Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Departing #1: Damian Lillard

With the throes of the offseason all around us, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the 20 best players that are departing from the Big Sky, either due to graduating, declaring for the draft, or transferring.

Not that there was any doubt at all about who would occupy the top spot, but at least now it is official - Damian Lillard of Weber State is the best player leaving the Big Sky Conference this season. But what a season and a career he had.

He was the Big Sky Player of the Year for the second time in his career. I argued repeatedly throughout the season that he was the best PG in the country, and he justified that argument by the fact that he was the #6 pick in the NBA draft and has looked the part (and more) in early summer leagues.

Lillard averaged  24.5 ppg this season, also pitching in five rebounds and four assists. He led the conference in scoring despite being a very unselfish offensive player. He always looked to get other guys involved, and would only start to take over if necessary. He was off the charts in efficiency, with a 63.5 TS% despite a very high usage rate.

He took care of the basketball and had an excellent A:TO ratio. His TO Rate was among the best in the country for elite PGs. He got to the stripe almost at will, and made the most of his chances there. He shot the three ball well, and had a nice midrange game. Frankly, he did it all.

Damian Lillard was perhaps a once in a generation talent in the Big Sky, and I am thrilled that his best year happened to be the year that I started blogging about the Big Sky. I feel pretty fortunate for that, and I think all followers of the conference feel pretty fortunate to have gotten to watch Lillard play over the past four seasons.

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball

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