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Hey, did you all know that Weber State University’s very own basketball superstar, Damian Lillard, got drafted by the Portland Trailblazers with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft? If you didn’t know, you should probably get out a little more, because it has been all over every newspaper and news program in Utah.
Lillard has been a great asset to the WSU men’s basketball program since he arrived here in 2008. He was the first player to earn a national All-American ranking. Last year he led the Wildcats to one of their most successful seasons to date.
Last week, the WSU Student Association, WSU Athletics and Ogden City came together and celebrated the announcement of Lillard’s fate in the NBA. Hundreds of people showed up at The Junction to celebrate, and the crowd erupted as Lillard was taken sixth by the Trailblazers (yes, Lillard was drafted earlier than Jimmer Fredette in a draft with more talent).
Lillard has been subtly putting Ogden and WSU on the map for several months now, as his performances on the court started receiving more and more attention. We could assume that several people asked “Weber State University? Where is that?” when they announced Lillard’s name and school at the draft. Lillard is the start of a lot more attention coming our way.
Damian Day at The Junction was a huge collaborative effort between WSUSA, WSU Athletics and Ogden City. It’s nice to have so many different people unified for a specific purpose. This is going to be the start of much more collaboration between Ogden City and WSU.
Lillard has become an Ogden hero of sorts. It’s not often we have an all-star athlete come through the likes of WSU. Because of Lillard, we can start to bring that quality of athlete more often to WSU and in several different sports. Lillard will be a starting point for WSU Athletics and Ogden to continue moving upward.
Ogden’s reputation has been less than admirable in different areas, but the city has been trying to revamp that reputation by making the downtown area a better place. That the city has collaborated with WSU and had success with an event of that magnitude is a sign that Ogden’s reputation is improving.
One thing Ogden has come to realize is that Lillard is a good ball player, but an even better person. The rest of the nation will soon discover that fact and will look at Ogden as a place that produces great athletes but even better people, which is also a step in the right direction toward a better reputation for both Ogden and WSU.
Lillard has unified the school and the city. He has accomplished something that everyone can be proud of. This is not supposed to sound shallow, but we can use Lillard and his success to our advantage in making the community and school a better place with a great reputation.