Weber State's Damian Lillard still a Warriors fan before NBA draft

By Jimmy Durkin

The Oakland Tribune (MCT)

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 10:26 p.m. MDT

Damian Lillard, widely considered the top point guard in the NBA draft, still roots for his hometown Warriors.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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OAKLAND, CALIF. (MCT) — Damian Lillard says he's a Golden State Warriors fan and will remain one unless he's drafted by another team.

An Oakland native and Weber State product, Lillard worked out for his hometown team Sunday in preparation for the NBA draft June 28.

Lillard, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, is widely considered the top point guard in the draft and a potential top-10 pick. The Warriors own the No. 7 selection.

"I grew up a Warriors fan, I'm still a Warriors fan," Lillard, 21, said. "If I go somewhere else next year, that'll be the first year I haven't been a Warriors fan. I would love to play for my hometown team."

With Stephen Curry penciled in as the starting point guard, Lillard might seem to have better opportunities elsewhere. He understands that but also wouldn't hesitate to fight for a role with the Warriors.

"I've got a lot of respect for (Curry's) game because we come from similar situations, and I feel like he's done well," Lillard said. "I don't want to come in and think I'm supposed to start. I just want to work my way onto the floor if I was here, and I'd be more than happy to play with him."

As with Curry's collegiate career at Davidson, Lillard lived the midmajor life at Weber State, an Ogden, Utah, school that plays in the Big Sky Conference. He never had the benefit of NCAA tournament exposure but created buzz this season as the nation's second-leading scorer at 24.5 points per game in his junior year.

Lillard averaged 4.0 assists, leading some to ask if he's enough of a distributor to play point guard in the NBA.

"NBA teams know that I'm a willing passer," Lillard said. "I like to make plays for other guys. Unfortunately, we had a few injuries to some of our players at Weber this year so my responsibilities offensively went up and they needed me to score more points.

"That just gives me more to show. It'll be something that when I get in the NBA, people will say, 'Oh, I didn't know he could do that,' when all along, I had that in my game. They just didn't know it."

As has become standard throughout his predraft process with teams, Lillard worked out individually. He said he feels that allows teams to better evaluate him, rather than spreading their attention around to four or five other players.

But Lillard did participate fully at the NBA draft combine June 6-7 in Chicago. His performance there created a further buzz and might have solidified him as a top-10 pick.

"I knew there were questions that I was doing my workouts individually," Lillard said. "So I just wanted to kill all of that talk that I didn't want to go against guys. Because I'm not scared of anybody."

In a hectic time for prospects working out individually with teams across the league, Lillard appreciated a couple of days at home, particularly on Father's Day.

"I was with my dad a lot (Saturday)," Lillard said. "I can't remember the last time I was here on Father's Day. It's a great feeling just to be home, period. I don't see my family every day because I've been gone. Over the summers, I didn't come home. So just to be here, period, around my family, it feels good."

Ogden to host Lillard NBA draft celebration

Weber State Athletics, the WSU Student Association and the city of Ogden are joining together to host a Damian Lillard Draft Day Celebration.

The event will take on Thursday, June 28 as part of the 2012 NBA Draft where Weber State guard Damian Lillard is projected by many to be a top-10 selection.

The event will be held at The Junction in downtown Ogden beginning with a pre-draft party at 4:30 p.m. The festivities will include an outdoor block party with music and vendors. Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell and the Ogden City Council will also declare June 28, 2012 as Damian Lillard Day in Ogden.

The celebration will continue with a live showing of ESPN's coverage of the NBA Draft beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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