PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS/AP) — Portland Trail Blazers point guard and Oakland native Damian Lillard has been unanimously chosen the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June’s draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games this season.
Lillard broke Stephen Curry’s rookie record for 3-pointers in a season, finishing with 185. He is the fourth player in league history to win the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy unanimously, joining Blake Griffin in 2011, David Robinson in 1990 and Ralph Sampson in 1984.
“I think the best thing for me is to take it all in,” he said. “Then tomorrow I’ve got to let it go. I’ve got my whole career in front of me.”
Lillard pretty much was a lock for the award after he swept all six Rookie of the Month awards this season. He is eighth player to win in every month of the season since the award was created in 1981-82.
“I kind of figured I was ahead,” Lillard said about the race for the honor. “But I didn’t think I had it locked up.”
Speaking at a news conference to announce the award at the Rose Garden Arena, the smartly dressed guard spoke about his upbringing in Oakland and how it shaped him as a hard-working player.
He was disappointed when he broke his foot to start his junior season at Weber State, because he had hopes of jumping to the NBA. He redshirted, and came back the next season to earn All-American honors. He was voted the Big Sky’s Most Valuable Player.
When he let Weber State know he was going pro, Lillard announced his goal was to win Rookie of the Year.
“I came out and I proved it up,” the 6-foot-3 guard said.
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