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Damian Lillard named NBA Rookie of the Year

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Posted at 5:43 PM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-02 00:33:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Weber State University star Damian Lillard has been unanimously named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Lillard with the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and he went on to average 19 points, six and a half assists and three rebounds per game. He also led the league in minutes played, starting every game for the Blazers.

In college, Lillard averaged 18.6 points per game throughout his career, including 24.5 points per game in his redshirt junior season. He is the second leading scorer in Weber State history, scoring 1,934 points.

Lillard received all 121 first place votes to win the award.

This is a statement from Weber State University about the award:

On April 3, 2012 Damian Lillard declared for the NBA Draft. During his press conference he declared one of his goals during his rookie season was to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors. That goal was completed Wednesday as Lillard, a former Weber State All-American now with the Portland Trail Blazers, was named the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year.  Lillard is the first player from a college in Utah to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

Lillard was a unanimous selection, having totaled 605 points as he received all 121 first-place votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He is just the fourth player ever to be a unanimous selection as Rookie of the Year joining Ralph Sampson, David Robinson and Blake Griffin.

Lillard was selected with the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Blazers, the highest selection in Weber State history and the first Wildcat drafted in 27 years. During this past season he started all 82 games for Portland and led the NBA in minutes played, playing 3,167, an average of 38.6 minutes a game. He became just the third rookie ever to lead the league in minutes played, joining Wilt Chamberlin and Elvin Hayes as the only rookies to do so. He led all rookies at 19.0 points per game, ranking 12th overall in the league. He led the Blazers in assists at 6.5 per game, 16th in the NBA. He also averaged 3.1 rebounds per game and shot 42.9 percent from the field and 84.4 percent from the free throw line.

During his rookie year he broke Stephen Curry’s NBA rookie record for three-pointers in a season, knocking down 185 three-pointers on the year, which is also a new Trail Blazers franchise record for most three-pointers in a season. It was also the fifth most threes in the league this season. He was named the Kia Western Conference Rookie of the Month in each month during the season, becoming the eighth player to sweep the monthly awards.

He joined Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson as the only rookies in NBA history to record 1,500 points and 500 assists in a season. He scored 30 or more points five times during the year, including a career-high 38 against the Los Angeles Lakers in April.

Lillard wrapped up his four year career at Weber State in 2012. During the 2011-12 season he Lillard had one of the greatest seasons in Weber State men’s basketball history. He was named Big Sky Conference MVP, District Player of the Year and earned Third-Team All-American honors, becoming the first player in Big Sky history named to an All-American team. He led the country in scoring throughout most of the season and finished second at 24.5 points per game. He set WSU single-season records in scoring, three-pointers and free throws made.

In his 103 career games at Weber State Lillard ranks second in school history in career scoring and career three-pointers. He is Weber State’s all-time leader in free throws and free throw percentage. He was named Big Sky MVP twice during his career and led the Wildcats to two Big Sky titles.

“I am extremely proud of Damian and couldn’t be happier for him,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe who recruited Lillard to Weber State. “This is a great accomplishment for him and he has earned it through his hard work. He is a terrific player but he’s even a better person and has represented us so well. No one I have been associated has worked harder than he has and I couldn’t be prouder for him.”

The 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award is part of a series of on-court performance awards called “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its sixth season, is part of a multiyear marketing partnership between KMA and the NBA, and included five of the league’s most prestigious year-end honors: Most Valuable Player Award, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Most Improved Player Award, and Rookie of the Year. For the first time, the series also includes the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month during the regular season. Kia Motors is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and the Kia Optima is the league’s Official Vehicle. For more information on “The Kia NBA Performance Awards” visit NBA.com/Awards.

The Eddie Gottlieb Trophy is named in honor of Eddie Gottlieb, one of the NBA’s founders who coached the Philadelphia Warriors to the NBA championship in 1946-47.