Saturday , August 26, 2017 - 9:18 PM
OGDEN — Most sports fans may remember Saturday, Aug. 26, as the night of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, but for Weber State fans, it was the night Damian Lillard had his jersey retired and former Wildcat players converged for the ceremony and second alumni game.
The night at the Dee Events Center started with players signing autographs for just more than an hour. The line of fans went halfway through the arena concourse, but some hopefuls were turned away as time didn’t permit everyone to have their merchandise signed.
Lillard was the most coveted signature, but other former Wildcats like Jimmy DeGraffenried, Jermaine Boyette, Lewis Lofton and Lance Allred were available to sign a commemorative poster with all the players involved in the event.
“It’s a real good feeling to come back and give these fans what they want to see,” Boyette said. “I’m extremely thankful and extremely happy to come out when I can. I’m glad that I’m still healthy.
“I look good, but I tell you, running up and down the court ain’t as easy as it used to be.”
The shooting stars challenge — a three-man event with the objective to make a layup, free-throw, 3-pointer and a half-court shot in the least amount of time — was the first competition of the night.
WEBER STATE ALUMNI CLASSIC
In the 3-point competition, Davion Berry faced off against Jimmy DeGraffenried in the final round. Berry cleaned out one of the four racks of balls on his way to a total of 14 points.
DeGraffenried had a chance to tie as made his way to the final rack and needed to make all four shots, including the two-point money ball. He missed his second-to-last shot and tallied 13 points, giving Berry the win.
In the alumni game, Lofton led the White Team to a 74-53 win over the Black Team with a game-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
The moment everyone waited for came at halftime as Lillard, alongside his family, watched a video commemorating the Oakland native’s time at Weber State and his ascension into the NBA.
The crowd rose to its feet as Lillard unveiled the No. 1 with his name immortalized in banner form.
Jimmie Watts, a 64-year-old former Wildcat who played in the 1970s, was the oldest player in the game and received a big cheer from the crowd after he grabbed on offensive rebound and put back a layup. He was then subbed out to an ovation from those in attendance.
“It felt great being out there,” Watts said. “It’s nostalgia, man. From me wearing the real short shorts to me walking around in these long shorts now is a different era. I enjoyed playing with these kids and I’m just happy to be able to participate.”
Lillard looked on from the sidelines as a coach and admired the men that all share their time as Wildcats in common.
“The most joy I get from it is watching all those guys that look like they haven't played in a few years and they still have enough Weber State pride to get out there regardless of how they look,” Lillard said. “That just tells me that it means the same to them as it means to me.”
Even after he took the hour to sign every poster, ball and jersey that came his way, Lillard took time after the game to sign memorabilia from fans who missed him on the concourse of the Dee Events Center.
Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at email@example.com, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.
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