By Gary Parrish
The nation's leading scorer is a kid named Damian Lillard.
He plays at Weber State.
I wrote a column about him that's on the college basketball page now. But one of the things I didn't get into is how the Oakland native ended up at Weber State because that's not the biggest school that recruited him. Sure, Lillard was an under-the-radar prospect. Only worth two stars, according to Scout.com. But Washington State was still on him. And so was Saint Mary's. So I asked Weber State coach Randy Rahe how he approached recruiting the 6-foot-2 guard, and Rahe told a pretty neat story about the time Lillard and his father visited campus.
"Damian's dad is just a tough guy. A great guy. But a hard-nosed guy," Rahe said. "He believes in working hard. Doesn't think anything should be handed to you. But throughout the recruiting process Damian was being told this and that. You know, stuff like, 'If you come here you can shoot every ball and you can do whatever you want.' But in reality, that's not how we do things here. So I was just very honest with them."
Rahe's message was simple ...
If you come here, you're good enough to play as a freshman. But if you don't work, you'll be sent home. And if you aren't a good teammate, you'll be sent home. And if you don't go to class, you'll be sent home. And ...
"Then I crossed my fingers and hoped I'd be OK," Rahe said with a laugh. "But they really took to that."
Damian Lillard committed to Weber State about a week later.
"He wanted reality. He didn't want BS," Rahe said. "So that worked for us."