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

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

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

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.

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