Damian Lillard wants to be on a Top 10 list and he isn't thinking about the Late Show with David Letterman.
"I think I can get drafted in the top 10," Lillard says. "That's my goal, that's where I want to get drafted at and it's possible, so I'm just going to do everything in my power to make it happen."
The two-time Big Sky Conference MVP has already defied the odds to become a consensus first-round NBA draft pick out of Weber State, a school that has never had a first round pick.
The Big Sky has only had two first-round picks in its history; Lillard is projected to be the highest draft selection from the league since Michael "Sugar" Ray Richardson went fourth overall in 1978 -- 12 years before Lillard was born.
The NBA Draft will take place on June 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and the former Weber State standout hopes to be there. Projected lottery picks are invited to the "green room" to wait for their name to be called by NBA commissioner David Stern.
Since announcing on April 4 that he would forgo his senior season at Weber State, Lillard has been in his hometown of Oakland, working out four to five hours a day, five days a week, with a trainer and a strength coach.
He also hired an agent, Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management, and expects to work out for seven or eight teams before the draft. Lillard has also been invited to the NBA draft combine in Chicago, another chance to turn heads in NBA front offices.
"I just want to show them my athleticism," Lillard said. "I know they know that I'm athletic but I don't think they know how athletic. In the interviews, I want them to know what kind of person I am and what I value."
The off-court interviews with NBA execs don't stress Lillard.
"I don't have to prepare for that, I've just gotta be myself," he said. "I know that being myself is good enough for them."
NBA insiders are already impressed by what they saw during Lillard's junior season at Weber State, where he was the second-leading scorer in the nation.
An Eastern Conference scout who asked not to be identified said he believes Lillard will likely go in the top 10 or 12 -- and is good enough to be a starter in the NBA next season.
Scouts will discuss other players at games, he said, but many clam up when Lillard's name is brought up.
"There's a lot of cat-and-mouse around this kid," he said.
Chad Ford of ESPN.com wrote recently that Lillard "played for a small school, but the more NBA teams began scouting him, the more they believed he was a big-time talent. While he's been primarily a scorer in college, scouts believe he can make the transition to the point in the NBA. I expect him to be the first or second point guard off the board, going somewhere between Nos. 8 and 14."
Lillard has looked at a few mock drafts out of curiosity but said he has access to better information.
"With my agent, we've had enough conversations about teams' interest and the range that I could go in, I feel pretty confident it's possible (to go in the top 10)," he said.
In the meantime, watching this year's NBA playoffs is different for Lillard than it's been in the past as a fan.
"It's kind of not as fun," he said. "I've kind of grown out of the fascination of it just because I'm always thinking, I'm going to be playing in this league. I still root for teams and I have teams that I want to win, but it's not as fun as last year. It's a different feeling when you're going through it."
Lillard's future home will be determined by the NBA draft lottery, which will take place May 30. Fourteen teams that didn't make the playoffs will have a chance at the top three picks, then the remaining draft order will be determined by which teams have the most losses or who owns the rights to their picks.
Seeing part of his future decided by random chance doesn't affect Lillard's outlook.
"I think about it, but I'm so blessed to be in this position that I can't complain. Whatever situation I do end up in, all I can do is just try to make the most of it and make the best situation I can from wherever I end up."