Tonight’s BYU-Weber State game features the nation’s leading scorer, a 6-2 guard who can score from just about anywhere and was lightly recruited out of high school.
And no, he doesn’t play for BYU.
Damian Lillard, a redshirt junior for the Wildcats, leads D-I in scoring at 28.2 points per game, bolstered by his massive week of 36 vs. St. Mary’s and 41 against San Jose State. A foot injury caused him to miss last year’s game against the Cougars when Fredette scored 28 in a BYU win. Fredette, of course, went onto lead the nation in scoring and swept every postseason award. Lillard, meanwhile, spent that team working on his basketball IQ and waiting for a chance to lead Weber State.
Lillard’s team isn’t at the Cougars’ level with Fredette – the Wildcats (5-1) were routed by the Gaels – but he clearly took one page out of Fredette’s playbook. Stay humble, play hard.
“He doesn’t picture himself as a big deal,” Weber State coach Randy Rahe told the AP. “He’s very grounded, very humble. He works harder than any kid I’ve ever been around in 22 years, but he works hard because he’s trying to win, not because he’s trying to put up numbers. It’s all about winning.”
This StatSheet rundown includes everything, while the graphs below show how close they’ve trended toward each during their careers.
Lillard’s always been good. But this season? He’s just silly. Chalk that up to a little motivation because of his recruiting and his school.
“I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder because I’ve always been overlooked,” Lillard said. “They don’t really recruit in Northern California. Even in my neighborhood, people don’t go to college, graduate from high school. I always wanted to be the one that was different, beat the odds. So the chip’s always been there.
“Now people say, he goes to Weber State or plays in the Big Sky. I feel like I’ve got to prove people wrong all the time.”
You’re on your way, Damian. Just need to do it for another 20 games or so.
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