A star comes home

2023 Weber State Classic, hosted by Damian Lillard.

On June 17, Damian Lillard hosted the annual Weber State Basketball Alumni Classic. The game featured 30 alumni members who came back to attend, dividing them into the white and purple teams. The white team won 102–87.

The purple team consisted of these former players:
Harold Arceneaux, 1998-2000; Dusty Baker, 2015-18; Davion Berry, 2012-14; Kyle Bullinger, 2008-12; Marlon Carter, 2001-03; Brett Cox, 2003-06; Ryan Cuff, 1995-97; Pat Danley, 2000-04; Dan Henry, 2005-07; Kyndahi Hill, 2013-17; Jason Joe, 1988-92; Darin Mahoney, 2008-12; Kellen McCoy, 2007-09; JJ Overton, 2021-22; Mike Sivulich, 1990-93; and Kyle Tresnak, 2010-14.

The white team consisted of these former players:
Lance Allred, 2003-05; Scott Bamforth, 2010-13; Zach Braxton, 2015-19; Jimmy DeGraffenried, 1990-96; James Hajek, 2011-15; Nick Hansen, 2008-10; Lindsey Hughey, 2009-11; Shawn Moore, 1998-2000; Brenden Morris, 2017-20; Josh Noble, 2009-10; Steve Panos, 2006-10; David Patten, 2004-07; Ryan Richardson, 2014-17; Nic Sparrow, 2000-04 and Brody Van Brocklin, 2006-08.

Lillard didn’t play, but he coached the white team with Weber State head coach Eric Duft. At the game, Lillard was presented with the inaugural Compass Award by the Ogden City Council. Lillard received the award for Contributions to the community and loyalty to Weber State.

The day started with an autograph-signing with Lillard, which was followed by an alumni 3-point contest. Davion Berry won the 3-point contest scoring 21 points to take the trophy.

In the alumni game, Scott Bamforth won MVP with a game-high of 17 points. Ryan Richardson had four 3-pointers contributing to the win.

The purple team’s leading scorers were Dan Henry with 16 points and Berry with 14 points.

The night was a big one and brought out a lot of Lillard’s fans. Lillard started at Weber State in 2008. He ended up winning the Big Sky MVP twice during his time at Weber and has returned several times and contributed much to Weber State’s community.

“It’s always a pleasure to be back at Weber State,” Lillard said. “I spent so many important years here, and it’s a pleasure to cross paths with people who played an important role in my journey. It’s great to see the fans come out and see the players. To be able to come back and do this again is a special honor to be a part of.”

Lillard said when he comes back, he likes to pay his respects to the people who helped him on his journey. A journey he wouldn’t have without them.

“My favorite thing is coming back and seeing the people I shared my time with still here,” Lillard said. “I think a lot of times, people move on. Even in my career in the NBA, you only get a certain amount of time with people, and then it’s time for them to move on, whether that’s them having a better opportunity life happens.”

Lillard said the difference between this time hosting and others is that he sees the guys that came before, during and after his time. It was different from the last times, making it more special.

“As I get older, I get more and more comfortable with who I am and what I believe,” Lillard said. “I think when I was younger, I was proud to be a Weber State Wildcat, and I was proud to come back and feel accomplished and for people to know the kind of person I was and to know that I became successful.”

Lillard said that wearing his jersey for the all-star weekend wasn’t a prop he wanted to represent for his people and everyone in the Wildcat community and show that it isn’t all fake.

Lillard said people on campus treated him the same way before he became Damian Lillard to the outside world and he doesn’t take those relationships for granted.

Other than Lillard, during halftime, the current men’s and women’s basketball teams were announced and each team presented themselves to the crowd. The women’s team has seen a change in the coaching position with their new head coach Jenteal Jackson.

There are a lot of changes happening in Wildcat basketball. With the new year quickly approaching, men’s and women’s basketball plans to have break-out seasons.