Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was awarded a key to the city by Ogden, Utah. Lillard spent four seasons at Weber State University in Ogden before he was selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Roy Burton of Standard.net reports...
The key to the city Damian Lillard officially accepted from Ogden city on Saturday doesn't appear to open any actual doors. Being the NBA rookie of the year, however, has opened plenty of doors for the former Weber State star who returned to his college town to make his first appearance in the second version of "Damian Day."
A year ago, Lillard missed the party Ogden and WSU held in his honor on the day of the 2012 NBA Draft due to a prior engagement - he was busy being selected sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
"It's unfortunate I couldn't be here for the first (Damian Day) but I was getting drafted," Lillard said afterward. "It's nice to know that I've got this type of support here even after I'm done at Weber State, that I've still got that same relationship with the community. It's a great feeling."
Randy Hollis of the Deseret News reports...
This time, though, Lillard was able to be there at The Junction, where several hundred Wildcat fans cheered as Lillard talked about his transition to the NBA, and how his experience at Weber State helped prepare him to succeed at the next level.
"I think the biggest thing was the fact that they pushed me," he said of the Wildcats' coaching staff. "Every year that I was here, they pushed me to get better.
"It got to a point to where I felt like I was the best player, and they didn't care. Every day in practice, I got yelled at just like everybody else; in private workouts, I got pushed just as hard, if not harder, than anybody else. And even in the classroom, when I didn't get work done, they were on my case. There was no special treatment, and I think just the fact that they pushed me and didn't cut me slack, they wanted me to be better.
"So just because they did that to me for four years, they helped me grow as a man and as a basketball player," Lillard said. "So the biggest thing with the Weber State program is how they help you develop as a man; they push you in the classroom to be a better student, and (to be) a better basketball player last. We're student-athletes first and they make sure we understand that."
Mark Green of Fox13now.com reports...
Lillard said getting the key was especially fulfilling because of the work he's put into his career.
"It's special, especially coming from where I come from, and I always say that because it's really been a long time coming," he said. "There's been a lot of hard work, and just to see that it's all paid off after everything my parents put into me and the type of person they've always pushed me to be, how hard I've worked-this is definitely a blessing to come do something like this."
Lillard said he is pleased with what he's done so far, but he said he focuses on his goals more than his accomplishments.
"You work harder," he said. "It's easy to be complacent and be satisfied with being Rookie of the Year and having a great rookie season, but when you want more for yourself, you challenge yourself to do better and you want to work harder, and you want more for yourself. "
Lillard, 22, was the unanimous 2012-13 Rookie of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the 2012-13 All-Rookie First Team. He averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds and played in all 82 games. He was also recently named the 2013 Social Media Rookie of the Year.
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