Trail Blazers have interesting draft with Lillard and Leonard

damian lillard weber state

The Portland Trail Blazers made an interesting splash in the 2012 NBA Draft taking a point guard from a mid-major school that few people had heard off, and a project pick at center. They took Damian Lillard at #6 from Weber St. and a guy who played for someone named Weber in Meyers Leonard from the Illini at #11.

This marks the first time since 1990 that Illinois has had a player selected in the first round of both the NFL and NBA Drafts in the same year. Jeff George went to the Indianapolis Colts #1 overall, and current Bulls analyst Kendall Gill went fifth to the Charlotte Hornets. This year Whitney Merciless went #24 to the Houston Texans and A.J. Jenkins went #30 to the San Francisco 49ers.

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Will Damian Lillard be the first point guard taken on draft night?

damian lillard weber state

Because he played at obscure Weber State, you may not have heard of point guard Damian Lillard. But you will hear plenty about him come NBA Draft night, he just might be the first point guard taken, and looks to be a lock for the lottery. Mid-major guys are often overlooked and Lillard is no exception. Even though he has, and pretty much has always had, all the tools.

“I think a lot of people talk about me playing at a smaller school at Weber St. and I think camps like this are a perfect opportunity to show that I can play to the level of everyone else in the draft,” Lillard said at the NBA Draft combine.

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Illinois Fighting Illini Demetri McCamey: His True NBA Draft Stock

Demetri McCamey Illinois

Ah yes, Demetri McCamey! Much has been written and said about the now former Illinois Fighting Illini point guard, who was essentially the face of that particular college basketball program for three years, and a starter for close to four.

He slowly but surely developed and matured during his time at Illinois, but never became a loud, vocal leader. He brought the ball up, but was never a “floor general;” it just wasn’t in his DNA. The Illini probably would have won a lot more games during his college career had Meechi been that kind of guy. The most glaring void we saw in Champaign-Urbana since 2007 is/was vocal on the court leadership.

McCamey kept telling the media during the first half of this past season what NBA scouts told him incessantly: “point guards are judged on wins, to get to the league you have to win.”

Well, the Illini did get their first NCAA Tournament win since 2006 last month, and Meechi was a big part of that. Unfortunately, it literally was the only thing Illinois won during McCamey’s time.

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

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Duke’s Nolan Smith has Different Identity On and Off the Court

The Final Four means a bigger stage, brighter lights and more pressure. And in 2010, Duke’s Nolan Smith has brought his game up to another level on par with all the added media attention surrounding the ultimate weekend of college basketball. Following a career high 29 points in the Regional Final win over Baylor, Smith scored 19 (7-16 from the field, 4-9 behind the arc) against the Mountaineers. When Scheyer and Singler struggled with their shooting for much of the earlier rounds, it was Smith, the 6-2 junior from Upper Marlboro, Maryland that picked up the slack.

Obviously, the first two guys I mentioned were bigger names in college, but it’s Smith who might have the best NBA potential of the three. Remember his name this NBA Draft; especially when teams like the Chicago Bulls are on the board (with backcourt needs and a history of drafting guys from winning, high profile programs).

Smith’s success stems from his dual identity: nice guy off the court, cutthroat on the court.

By Paul M. Banks

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Final 2010 NBA Draft Position Rankings

DeMarcus Cousins NBA Draft

This week I am eating, breathing, sleeping the NBA Draft.  Ok, actually I had Honey Combs for breakfast but you get the point.  The Sports Bank has everything you need to know to get ready for Thursday night’s NBA Draft.  You can check our latest 2010 NBA Mock Draft by clicking here.  We will also be live chatting during the draft, handing out our pick-by-pick grades as they happen, and much more so be sure to check back often this week.

Here are the final positional rankings.  This is NOT the order that I think each position will be selected but rather how I rank them.

By: David Kay

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