WSU Magazine Fall 2012 : Page 32

Non-profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE Permit No. 151 PAID Department of University Communications 4025 University Circle Ogden, UT 84408-4025 SLC, UT ‘Blazing’ into the NBA Following a spectacular NBA Summer League dunk in Las Vegas that made ESPN’s SportsCenter highlights, former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard was confronted by a group of young fans as he walked into a gym the next day. “First it was about 10 kids saying ‘that’s Damian Lillard,’ and I was signing stuff and taking pictures,” Lillard says. “Then I looked up and it was 30 people – even adults – and it was like the line just kept growing. It was crazy.” That was the moment Lillard first realized his life had changed. It’s been a whirlwind year for Lillard who went from rehabbing a serious foot injury, to setting the Wildcats’ single-season scoring record, to realizing a lifelong goal of playing in the NBA. Lillard led the nation in scoring for much of his final college season, averaging 24.5 points a game. Ogden City declared June 28 as Damian Lillard Day and hosted a draft party. An enthusiastic crowd gathered downtown to hear the Portland Trail Blazers choose Lillard with the sixth pick in the 2012 draft. In honor of his hometown of Oakland, Calif., his college days in Ogden, and his new home state of Oregon, Lillard chose a zero for his Portland Trail Blazers jersey. And it appears his legendary work ethic remains intact. Named co-MVP of the 2012 NBA Summer League, the 6-foot-3 Lillard has emerged as the Blazers’ starting point guard. “I always told myself that if I don’t make the NBA, it’s not going to be because I didn’t work hard enough,” Lillard says. “Now I think I’m going to be an all-star. If somebody tells me I’m not, that’s fine. My mind is telling me otherwise. We’ll see what happens.” Click here to watch a video of Damian Lillard talking about getting his start at Weber State and preparing for an NBA career. Photo courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers VIDEO

‘Blazing’ into the NBA

Following a spectacular NBA Summer League dunk in Las Vegas that made ESPN’s SportsCenter highlights, former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard was confronted by a group of young fans as he walked into a gym the next day. “First it was about 10 kids saying ‘that’s Damian Lillard,’ and I was signing stuff and taking pictures,” Lillard says. “Then I looked up and it was 30 people – even adults – and it was like the line just kept growing. It was crazy.” <br /> <br /> That was the moment Lillard first realized his life had changed. <br /> <br /> It’s been a whirlwind year for Lillard who went from rehabbing a serious foot injury, to setting the Wildcats’ single-season scoring record, to realizing a lifelong goal of playing in the NBA. Lillard led the nation in scoring for much of his final college season, averaging 24.5 points a game. Ogden City declared June 28 as Damian Lillard Day and hosted a draft party. An enthusiastic crowd gathered downtown to hear the Portland Trail Blazers choose Lillard with the sixth pick in the 2012 draft.<br /> <br /> In honor of his hometown of Oakland, Calif., his college days in Ogden, and his new home state of Oregon, Lillard chose a zero for his Portland Trail Blazers jersey. And it appears his legendary work ethic remains intact. Named co-MVP of the 2012 NBA Summer League, the 6-foot-3 Lillard has emerged as the Blazers’ starting point guard. “I always told myself that if I don’t make the NBA, it’s not going to be because I didn’t work hard enough,” Lillard says. “Now I think I’m going to be an all-star. If somebody tells me I’m not, that’s fine. My mind is telling me otherwise. We’ll see what happens.”

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