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Aaron Falk and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm

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Interview — Blazers' Damian Lillard returns to roots, gives back to Weber State fans

Excerpts from an interview Friday with Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard at Pro Image Sports in Layton.

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Lillard on how the autograph signing came to be: I [was shopping] and I walked out of the store and I guess they didn't notice me. I just kept going. And then someone came, basically when I was shopping, and said, 'Sorry we didn't notice you.' And I was like, 'Naw, it's all right.' [Laughs] He said, 'Is there any way we can get you to sign some autographs?' Originally I said it'd be OK, but I had to talk it over with the agency I signed with. So we talked it over and they came up with a deal. I wanted to do it. But it's always a business. I'm happy I can come in and do it.

Do Weber State and the Ogden area feel like home: Yeah, it's a second home for me. I obviously grew up in Oakland, then here. I've been here for most of my adult life, since I've been a man. You know, it's just been fun. They've embraced me since I first got here, shown me so much support, even while I was at Weber — after I broke my foot and throughout the draft process. So I appreciate it; this is a way I can show my appreciation.

How has the initial transition been from college to the NBA: Especially in the draft process, there was so much — there were so many questions. I did everything I needed to do to answer those questions. It kind of went as close to perfect as it could have for me. Summer League just came down to me going out there and playing and just proving that, and I thought I pretty much did that — I went out there and proved it. Now, I've just got to show that it's going to translate to the regular season. So I'm just anxious to get that going.

Getting in touch with LaMarcus Aldridge: Yeah, I've spoke to him like another teammate. We have each other's phone numbers and we text and we talk. Right now, all we want to do is get in the playoffs. That's the been the main thing we've talked about, is trying to get into the playoffs, because everybody is counting us as a young team. It might take us one or two years. But we saying, 'Why not right now?' Look at Oklahoma City: People said the same thing about them. Maybe not the championship, but why not make the playoffs now? We on the same page as far as winning.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz



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