Lillard Returns To Weber State For Alumni Classic, Address Trade Rumors
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Damian Lillard returned to his roots as he hosted the Alumni Classic at Weber State Friday night.
The event featured a shooting stars contest, a three-point shooting contest, and an exhibition game all featuring Lillard and several past Weber State greats.
It’s the fourth time Lillard has traveled to Ogden to host the event at his alma mater. The superstar guard also hosted in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
“Being able to put this event together, it’s important not just to me but to all the alumni, and everybody that was able to be a part of it,” Lillard said. “This is always a great time getting together with the guys.”
Lillard attened Weber State for four years, and declared for the NBA Draft after his redshirt junior season where he averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. The guard was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the sixth overall pick and averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.1 rebounds during his inaugural NBA season, earning Rookie of the Year honors.
Lillard let his talents shine in his return to Weber State scoring 41 points in the 40 minute scrimmage in which he didn’t leave the floor, though his purple squad lost to the white roster.
“I didn’t want to try to do too much, I just wanted to have a good time,” Lillard admitted. “Then it got down the stretch and I was like, ‘Man, it’s getting down to the stretch, I’m going to try to hit a game winner.’ But Cody [John] got hot, he hit some shots and it was fun.”
Former Weber State great Eddie Gill won the 3-point contest while the team of Mike Sivulich, Nick Hansen and Kyle Bulinger won the shooting stars contest.
It’s been a busy summer for Lillard who won a gold medal with Team USA at the Olympics, and on Thursday night, released a hip-hop album.
Additionally, the guard has been surrounded by trade rumors after a dissapointing finish to the Blazers season. Despite the active speculation about his future, Lillard said he doesn’t let the rumors get to him.
“It’s definitely been different, but I feel like I’ve handled it like I handle everything. I just let it happen, I let people talk and I just stay true to who I am.”
Lillard and the Blazers open their season on October 20 at home against the Sacramento Kings. The guard will make his first trip to Utah during the season to face the Jazz on November 29.