Stephens: High School Coach Reflects On Blazers G Damian Lillard's Rise

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

Damian Lillard's high school coach reflects on the Portland Trail Blazers guard's rise.

Mitch Stephens of MaxPreps.com has an extended interview with Orlando Watkins, who coached Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard at Oakland High School.

Watkins discusses Lillard's goal-setting mentality and his journey to the NBA.

"In his freshman year in college, I told my assistant coaches he had a chance to get to the NBA," Watkins said. "When he was a sophomore, I said he had a shot to get drafted the first day. When he got hurt as a junior (sat out with a foot injury), I knew that would be the best thing for him. He had a chance to work on his game that year and get stronger.

"After his junior year and seeing what he was doing in the Pro-Ams, it was pretty obvious he was going to be a lottery pick."

The current Oakland squad hits the jackpot when it receives large shipments from Lillard. He hooks the team up with shoes, traveling bags, practice jerseys and warm-up suits. The entire Oakland Wildcats varsity team will attend the Trailblazers' game when they travel to Oakland later this season, as they did last year.

The full interview is here.

Be sure to follow the new @Blazersedge account on Twitter right here.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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