When he stepped foot on campus, baby-faced big man Eddie Lampkin Jr. checked in at just over 300 pounds. The Morton Ranch product from Katy, Texas overwhelmed high school opponents with his size, riding that to offers from Baylor, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and others, as well as TCU.
Like every other freshman, Lampkin’s first year on campus was heavily impacted by COVID-19, and he struggled physically because of it. In fact, Lampkin was required to quarantine for 28 consecutive days before the season began, setting him back even further.
“He was heavy, obviously, last year.” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said after TCU’s 77-61 win over McNeese on Thursday night. “He literally put on 15 pounds in quarantine...It was hard. How do you tell a guy to work on it when he can’t work on it?”
While COVID restrictions in place, Lampkin couldn’t get into the gym consistently like he or the coaches wanted, but once the season was over and he was more free to get in shape, that’s exactly what Eddie did.
“Right after the end of the season, I was just in the gym, working out with my strength coach Drew every day, and then I changed my diet. Now playing is easier and I feel better too.”
Lampkin’s progress has been well documented, with TCU even tweeting out a short video on his transformation.
“He made a conscious effort, and, obviously, we have a strength and conditioning program which was huge for him.” said Dixon.
Dixon isn’t the only one who’s noticed how hard Eddie has worked, though. His roommate and teammate Mike Miles has been by Lampkin’s side through it all.
“It’s been crazy to see how much his body has changed,” Miles noted, “We both came in here overweight, but he lost a lot of weight. He looks good, he moves down the floor quicker.”
Moving down the floor quicker is an important aspect of Eddie’s transformation too, as he’s expected to see a significant bump in playing time this season after the departure of Kevin Samuel.
Lampkin started TCU’s first game of the season against McNeese, totaling eight points and six rebounds in 13 minutes of playing time. TCU’s depth in the post feels more significant than it has in recent years, with Lampkin playing as part of a three-man rotation.
“Like I said, between him, and Xavier [Cork], and Suli [Doumbia], we got pretty good production out of that spot,” Dixon noted after Thursday’s win. “We think it’s a strength of ours, the numbers, and he’s played really good.”
Lampkin is taking the COVID exemption offered to every student athlete which reclassifies him as a freshman again in 2021, meaning that last year was a free year for the Houston native. While it may not count against his eligibility, 2020 was still a year spent endearing himself to the TCU faithful.
Lampkin consistently heard his name chanted by the TCU student section on Thursday night, and he responded with high energy, solid play, and even some dance moves.
It’s clear that Eddie is TCU’s hype man, and that’s not changing now that he’s seeing time on the court.
“It’s a big change, I ain’t going to lie, I was nervous at the beginning then it was just basketball when it started,” Lampkin said after Thursday’s game.
“Hyping them up, I like it. I feel like that’s still my job. That’s all I did last year, I didn’t really play, this year I’m on the court and I hype them up even when I’m on the sideline still, or when I’m playing.”
Eddie’s next opportunity to step into his new role comes Monday night, when the Frogs host Southern Mississippi at 7:00pm at Schollmaier Arena.