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NBA Draft: Weber State's Damian Lillard's stock continues to rise

Published: Wednesday, June 27 2012 8:21 p.m. MDT

He wasn't highly recruited out of high school in Oakland and once a few bigger programs took notice of him, he stayed loyal to Weber State and Rahe, who was the first to recruit him.

Rahe found out about Lillard thanks to a AAU coach in California who was a good friend of his and told him about Lillard midway through his junior season.

"The first time I saw him play, I said, 'We're not going to get him — he's too good,' " Rahe recalls. "We were lucky — he's a great kid. Every summer while he was here, he made a huge jump."

Lillard was all-Big Sky his freshman year and earned MVP honors after his second year. A foot injury kept him out the next year and he had his finest year last season when he averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Rahe has no doubt Lillard will make it in the NBA.

"Whoever takes him can take comfort in knowing they'll get a guy who comes to play every day and has the mindset he's going to get better," he said. "He's good in every area — he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses — and he's so self-motivated. Nothing will deter him and nothing will throw him off his work ethic and daily regimen of getting better."

Rahe won't be in New Jersey with Lillard and instead will enjoy the draft proceedings with the rest of the Weber State fans in Ogden at the Damian Lillard Draft Day Celebration at The Junction in downtown Ogden. It begins at 4:30 p.m. with a pre-draft party before the draft begins on ESPN.

Lillard is allowed to bring five people with him to the draft and Rahe encouraged him to take his family members along.

"This is all about Damian," Rahe said. "This is his time. I'm excited for him."

email: sor@desnews.com

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