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Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Damian Lillard of Weber State drives past Keith Shamburger of San Jose State during the first half of play at the Dee Events Center at Weber State in Ogden Saturday, December 3, 2011. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

This week Weber State standout All-American Damian Lillard is expected to be a top-10 pick in this year's NBA Draft and is getting lots of attention for himself, Weber State and the Big Sky Conference as the draft nears.

The highest Big Sky player ever drafted was Montana's Michael Ray Richardson, who was selected fourth overall in the 1978 draft by the New York Knicks. The only other player from the Big Sky picked in the first round was Rodney Stuckey who was taken 15th overall in 2007 by the Detroit Pistons.

While he will make more history for Weber State as the first Wildcat to be drafted in the first round, he will be the 15th Weber State player to be drafted.

Jerry Trice

In 1966, Trice became the first Wildcat selected and was drafted in the 18th round by the Baltimore Bullets.

Gene Visscher

Visscher, who went on to become a head coach at Weber State, was selected in the 19th round in 1966 also be Baltimore.

(Prior to 1974, teams could select players until they ran out of players they wanted to claim, so drafts went as many as 21 rounds. After 1974, the draft was limited to 10 rounds. The current, two-round format was enacted in 1989.)

Dan Sparks

Two years later, Dan Sparks, was taken in the fourth round (41st overall) by the Cincinnati Royals in 1968.

Larry Bergh

The following year Weber State had two more selections. Bergh was taken in the 11th round (146th overall) by the Chicago Bulls — which had Jerry Sloan at the time.

Justus Thigpen

Was taken by the San Diego Rockets — one pick after Bergh was selected.

Willie Sojourner

In 1971 one of the greatest players in Weber State history was the highest selection to that point of any Wildcat. Sojourner was taken in the second round (20th overall) by the Chicago Bulls. He never played in the NBA but did play four seasons in the ABA with the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets. He was traded to the Nets along with Julius "Dr. J." Erving. Sojourner owns the Weber State career leading rebounding record and is second in Big Sky history with 1,143 career rebounds in 81 career games. He is fifth in WSU history in career scoring. Sojourner passed away in Oct. 2005 in a car accident in Italy where he played professionally and was the head coach of the club team in Rieti.

Bob Davis

The highest selection ever for the Wildcats in the NBA Draft came in 1972 when Davis was taken in the second round with the 14th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Al Dewitt

Dewitt was taken in the seventh round (109th overall) also by Portland in 1976.

Stan Meyhew

The following year, 1977, Mayhew was taken in the third round (51st overall) by the Indiana Pacers.

Bruce Collins

Three Weber State players were taken in the 1980 draft. Collins was selected in the second round with the 33rd overall selection by the Portland Trail Blazers. Collins is Weber State's all-time leading scorer with 2,019 career points, which also ranks third in Big Sky history. He also ranks third in Weber State history in career rebounding. Collins, a native of Rock

Springs, Wyo., was inducted into the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

David Johnson

He was taken in the fourth round (80th overall) of the 1980 draft by the Dallas Mavericks, just the fourth ever selection in the history of the Mavericks franchise.

Richard Smith

In the seventh round (159th overall) of the 1980 draft Smith was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tom Heywood

Heywood was taken in the sixth round (123rd overall) by the Golden State Warriors in 1983.

Shawn Campbell

The last Weber State player selected in the NBA Draft was Campbell who was picked in the fifth round of the 1985 draft by the Phoenix Suns.