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A spotlight on sports alums

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Rashid Shaheed #22 for the New Orleans Saints, at the New Orleans vs the Jacksonville Jaguars game that took place on Oct. 19th. Rashid Shaheed numero 22 de los New Orleans Saints en el juego de New Orleans contra los Jacksonville Jaguars que fue el 19 de octubre.

Weber State University has cultivated not only academic brilliance, but also a powerhouse for producing remarkable athletes. Through various sports, the Wildcats have left a mark on the sports world.

Damian Lillard, Rashid Shaheed, Joel Bolomboy and Sarah Callister Sellers are just some of the alumni from Weber who have continued to make a name for themselves after graduating.

Their dedication, skill and resilience on and off the field serve as an example of the values fostered at Weber. The legacy of Weber producing well-rounded individuals who excel in different fields continues to thrive through the achievements and influence of these athletes.

Damian Lillard:
While attending Weber State University from 2008-2012, Lillard had an incredible basketball career.

As a freshman, he was one of the top players in the Big Sky Conference. He played in all 31 games and started in 26, and averaged 11.5 points per game, the best on Weber’s team, and No. 12 in the Big Sky. Lillard was third in the conference in free throw percentage at 0.841 and finished ninth in assists with 2.87 per game.

Finishing his time at Weber, Lillard scored 1,934 points — second in school history and fifth in Big Sky history. He played in 103 games as a Wildcat and started 98 of them. He is Weber’s leader and the sixth best in the Big Sky with three-pointers at 246, free throws at 520, a free throw percentage at 86.7 and is second for assists with 362.

Lillard was also a two-time Big Sky MVP, earned All-American honors his junior season and was a two-time Weber State Male Athlete of the Year winner.

Lillard was the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. He played for them for 11 years.

In his first year playing in the NBA, he became the Rookie of the Year. Lillard made the playoffs a total of eight times for the Trail Blazers, including a Western Conference finals appearance in 2018-19. Lillard ranks first in team history in both points and 3-pointers, he ranks second all-time in assists as well.

On Sept. 27, the Blazers traded Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns.

During his first game with the Bucks, Lillard scored 39 points, bumping Terry Cummings, who, in his debut back in 1984, scored 34 points.

Sarah Callister Sellers:
While attending Weber, Sellers was a nine-time cross-country and track and field Big Sky champion from 2009-12. She won the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meter titles three times each at the Big Sky outdoor championships. Additionally, she won the 5,000 meters twice and the 3,000 meters once at the indoor championships. She earned Big Sky All-Conference honors 15 times in track and field and cross country.

Not only did she excel with running but also in the classroom, where she had a 4.00 GPA in nursing.

In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 award at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. She was a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, the only athlete in Weber’s history to earn it three times. She was also named the Weber State Female Athlete of the Year twice.

In 2017, Sellers came in first at the Huntsville Marathon with a time of 2:44:27, which qualified her for the Boston Marathon, one of the world’s most prestigious races, in 2018. Sellers, who had no sponsors or agents at the Boston Marathon, placed second with a time of 2:44:04, winning $75,000.

Sellers did not quit there.

In 2018, at the New York City Marathon, she placed 18th and reached a personal best time of 2:36:37. The following year, she ran the Boston Marathon again, placing 19th with a time of 2:36:42. During that same year, she ran the Chicago Marathon, placed 12th with a time of 2:31:49. In the 2020 Olympic Trials marathon, Sellers placed 11th with a time of 2:31:48.

As of 2022, she added another record-breaking performance to her professional running career. At the 2022 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, she broke her lifetime best by six minutes; she posted a time of 2:25:43, placing 2nd, qualifying her for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Rashid Shaheed:
While at Weber, Shaheed was the only player to earn All-American honors four times and is the FCS all-time leader in career kickoff return touchdowns with seven. Shaheed is also third in Weber State’s career history in all-purpose yards and seventh in career receiving yards.

Shaheed tore his ACL and was unable to work out with NFL teams in the spring of 2022, which left him undrafted after finishing his career at Weber from 2017-21.
However, the New Orleans Saints gave him a chance, and he was signed later in 2022 as a free agent and added to their practice squad.

In the first five games for the Saints, Shaheed sat out due to his injury, but he was able to make his first debut during the sixth game. His first NFL touch was a 44-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep against the Cincinnati Bengals. His second touch was a 53-yard touchdown catch on a pass against the Arizona Cardinals. Shaheed finished the 2022 season with 28 catches for 488 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 17.4 yards per catch.

Starting this season, Shaheed picked up exactly where he left off.
In the Saint’s first game of the season against the Tennessee Titans, he caught five passes for 89 yards and had a touchdown. Late in the third quarter, Shaheed ran a double-move, slow-and-go route and caught the ball in the end zone, scoring the game-winner.

Joel Bolomboy:
Bolomboy finished his career at Weber State in 2016 as one of the top basketball players in Weber history. He finished as both Weber’s and the Big Sky’s career leader in rebounds, totaling 1,312 in his four-year career.

He finished the 2016 season with a total of 415 rebounds, breaking both Weber’s and the Big Sky’s 1970s held record; he had more rebounds than any Utah college basketball player.

Bolomboy was also Weber’s career leader in blocked shots with 179, and career leader in free throws attempted at 651. He started 91 games in his career and had 54 career double-doubles.

Bolomboy was named Big Sky MVP and a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year award in 2016. He was Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year twice and helped lead Weber to two Big Sky titles and two trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Bolomboy was drafted as the 52nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. He became the 16th player in Weber State history to be drafted into the NBA. Bolomboy is also one of just five players in Weber’s history taken in the first or second round of the NBA Draft.

In Bolomboy’s rookie season, he made his debut on Oct. 30, 2016, recording three points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and one block in the four minutes he played. He had multiple assignments with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s D-League. He played 26 games and averaged 16.5 points and 13.3 rebounds.

Since then, Bolomboy has played for the Milwaukee Bucks through their NBA G-League, the Wisconsin Herd. Followed by CSKA Moscow in the VTB United League, a professional basketball club in Russia.

He then went on to play with Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League and the Euroleague. Currently, he is playing for Crvena Zvezda of the Serbia KLS, the Adriatic League and the Euroleague.

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Jacoba Jones, Sports reporter

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