Hard work (and discipline) about to pay off for Weber State’s Damian Lillard

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With the NBA Draft just days away some players will have the dream of hearing their name called by NBA commissioner David Stern.

One such player is Weber State guard Damian Lillard, who is regarded by many as the top point guard prospect in this season’s draft.

Lillard devoted his three seasons in Ogden to becoming the best player he could be, winning Big Sky Player of the Year last season after missing much of the 2010-11 campaign due to injury.

And with that came the sacrificing of many activities that college students tend to take for granted, and that will likely be a theme for many of the players who hear their names called Thursday night.

“It wasn’t a typical college experience that you might see in the movies,” the 6-3, 189-pound point guard said of the school in Ogden, Utah. “You might think it was all fun, but there was a lot of stuff I had to sacrifice from a smaller school to make all this possible.”

While HIS friends were ripping shots, Lillard was practicing his jump shot on the court. While they were bar-hopping, he was bar-lifting at the gym.

As a result Lillard will become Weber State’s first NBA Draft selection since 1985, when Shawn Campbell was drafted by the Suns in the fifth round.

And Lillard also will be the school’s highest draft pick ever, as no Wildcat in school history has ever gone in the first round.

“He’s a scoring point guard who can get inside and he’s improved his three-point shooting,” said NBA Director of Scouting Ryan Blake. “He’s a great free throw shooter, he’s versatile as a scorer, he uses the pick-and-roll well and he can finish in traffic.

“When you have someone with good size, good strength, good speed and you have someone who can shoot the ball and play defense,” Blake said, “that’s just a great package.”

While some young players will obsess on landing the highest possible offer from a prestige standpoint, Lillard’s story is an important one to learn from.

Lightly recruited out of Oakland, California Lillard simply put in the hard work required to reach the position he’s in now.

And that’s definitely something Weber State head coach Randy Rahe and his staff can sell while out on the recruiting trail.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.