Damian Lillard Opens Up on Sacrifices He Made During NCAA Tenure with Weber State Wildcats

Published 03/17/2021, 4:00 PM EDT


The Weber State Wildcats are one of the lesser popular teams in the NCAA’s Division 1. Only 4 players in their history have been drafted into the NBA. The most popular one is the 6th pick from the 2012 Draft, Damian Lillard. He was the first Wildcat to be drafted since Bob Davis in 1972.

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The Portland Trail Blazers star is one of the most hard-working players in the league. But he has had this mindset right from his college days.

Ball Street Journal recently released a video of Lillard back from his Weber State days. The year is 2011, and a 20-year-old Lillard is talking to the camera in the video.

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He says, “It’s Friday night man. There are a lot of parties and everything going on, but I’m over here walking to the gym. Gonna get some shots up and go do some ball handling.

“I’ve been getting in the gym a lot lately, putting some work in. It’s basically a typical Friday night for me. Just wanted to let everybody know, for the record, that I put this work in. I’m about putting in work and that’s how I get results.”

Damian Lillard: Baller right from his Weber State days

Playing in the Big Sky conference doesn’t get a player a lot of limelight. Even some of the best players from their conference have failed to make the NBA or have a long-lasting career in the league.

There have been only four players in Big Sky history to have spent over a decade in the NBA. Only one of them was drafted in the 21st century.

Despite all this, Lillard had the attention of the entire country whenever he stepped on the court. When he entered the NCAA, ESPN ranked Lillard as the 48th best point guard in the country.

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In his 3 seasons at Weber State. he led them to 2 regular-season titles and also won the Big Sky Player of the Year twice. He also finished as the top scorer in the NCAA in his junior year.

After all these heroics, Lillard then declared for the 2012 NBA Draft, where the Trail Blazers picked him with their 6th pick. If there was ever a re-draft, Lillard would rank as the second-best player from the draft behind Anthony Davis, and some might even pick Lillard ahead of him. It shows how hard Lillard has worked in his career, and he deserves a lot of credit for it.

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Aaron Mathew

1521 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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