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Weber State basketball: Damian Lillard headed for the NBA
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden • It will be a long time before Weber State basketball fans once again witness the likes of Damian Lillard.

On the same court where the junior guard from Oakland, Calif., displayed the vast talents that made him the only All-American ever to play in the Big Sky Conference, Lillard on Tuesday announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft.

"I'd like to thank my teammates who have supported me from day one," Lillard said, showing the same temperament that characterized his play — not too high and not too low.

"I'm glad I spent my last four years here," he said. "After the season, I took time to think about everything … after talking with coach [Randy] Rahe and my family, I decided to declare myself eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft."

With that, Lillard, who set single-season school records for points (784) and scoring average (24.5), called it a career at Weber State.

With Rahe by his side, and in front of well-wishers who hoped he would stay one more season, Lillard's announcement was greeted with applause.

"I thought he was coming back," Rahe said to laughs. "This is an exciting day, not only for Damian, but for the program and the university.

"What I'm most proud of Damian, is how he is off the court. He is a better person and a teammate than he is a player. … I appreciated him trusting us."

Lillard is widely expected to be a first-round NBA Draft pick in June.

Lillard's accomplishments were many during his three-plus years in a Wildcat uniform — he broke a foot nine games into the 2011 season and earned a medical redshirt.

He was a three-time all-conference first-team selection and a two-time BSC MVP. His 1,934 points are second all time in school history.

More important, in Lillard's three full seasons, the Wildcats were 66-28, 42-5 in conference play.

Typically, the play that Lillard remembers most as a Wildcat involved a teammate. In 2011, Scott Bamforth's halfcourt 3-point shot at the buzzer defeated Northern Colorado. In the pile of teammates afterward, limping on his broken foot, was Lillard.

"He's more than ready for this opportunity," Rahe said.

martyr@sltrib.com

About Damian Lillard

• Lillard is the first player from the Big Sky Conference to be named to the AP All-American Team.

• The Weber State guard, who was second in scoring nationally in 2012, is a projected mid-first round NBA Draft choice.

• Lillard ranks second all-time at Weber State with 1,934 points.

College basketball • The Wildcats guard makes it official with Tuesday announcement.
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