OGDEN -- Damian Day will have a sequel.
After Wednesday's announcement of Damian Lillard as the 2013 NBA rookie of the year, Weber State University and the WSU athletics department are working to capitalize on the national attention their famous alum has drawn to the school.
Their efforts incluce a congratulatory banner across Historic 25th Street, billboards, video and newspaper ads honoring Lillard, as well as a website, wildaboutdamian.com.
And sometime in June, Weber State University and Ogden City will reprise the downtown celebration they held last year at The Junction on the day Lillard was taken sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2012 NBA Draft.
This time, they're planning on having Lillard on hand to officially present him a key to the city that Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell announced on Wednesday in a Google+ Hangout online video discussion shortly after the NBA and the Portland Trail Blazers held a news conference to announce the honor.
Lillard, a two-time Big Sky Conference MVP while at Weber State, became just the fourth player in league history to win the rookie of the year award unanimously, receiving all 121 first place votes.
The idea for the Google+ Hangout, with Lillard in Portland, Ore., and Caldwell, Weber State basketball coach Randy Rahe and WSU play-by-play announcer Carl Arky on campus in Ogden, came together very quickly, said Ron Goch, Weber State assistant athletics director for marketing and promotions.
It accelerated when Google officials got involved and promoted the event to more than 2 million subscribers online.
"Damian certainly is someone who is very deserving and a great representation of the city and they saw that, so they collaborated with us on it. For Google to get involved, that was incredible," Goch said. He expects Google to be involved once again in June when they plan to do another Google+ Hangout.
The first Damian Day sparked ongoing conversations between Weber State University and Ogden City about developing a "College Town" initiative. The second event this June is expected to be similar.
Weber State's alumni association also sent a mailer touting Lillard's accomplishment to 140,000 alums, Goch said. The athletics department has also worked with the communications office, the alumni association, campus bookstores and student recruitment to promote Lillard's impact on the school.
"We brought everybody together on campus to discuss how we would collectively honor and recognize Damian as well as how we might leverage this opportunity for Weber State (University) and Weber State athletics, Ogden and the Weber County Community," Goch said. "We're trying to honor and recognize Damian for the person he is, on and off the court, and the great accomplishments he's had."
Lillard has brought great visibility to Weber State, Ogden and the Weber County community, Goch said.
"I just think he's somebody who should be celebrated, someone who is an unbelievable role model to our youth," he said. "He's why we exist in terms of educating our youth and what they can go on to be. He's a person who had a dream and fulfilled it and that just happens to be Weber State University's theme: Worthy Of Your Dreams. It's pretty neat how he's fulfilled his and how many youth and people that he's positively impacted have been inspired to do the same."
Goch said every time Lillard talks about his positive experiences at Weber State and how it prepared him for the NBA, it reinforces that message.
The most obvious impact Lillard has had is on Weber State's basketball program and its recruiting.
"You can't get this kind of notoriety any other way," Rahe said. "Kids see this all over the country and we are now, because of Damian, he's allowed us to be a little bit of a household name. It's already worked because we've called on kids ... all year long and we don't have to ask them if they've heard of Weber State. They've heard of us. Now we can just kind of take the ball from there. It gives us incredible credibility."
Rahe said people quickly pick up what type of person Lillard is.
"I'm as proud of the kind of person he is as well as the player he is," he said. "He's a great example of our culture, of what we want our culture to be."