The Big Sky will induct its very first class into the conference's Hall of Fame early next season, and one very familiar name is on the list.
14 Big Sky legends will make up the inaugural class, but perhaps none has more meaning here in Portland than former Weber State star Damian Lillard.
Lillard is one of the best players in Weber State history. He was the nation's second-leading scorer during his final season, averaging 24.5 points per game - a Wildcats record.
During his time in the Big Sky, he was named conference MVP twice, was a three-time conference First-Team selection, and was named Freshman of the Year in 2009. He is also the only player in Big Sky history to earn All-American honors.
Despite the accolades, not a lot was known about Lillard outside of Ogden.
That all changed in the summer of 2012 when the Portland Trail Blazers selected Lillard with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He wasted no time making a statement on the game's biggest stage, winning the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year award.
Now in his eighth season with the Blazers, Lillard is a four-time NBA All-Star, four-time All-NBA selection and is the franchise's all-time leader in three-pointers made (1583), and second only to Clyde Drexler in points scored (13,527).
The Big Sky Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 14th in Boise, Idaho.
Our Pac-12 football teams finished up their one-day Big Sky Victory Tour Saturday with the expected results.
Hard for me to believe that people still pay real money to watch their Goliaths pound a pack of Davids into submission every fall, but that's the way college football is set up. And most often in these parts, Northwest schools head to the Big Sky Conference to find convenient punching bags.
Make no mistake this season, the Ducks caught the easiest day. Portland State, the UO opponent, didn't win a game last season and is picked in both the coaches and media polls to finish last in the Big Sky again this season. Southern Utah, the Beaver opponent, won its conference last season and is picked to be in the middle of the pack this year. So much for perspective, suffice it to say I have no idea, after all these years of covering and watching college football, how to draw any conclusions from the results of these powderpuff games.
The Beavers continue to impress me with how far they've come on offense in just a few months under new coach Jonathan Smith. The Beavers can run the ball and pass it -- two areas of achievement that eluded them for the last few seasons. The big question for the Beavers is if they can stop anybody else from doing the same thing. I haven't seen much out of that defense yet, including an ability to at least apply a small amount of pressure to the opposing quarterback, which most of us consider a must in today's football.
The Ducks can score -- as usual -- but again, can they stop anybody else from doing that? Oregon has a quarterback, quite obviously, who is going to give any defense a problem and if he can find a couple of players who can reliably be depended on to catch the ball, they're going to rack up some points.
As I see it right now -- and certainly the first two games of the season don't provide a lot of insight -- both these teams are going to be in some high-scoring games. Which is fine. The crowds in both Reser and Autzen don't have to leave the stadium for alcohol and high-scoring games will take the loyalists' minds off the high price of a plastic cup full of whatever it is they are chugging.