore he heard his name called.
Waiting to know for certain, the watching party inside his house grew silent. Then they heard again, “Lamb Autrey, St. Mary’s” – and chaos ensued.
“My mom ran out the door,” said Autrey, laughing. “She actually ran out of the house screaming.”
Autrey, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Cibolo, Texas, was drafted with the seventh pick in the seventh round by the Houston Rockets’ affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
While St. Mary’s has put a number of players into the NBA – most notably longtime NBA veteran Robert Reid – Autrey becomes the program’s first player drafted into the D-League, which has garnered much attention in recent years for its ability to develop prospects into NBA players.
“Lamb’s ceiling is really high,” St. Mary’s men’s basketball head coach Jim Zeleznak said. “He only played point guard for us this past year. What his ceiling is, he certainly hasn’t gotten to that point yet.
“Everything for Lamb is ahead of him.”
Meaning he’s beginning to fulfill his dream to play professional basketball – a dream he first wrote down as a child in a journal that he still has to this day.
Autrey, a faith-based, hard-working graduate of Schertz Clemens High School, played two seasons for St. Mary’s from 2010-2012, starting as a wing his junior year before moving to the point as a senior. He averaged 11.1 points per game over his two seasons, totaling 456 points in 41 games (26 starts). He shot 50.6 percent from the floor and averaged 12.3 points his senior year in helping lead the Rattlers make a national appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
While Autrey’s time at St. Mary’s certainly opened eyes, he says it was his performance at a summer D-League camp in Houston that opened most scouts’ eyes. After being named one of the camp’s top prospects, Autrey and his agent, Larry Williams, liked his chances of getting drafted.
And here we are now.
“It’s such a blessing,” Autrey said. “I think I’m going to realize it all tomorrow when I wake up. That’s if I can get to sleep tonight.”
In a twist, it’s fitting his first shot at pro basketball comes with the Houston Rockets’ affiliate. It was Houston where Reid, also a Clemens graduate who once spoke to Autrey’s class, shined for so much of his career – an angle not lost on Autrey.
“In a way, it’s like I’m following in someone’s footsteps,” he said.
Footsteps that led Autrey’s mom straight out their front door.