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This week, Damian Lillard was drafted into the NBA by the Portland Trailblazers, becoming the 15th Wildcat to hear his name called on draft night. Here is a look at Weber State University’s NBA Draft history.
The first Wildcat selected in the draft was Jerry Trice, in 1966. Trice was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in the 18th round. The Bullets also drafted Gene Vissher, another WSU player, in 1966.
Two years later, Dan Sparks became the third Wildcat drafted. He was taken in the fourth round by the Cincinnati Royals. Then, in 1969, Larry Bergh was drafted in by the Chicago Bulls, and Justus Thigpen was picked by the San Diego Rockets.
Willie Sojourner was taken in 1971, in the second round, by the Chicago Bulls. Sojourner was the highest-drafted Wildcat up to that point. Sojourner never actually played in the NBA, but did play four seasons in the ABA with the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets. While with the Nets, Sojourner was teammates with Julius Erving.
The following year, Bob Davis was taken by the Portland Trailblazers with the 14th pick in the draft. The Blazers drafted another Wildcat a few years later, taking Al Dewitt in 1976.
Stan Mayhew went to the Indiana Pacers in 1977 with the 51st pick in the draft.
1980 was a big year for WSU, with three Wildcats being drafted. Bruce Collins was selected in the second round by the Trailblazers. Collins is WSU’s all-time leading scorer with 2,019 points.
Dave Johnson was drafted in the fourth round by the Dallas Mavericks, and Richard Smith was picked by the Philadelphia 76ers in the seventh round of the 1980 draft.
Tom Heywood was drafted in the sixth round of the 1983 draft by the Golden State Warriors. The 14th WSU player drafted was Shawn Campbell, who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1985.
Lillard became the third player from the Big Sky Conference to be drafted in the first round. He is also the second-highest pick from the Big Sky.