James Herbert of Hardwood Paroxysm dug deep to produce a lengthy profile of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, interviewing a strength coach, a Weber State basketball operations executive, Blazers guard Ronnie Price and Lillard himself.
When it came time to get ready for the draft process this past summer, Lillard favored familiar faces. Eggleton, his partner Aalim Moor II and their assistants at ASTI put him through intense workouts designed to increase his lateral quickness, explosiveness and leaping ability. No matter what Eggleton asked of him, Lillard never said he was too tired to continue. "That was a shock to me," said Eggleton. "I've trained a lot of athletes. I've trained world-class triathletes, I've seen them fatigued. But Damian, never."
It was just nine games into the season when Lillard broke his foot, the first serious injury of his life. How the then-20-year-old used his time after the injury is well-documented - from ball-handling and shooting drills in a chair and hitting the weight room to obsessively studying tape and applying himself academically, Lillard matured as a college student and a student of the game. But it didn't happen overnight.
Chris Gold, then Weber State's Director of Basketball Operations, saw a different Damian than he was used to. On road trips and around his teammates, Lillard was normally found laughing and telling stories, doing spot-on impersonations of players and coaches and making people around him crack up. But that lighthearted Lillard, the one with the personality that runs contrary to his determined demeanor on the floor, was lost for a little while. "He was just miserable," Gold, now an assistant coach at Snow College, said. "He didn't know what to do."
Lots of interesting tidbits in here, including Lillard's breathing techniques and some potential comps for Lillard from Price.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter