|Home||Damon: Life notes
Before the NBA
|When the time came to go
to college, Damon was offered a scholarship by Arizona.
He accepted, rejecting Oregon State. " I recruited
him as hard as I possibly could..." said Oregon
State coach Jim Anderson "...I always thought Damon
was a prospect because of his knowledge of the game,
because of his talent and his work ethic, and because he
had such a big, big heart." Damon had rooted for
Arizona and UNLV as a child, but UNLV was in perpetual
legal trouble, so Arizona it was. Damon averaged 7 points
and 2.5 assists his freshman year, by no means
sensational, but good enough to be named to the Pac 10
all-rookie team. His stats rose his sophmore year to 11
PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.6 RPG. That summer, he led the US
team to the gold medal at the World University Games in
Buffalo. His Junior year, Damon and Khalid Reeves formed
one of the best backcourts in the nation. In the game
that would decide if Arizona made the final four, Damon
scored 27 points and had 10 assists as Arizona advanced.
They lost to Arkansas in the semis, but it was still a
great season. Damon decided to stick around for his
Senior season. But first, he captained the US team at the
Goodwill games. As a senior, Damon was spectcular. He led
the conference in scoring (22.8 PPG) and assists (7.3 APG).
He was named a consensus All-American, a finalist for the
Naismith Award (which later went to Joe Smith) and shared
Pac 10 Player of the Year honors with Ed O'Bannon.
Damon the Rookie
The year of the
trade >>>> 1997-1998
Stoudamire put up high numbers, but the Raptors could not win. Damon scores 29, Raptors lose. Stoudamire scores 25, Raptors lose. Stoudamire scores 25 and has 11 rebounds, Raptors lose. The only times the Raptors could win, it seemed, was when Sttoudamire put up super-numbers. They won five and lost one when Damon scored more than 30. But Damon was tired of losing. He was very competitive, and couldn't stand it. When Isaiah Thomas, Damon's mentor, tried to buy a majority stake in the team but couldn't, and then left the team, Damon was sure to be traded.
And finally he was. On February 13th the Raptors traded Damon, Walt Williams, and Carlos Rogers to the Blazers for Kenny Anderson, Alvin Williams, and Gary Trent, plus some draft choices. Damon played fairly well for the Blazers, but he had not time to adjust and to get to know his teammates. The Blazers lost 3-1 to the Lakers in the first round of the Playoffs
failures in Portland >>>> 1998-1999
The Blazers had one of the best records in the NBA, and advanced to the semi-finals before being swept by the Spurs. And in the midst of this sweep, Damon commented to reporters on his lack of playing time, especially in the fourth quarter. "I'm going to get over it, but I'm never going to forget it," said Damon. "I don't ever want to feel like this again."
As these comments were made, a whirlwind of events and emotions decended on Damon and the Blazers. The Blazers, down by double digits, trying to make a run, but being silenced by the Spurs. Mike Dunleavy recieving coach of the year. In the NBA studio, the commentators discussed Damon and his comments. Isiah defended both. Damon, scoring 21 meaningless points as the Spurs completed their sweep, and took their cool act to the Finals. And Damon crying after the game. It was a season of triumph and despair for Damon and his teammates. The short season proved to be a memorable one in Portland.
|© Danny Rosenthal 1999, email@example.com|