NEW YORK CITY -- Weber State point guard Damian Lillard met with members of the media on Wednesday at the Westin Hotel in New York City in advance of Thursday's 2012 NBA Draft. He was one of just 12 players invited to the session. Lillard was wearing a purple shirt and bow tie for the session and was as calm as can be.
Here's a transcript of some of the highlights of his question and answer session. The first portion was transcribed by SBNation's Mike Prada.
"I think I can have a great impact. Away from the court, I think I bring a high-character guy away from the court that won't cause trouble to an organization. I'm a competitor, I got the ability to make shots and make plays."
On a skill he has that he didn't show in college
"I think I'll be able to show that I'm a better playmaker that I showed in college because I didn't have NBA-level players around me. Some guys in this draft played with guys that are here with them. They're going to be lottery picks, and I wasn't fortunate enough to have teammates at the same level. So having NBA-level players around me in the league, I'll be able to show that I can plays and make people better."
On the Blazers' workout
"That workout did go extremely well. I made a lot of shots. I did hear that they were saying it was the best since Kevin Durant, but they didn't draft Kevin Durant, so I don't put too much stock into it at all. I just try to focus on what I can control, and that's when I get to the workouts, showing that I work hard, showing my strengths and going to the next gig."
On solo workouts
"That was a strategy that my agent was going with. I wasn't the first guy to do it. I think working out by yourself allows teams do evaluate you by yourself. They see a lot of things that you do well as opposed to have 4-5 guys out there and you're evaluating each guy. When I'm by myself, they might be able to learn more about me. In meetings, they'll be able to learn more about me. It'll be more about me than six guys out there."
On what he was able to show in those
"I was able to show that I'm in good shape. I was able to show that I work hard and I can survive a workout by myself. It's tough for some guys even in groups of four and five. I was able to show that I could have a great workout by myself, when I'm tired. I was able to push through and still be able to show my strengths."
On the small school stigma
"It doesn't bother me. You got guys like George Hill that are having a lot of success in the league, and he's playing at the same level I was at. Same size, similar skill set. Steve Nash played at Santa Clara. There's a lot of mid-major guys -- Norris Cole -- in the league, and they're showing that level of competition really isn't a big deal. I played in Chicago at the combine against all these guys. The last two years in camps, I've played against them. I showed that I fit in, so I think it's more talk than reality."
"I'm sure some teams worry about it, but the teams that I worked out for, they have interest in me for a reason. They know I can play."
Scoring vs. play-making
"I think I'm a scoring guard, but not the way people label me as a scoring guard. Naturally, I look to make plays for other people, but at Weber State, my responsibility was to score points. That's what my team needed me to do to win games. I'm definitely a scorer. I'm not saying I'm not a scorer. But I'm comfortable making plays for other guys."
On playing in the pre-draft workout
"I was given the option to sit, to not play, but all of my workouts were individual workouts. I'm from Oakland. I'm not scared of anybody. So I felt like showing up to Chicago to sit would be pointless."
"It had a lot to do with the [small school] thing, because people were talking about competition. I just wanted to show that it didn't matter, that I could play at any level. Then, I proved it."
On his "Licensed to Lillard" videos
"A lot of these guys that are here, you see them on TV all the time. They're at Kentucky or North Carolina. A lot of people don't know who I am. I come from a smaller school, and I'm not as well-known as they are. So 'License to Lillard' is more about people getting to know who I am, so that when I get up on the stage and their team drafts me, they're not like 'Who is this guy?'"
"After my sophomore year in college, I was the MVP of our league. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as hard as it could have been. I made it a lot easier for myself. Once I realized that, I realized I could play at the next level, so I started working a lot harder, got better and put myself in this position."
On his broken foot
"I never doubted it. I was down about it. I knew there would be questions about it. I wondered if I could ever be the same athletically, stuff like that. But I never doubted that I would be able to get to the NBA after that. It motivated me more. I just started to find more ways to see how I could get back, come back better, and I did."
"It was definitely one of those things where you have to overcome adversity. I broke my foot, and I was like, 'OK, I got to prove myself all over again.' It was a challenge. That's when reality set in for me and I realized how much better I had to do everything and how much harder it would be. It definitely was a roadblock for me, and I was fortunate enough to get past it."
More on Blazers workout
"I remember it. It was a great workout. It was just one of those days where I had a lot of energy. Well-rested. I just felt good. The workout went really well."
Fit with Blazers
"I think I would fit well. They have an All-Star post in LaMarcus Aldridge. He's going to demand a double team. I would be able to play off of him, when he's the man in the double team. It's good to be able to knock down shots, a threat if they want to double you can make him pay. Or, if they know you're a guy out there knocking down shots, then he can make them pay for that too."
How important is starting from Day One?
"I haven't really thought about coming in and starting. I realize that there's a lot of guys who are respected in the league, established. I'm coming in as a rookie. All I want to come in and do is work my way on to the floor. Earn some minutes. If that leads to me starting, so be it. I'm always working on my game so if I'm in a position where I need to start, I'll be ready."
Could you imagine being in this room [of selected players], say, a month ago?
"I wanted to be. I thought it was possible. With everything that goes into stuff like this, I wasn't sure it was going to happen. Things worked out and I'm blessed to be in this position."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter